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County Budget Briefs 05/15/2015

(May 15, 2015) The county commissioners also discussed the following topics during their Tuesday work session on the proposed fiscal 2016 budget.

County to revisit nonprofit funding

Balking at the proposed budget of $791,028 in requests from social service entities in the county like Atlantic General Hospital, the Worcester County Developmental Center, Diakonia and Worcester Youth and Family Counseling, Commissioner President M. Jim Bunting welcomed Commissioner A. Chip Bertino’s suggestion to review the whole process.

“These organizations were started by people who saw a need and raised money towards a goal,” Bunting said. Now, Bunting said, he feels these organizations have become dependent on county funding.

“These organizations already raise a lot of money. If we cut back too far the people served by the organizations are going to come to the county for services. They’re all worthwhile,” Commissioner J. Bud Church said.

Bertino said he would like to see the county’s role codified, and after the budget process the commissioners should define what the role would be in the future.

Commission video killed

A proposal to broadcast county commissioners meetings has died on the table as the board voted to zero-out the $65,000 line item that would have provided for the equipment.

“If you’re going to raise taxes by eight cents the people deserve to see what happens here. No one is going to take off from work on a Tuesday afternoon,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said.

Mitrecic has championed the video effort since he was elected this past November.

“This is not the time to do it,” Commissioner Ted Elder said.

The commissioners voted 4-3 in favor of removing funding for video equipment.

Discovery Center issued ultimatum

Although they voiced support for new Delmarva Discovery Center Director Stacy Weisner, the commissioners voted to cut her requested funding from $60,000 to $50,000, and issued a clear statement of their intentions.

“They get one more year, and this is that year,” Bertino said.

The commissioners expressed frustration with the amount of funding devoted to the center annually without seeing any moves toward self-sufficiency.

“I’m to the point where I think we should let her raise the money,” Bunting said.

Church, who said he has known Weisner for many years, called her an aggressive fundraiser.

“It has been a struggle,” Pocomoke City Commissioner Merrill Lockfaw said,

Taylor Landing to get crab pier funding

After denying design phase funding for a replacement crab pier in Girdletree the county proceeded to resurrect the project during budget discussions.

When the commissioners reconstructed the boat ramp at Taylor’s Landing, they replaced a vertical bulkhead with riprap where the community had previously been crabbing and fishing.

“They don’t get much to begin with compared to the north end of the county,” Lockfaw said. Lockfaw said Governor Larry Hogan’s office has been in touch with him concerning the project, but hasn’t yet seen any results from the conversation.

“A boat ramp isn’t a place to be moving around. I don’t think it’s safe,” Mitrecic said.

Lockfaw said there hasn’t been an issue with the pier before.

“There’s not a lot of recreation down there. I think this is money well spent,” Church said.

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