I’ve opened this blog post dozens of times in the last month with the intention of finishing it and hitting publish. But each time, I struggled to figure out what story I wanted to tell. Did I want to talk about the history of the facilities at Perryville High School? Or recap the happenings from Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy’s town hall on the FY 2018 in February? Or explain that I had little hope that Perryville would see their request for a field house finally answered in this budget?
But when I attended the county executive’s press conference to release his proposed budget for FY 2018 and the story took an unexpected twist. Here’s the audio from the press conference
I sat in the meeting room that dreary Friday morning skimming the budget in brief, expecting to find nothing in there for Perryville. Instead, I saw this:
A turf field? For Perryville? It isn’t a field house but it comes at about half the price tag of a field house and our current field is in terrible shape. (Honestly, the fields at the other high schools in the county aren’t much better.)
But it’s not a done deal…the proposed budget is now in the hands of the Cecil County Council for approval. The council can’t add to the proposed budget but they can, and will, cut items from the budget.
And a $1 million project is an easy target for a council desperate to avoid tax increases. (Yes, the county executive’s budget includes modest increases in the property and income tax rates. Read more here)
There is no telling what type of shenanigans we’ll witness during these budget deliberations.
We could watch that turf field slip right through our hands…if we don’t tell the county council how important this project is to our community.
It would be easier for the council to cut the field than to face the ire of the small but outspoken group who is constantly crying for lower taxes. As you can imagine, this group is already in a frenzy over the prospect of a tax increase and it’s only been a week since the budget was released.
We will need to advocate for this project to ensure it becomes a reality for our community.
Here’s what you can do to advocate:
- Call or email our county council members at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the council members at +1(410)996-5201
- Attend and speak at a county council meeting (Tips for speaking)
- April 18, 7 PM
- May 2
- Citizens’ Corner at 6 PM
- Council Meeting at 7 PM
- May 16, 7 PM
- Attend and speak at the public budget hearing on May 23rd at Elkton High School at 7 PM
Watch this web page for updates as the budget season progresses.