I believe this primary election is critical to the future of this county. It is imperative that every registered Republican vote this year. Our county commissioners and the House of Delegates will be determined in the primary.
Please consider the current state of the county's revenue. The current board of commissioners eliminated $21 million from their operating budget over the last three years. As a result, the school system's budget has been underfunded. The superintendent and the board of education had to cut support staff, clerical, teachers and custodial personnel to absorb the reduced revenue and pay for inflationary increases. Employees have only received one step increase and have not received COLA since 2010 – only one-time bonuses. For FY15, the superintendent has been forced to use the fund balance money to cover the shortfall.
This year, the commissioners had to use their surplus to balance the FY15 budget.
The commissioners have not fully funded the social services agencies in the county. They have not been able to meet their mission to provide services to the poor and to families in crisis.
The county has experienced a reduction in infrastructure maintenance. If unchanged, we will see our roads deteriorate and have failures in the water and sewer systems.
If you have children in the school system, consider that this past General Assembly session, Sen. Joe Getty added an amendment to the governor's budget to hold harmless Carroll County Public Schools. The hold harmless amendment would have allowed the state to provide the school system an addition $1.1 million for each of the next three years. Under this budget amendment, the state could have increased funding for the board of education even though the student population has been decreasing. Getty was supported by his fellow senators David Brinkley and Allan Kittleman.
The budget bill was passed out of the Senate, with our senators' support, and sent to the House of Delegates for their approval. The Carroll Delegation did not support the governor's budget bill, although they knew it was going to pass. Getty maintains the result was the amendment was stripped from the bill and Carroll County Board of Education, and the children lost out on $3.3 million over three years.
Finally, give serious consideration to Virginia Harrison, Bob Lord and Devon Rothschild for the Board of Education. They have demonstrated their commitment to public education.
The writer is a member of the Carroll County Board of Education.