Letters: Budget contains red flags; taxes are delegate's lone concern

Proposed county budget contains several red flags

As we all know, property taxes are going up for many this year, due to increasing assessments. Now that the county commissioners have released their proposed budget, we can see why our commissioners won’t be giving us a tax cut anytime soon. Several red flags have caught my attention.

The first is the proposal to spend [approximately] $300,000.00 for a new, paid county fire chief and administrative assistant. The county commissioners have said they would like to transition away from our volunteer fire departments to a “fully-funded” system. This is an unacceptable power grab. This is financially irresponsible and goes against our community-focused way of life. This reminds me of the attempted power-grab by the county commissioners a few years back when they tried to replace our citizen-elected sheriff with a politically-appointed chief of police. Our delegation to Annapolis, at the urging of citizens, stepped in and made sure that the commissioners’ proposal for an appointed chief of police would have to go to a ballot referendum first. After that, the commissioners immediately backed off.


In a similar manner, we need to ask our delegation to require this dramatic change in the structure of our fire department system to be put onto a ballot referendum. We have great, highly-trained volunteer fire departments, supported financially by community events like carnivals, bingos and the like. In addition, our community fire departments already receive a large amount of funding from the county. Also, the president of the Board of County Commissioners recently said there is no problem with getting volunteers in Carroll County. So, if it ain’t broke, commissioners, don’t fix it.

Another red flag in the proposed budget is the airport “runway to nowhere.” This was a privately-owned airport for decades and should be put back into private hands. Instead, our Commissioners want to buy a whopping [164.1] acres and make the airport almost twice its current size. This would dislocate families and small businesses. It is reckless to enlarge this airport so close to the City of Westminster with 20,000 residents, daycare centers, schools, and shopping centers. Approximately one thousand citizens have signed a Petition against the airport expansion. Yet, on May 2, 2019, the commissioners voted for $12 million in airport bond financing (debt), without even bothering to hold a public hearing first. Irresponsible decisions are wasting our hard-earned tax dollars and harming the fabric of our quality of life.

Mary Kowalski


We’re willing to invest in schools, the environment, Marylanders

Del. Haven Shoemaker’s reflections on the 2019 legislative season in Annapolis in his May 15 column show how out of touch he is with both reality and his constituents. His only priority, and only interest, is taxation. Fortunately for Carroll County, the General Assembly at large is more interested in investment.

We’re willing to invest for better schools and the high quality education that will make Maryland, and Carroll County, successful for decades to come. We know that strong schools with adequate funding and up-to-date facilities and resources attract people and businesses to our state and our communities. And we know that there is no greater advocate for Maryland’s students and their needs than Maryland’s teachers.

We’re willing to invest in protecting our environment from the decimation currently happening at the EPA. We know that protecting our natural resources protects our economy and our future. We know that the costs of ignoring climate change are far, far greater than the investments we make today, and we know that the actions we take, or fail to take, today will have long lasting consequences.

We’re willing to invest in Marylanders by fighting for reasonable and responsible gun legislation that equally protects the rights and lives of those who own guns and those who don’t. We’re willing to invest in Marylanders by fighting for sick-leave, access to healthcare, and a livable wage, because we know that these are building blocks to stronger families who are less reliant on social services.

It’s clear that Shoemaker’s only interest these days is his tax bill. For those of us with the foresight to look past our own wallets, we know that building a Maryland that provides and protects equal opportunity for all of us and our future. Maryland is worth the investment.

Amanda McGuire