I would be the first to admit that I've been a little remiss in writing some personal opinions about the political events occurring in our county lately. At the last County Council meeting, Mrs. Elmore's presentation reawakened my drive to search for facts that I'd like to present to the taxpayers in my own opinions. In this manner I hope to encourage people to do some research on their own to find the facts and not just listen to the misinformation and outright lies put out by local media. So Mrs Elmore, Thank - You.
The first remarks that I would like to comment on is Mrs. Elmore's presentation itself. It appeared that she was trying to present some information that she felt would stop the people's new County Executive from investigating a way to save the taxpayers money by re-purposing all or a portion of the old Bennett Middle School . While it appears that the information was not pertinent to the facts she was trying to convince us about, as pointed out later by the County Attorney, her effort did encourage me to look into other areas. Since everyone was trying to convince Bob Culver he couldn't do what he wanted to investigate because this money is bond money we are talking about, I decided to look into the bond Language itself. Now if you've never read the language of one of these bond bills I suggest you get a cup of coffee, some writing paper and find a quiet spot. On page 15 - I found something interesting and I would like to know how others would interpret what's written. It's really not hard to get to on the computer. Go to Wicomico County Government, hit Transparency Portal, then Bond Sale Official Statements, finally hit 2013 Bond Sale OS and you will get the $12,500,000 Wicomico County General Obligation Bond. It states that:
" any surplus funds not expended at the completion of all projects listed in the enabling legislation must be credited to the capital program for the fiscal year next succeeding the year in which the surplus is ascertained or used for payment of debt service''.
So how could this benefit the entire county? Well it seems to me that since no contract has been specifically signed for the demolition of the buildings that the CIP can be signed with a hold on the demolition until a feasibility study is completed to investigate the County Executive's Re-purposing Project. The funding is still in the project. There is no rule that says that money has to be used in three years or loose it and the taxpayers could benefit tremendously if Mr. Culver's ideas are feasible
So what is the down side of giving time to check out Mr. Culver's plan?
The down side is that the School Board, Mr. Federicksen and Mr. Foret will not get exactly what THEY want exactly WHEN they want it. As Greg Bassett's protege, Kim Hudson, would say," Ever experienced deja vu?", meaning experiencing something that we've seen before. Well here it is again. These people don't get exactly what they want and it's "Dog and Pony" time again and that Mrs.Hudson is exactly what is causing that divide or rift you have been talking about. At the last election the voters made it perfectly clear that they were tired of how this county is being operated and run by special interests. The voters want change and voted in Mr. Culver to think outside the box but the BOE simply refuses to change the way it does business. I want to caution you that when the voters get behind a cause that they can make changes. For instance, BOE borrowing is placing the county in jeopardy of meeting other critical services for the entire county and that BOE borrowing should be limited to X percent of the county's borrowing power. Voters could petition to do what Delaware does and let the voters vote on CIP projects for the BOE. And there are more initiatives then those I just mentioned.There is one initiative that I could suggest that you wouldn't believe was coming from me but for now I'm not going to mention it. The BOE has got to recognize that they are not the only entity in this county. Without improving the economic conditions of the ENTIRE county we're on a steady downhill slide. No jobs no kids. Mr. Culver is at least trying which is more than I can say for a great number of people at that council meeting.
I would like to comment on just one other item that stood out at that meeting. When Mr. Culver was asking for time to check this re-purposing idea out there were those of you on the council saying;
"the horse was already out of the barn", "we need to pick our fights", " it would have been nice if you could have present more of a plan when you come here".
I want to remind each of you that when you were campaigning for your seat that all I heard was how you were going to get jobs back and improve the economy. Well, you've been in there almost as long as Mr. Culver so where's your plans? How many jobs and businesses have you brought to the county so far? So how about stop throwing out obstacles and telling Mr. Culver what he can't do. That's the old way of doing things. Think outside the box.Tell us what you can do. You are going to need time and the voters, including myself are willing to give you that time. Now how about giving that time to Mr. Culver. That's all he is asking for. Again Mrs.Elmore Thank You.
John Palmer, Delmar, Md.