All Kent County, Maryland. All the time. A discussion of everything about our slice of paradise.
... kinda sorta... at last night's county budget hearing at 400 High. The room was filled with a lot of rookies from Chestertown. Nice turnout... and basically what the Chestertownies do best... support their town. Unfortunately, it was pretty clear that very few of them had made much effort of looking into their backyard of fiscal management before coming to the meeting. In fact, one of their council types made an emotional harangue of the CC's about not getting a tax offset or a tax rebate... without disclosing that it was just recently that he realized that the town had some serious budget constraints. Fortunately for that council type and two of his compadres who had similar fiscal blindness, fiscal oversight doesn't seem to be high on the Chestertownies list of concerns. Yet... it was a start... a good start. It seems the light has dawned on the Chestertownies that they send more property taxes to 400 High than they do Town Hall.
Note: it was kinda draconian that the CC's 'gave' the Chstertownie government $$$'s by increasing the county piggy back tax to the max of 3.2%... a 12% increase.
The schools got $$$'s, but not in an amount that can sustain a superior school system. So... the Big Q... what happens next year.
It could be inferred that there are some racial issues at the public schools, as three spokes folks from the Social Action Committee mentioned it. But... their objective was probably purer... and not meant to be a provocation.
A kind of weird event happened near the end... of my 14th budget public hearing. I spoke, but not for very long. No telling what might happen when I attend my 28th. :-)
OK - what didn't happen that should have happened?
Yeah, it's all about economic development... when you look at flat revenue nums like were shown. Why are we treading water? I'm all for efficiency in government. Yet... an economic development plan with 1 year, 5 year and 10 year actions and how-to's with milestone evaluations would be a start.
The Chestertownies woke up... at least for an evening. They made a great showing Tuesday night. Their undying support for their leaders and for the schools was noble.
So... what's next for this noble group??? Homework... going to town and county meetings. Understanding the issues. Blind support is noble and ends there. They need to educate themselves so they can ask questions and not let the town leaders to continue to make decisions in a vacuum. Ditto for their involvement in the county... as, I believe, they understand that the largest chink of their tax money goes to 400 High Street.
And here's what they'll learn: these electeds might not agree with you 100% of the time, but they do listen... and you can make a difference.
Yeah, they're all welcome to come to the CC meetings on Tuesday nights as long as they don't sit in John's, Gren's or my seats. :-)