For days that seem like weeks, I have been calling and emailing various government and non-governmental agencies to try to find answers to some very simple questions with absolutely no luck. My emails never get a reply, my phone calls either just ring for 20 plus rings with no answer, or the automated answering system simply hangs up on me.
Now I understand that many offices are working remotely due to the COVID situation, but someone should be in the offices if only to take a name and contact information so that someone could return the call or answer the email. I have two simple, yes-or-no questions that I’m unable to get answered. If anyone from these offices would be available to answer them, use the email address at the bottom of this column.
The first question is: Are there any of the senior tax prep services available as there have been for years through the senior centers? If so, where and how do I get an appointment?
The second question is: On the application for the Homeowners Property tax Credit, must I include the federal stimulus funds as reportable income? Each of these questions could be answered in less than a minute if someone were answering the phones at the appropriate agencies, instead I’m becoming frustrated and angry because there seems to be no one available to give me the answers. I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who is feeling ignored by a business or agency these days.
Another question, seemingly without an answer, is: How does one who is, at best, only semi-literate when it comes to doing things on a computer, and hates having to use it, schedule an appointment to get the COVID vaccine? I’ve heard that there was some at my local CVS a couple of weeks ago, but one had to be on their website at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night to even have a chance to get an appointment. Others have told me that you have to be checking the websites almost continuously to find out when and where doses will be available and if, like me, you struggle to get through the maze of forms, the doses are all spoken for in a matter of seconds and you’re left out again.
There are several friends who are also attempting to get me an appointment for a shot. They have been used to getting up before dawn to milk the cows but are now using that time to search for vaccine doses and locations, all to no avail to this point. Now I don’t care if I were number 10, or 100, or 1000 in a queue, just as long as I had a guaranteed spot when the dose came available. But since I, nor my friends, can not even get through the maze in the time allotted to reserve a place in the line, here I sit, still unvaccinated. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one in this predicament. There are, by a rough estimation, thousands, many of whom are older and with underlying conditions, who are having the same trouble as I am. To use an old expression, “That’s no way to run a railroad.”
If only there were a simple, central number to call to be put on a list to be called when doses were available in ones local area. To our detriment, Gov. Hogan hasn’t seen it necessary to provide such a public service, instead he leaves it up to the local governments. Once again I must point out that Carroll County is still only in phase 1B, unlike the rest of the state which now is open to 1C as well. Where are our seemingly limited allocation of vaccines going, and how do we get a larger allotment? Carroll legislators make your voices heard!
Bill Kennedy writes from Taneytown. His column appears every other Monday. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.