From Harford County Campaign for Liberty:
WE NEED YOUR HELP: Make your voice heard!
Saturday, January 15 9AM to Noon at the AA Roberty Building in Bel Air
Thursday, January 20 6PM at the Joppatowne High School
As residents of Maryland and Harford County we potentially face many increases of taxes and fees in 2011.
From Annapolis we hear the potential exists for a rise in the state gasoline tax, a possible doubling of the “flush tax”, a hike in the alcohol tax, and a RISE IN HIGHWAY TOOLS. And there is a move in the State Legislature to move the obligation for teacher pensions onto local jurisdictions, a move that would plunge every county in this State into a fiscal upheaval.
Here in Harford the county faces a potential $26 million to $60 million budgetary shortfall. The Board of Education is asking for a $26 million increase over last year’s budget. The County has spent $17 million in recordation taxes that it never received. And a significant staffing increase must occur at the County Detention center where an expansion will grow the population housed from 474 to 762 prisoners.
Campaign for Liberty is asking that you join us at two very important hearings concerning the Board of Education and County budgets. These budgets will directly effect your tax rate.
The first meeting is at the Board of Ed on Saturday, January 15th. The time is 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. It is located at the AA Roberty Building, 102 South Hickory Avenue in Bel Air. County residents need to express to the Board of Ed that a $26 million dollar increase does not reflect good judgement in these economically challenging times.
The second meeting is a hearing by County Executive David Craig to get citizen input on the 2012 budget. This meeting will be held on Thursday, January 20, 2011 at the Joppatowne High School. The session will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the school auditorium. The address is 555 Joppa Farm Road, Joppa, MD.
Residents need to express to the County Executive that real cuts in the County budget must be made as current spending levels are simply unsustainable. County residents can no longer be counted on to be an endless piggy bank for ever increasing largess in government.
Justin A. Glimmer says
Liberty / Tea Party Knuckleheads,
Where is the “largess” (specifically!) except for you inflated self worth?
What does largess have to do with it (specifically!)?
Tax payer- again says
Justin A Glimmer,
Part of the waste at this time in the BOE budget is the creation of a job, a nurse ‘watchdog’ that will oversee the sick leave of staff and teachers. The position was described at the Monday, 1/10/11, budget workshop. Mr. Frisch questioned the need and the purpose and all the board members, including the superintendent, looked puzzled and questioning the need for this position. The second series of positions were for the print shop in the boe bldg. That position will be used by the whole county also. Co- mingling of equipment, labor and facilities w/n the county would also eliminate much waste.
Sir, I hope this clarifies some serious issues for you.
I believe the sick leave position is the person who has to over see the sick leave bank which is negotiated as part of techers contract.
The print shop as my wife says is a central location to do copying. This reduces the copy demands at each school. The problem is you need people to work it. The teacher that runs the copies on the machine which the school system pays for the copy at each building can not go to thwe central location to run copies. It saves money by reducing the cost and need for as many building copiers.
I agree that it only makes sense that our government shouldn’t spend money that it doesn’t have. Our federal spending and national debt is a perfect example of that.
However, I take issue with the idea that our elected officials are not listening to the people. The fact is they were elected by a majority and are supported by a majority. If the majority of people want better police and emergency response, better roads and pedestrian walkways, better school system and teachers then the candidates that feel the same way will be voted in. If not, they won’t. If you have contrary ideas or beliefs than the elected officials it’s because you’re in the minority and not because they’re not listening to the people.
I agree with your view that we all want better police, emergency response, roads and schools. In a perfect world, maybe. It’s not as simple as that, however.
Money is being spent (at all levels of government) with little regard to efficiency (my opinion). If I ran my household budget like government runs theirs I’m pretty sure I’d be in deep trouble or maybe even in jail.
In reality, debt is needed to make things “go ’round”. I have a mortgage…I’m in debt. However, to fulfill my end of the bargain, I budget, allocate and spend within my means….it doesn’t mean I’m not in debt….but rather I run a SURPLUS of a given percentage of my income so I can have excess reserves in place. The amount of excess reserves can’t cover 100% of my debt obligation, but the point is, I don’t spend every last flippin’ dollar I earn! If my water heater goes up, I tap into my reserve to fix it. I don’t go back to the bank and say….”Gee…I didn’t see that one coming….can you lend me some more?”.
The growing budget shortfall leads me to believe that those in charge of it never planned for a rainy day, or for tough times. They think have the proverbial money tree from which to pick. They don’t see the money as being very “personal” to them. Whereas, the money is earn and spend is VERY personal to me. That’s why I’m running a healthy budget and the gov’t is not. I resent the fact that because of their lack of fiscal responsibility, they continually come back to the “lender” and ask for more. Enough is enough.
Our budget woes can be solved by tightening up the purse strings a bit (well, maybe A LOT). People that immediately jump to the “schools, police, fire and rescue” talking point aren’t addressing the real issue, which is RESPONSIBLE SPENDING is required in order to turn the tide.
My point was if the majority of people want Harford county to increase its budget to provide for better services then that’s exactly what’s going to happen. If the majority wants to cut the budget then that’s what will happen. Either way if you find yourself at odds with the direction the county is headed it’s because you represent the minority opinion and not because the government is out of control or not listening to the people.
I think if you polled most residents they’d be all for increasing the budget for “better services”…..Hey!….cotton candy, lollipops and gumdrops for everyone!….
And you’re right….the “majority” can elect someone into office that wants to “increase the budgets” (nice way of saying….increase the spending), but they don’t have an emotional tie to the money being spent, because if you then ask them to take out their wallet and write a check to cover the required funding for said “better services”, they’d just as quickly say “go ask someone else for the money….I’m a month behind on my bills….”.
I don’t think so. There are almost endless examples where communities have voted “yes” to either raising taxes or for bond issues to pay for improving already existing services or adding new services. There are probably almost as many where the community voted “no”. In either case the government is being no more or no less responsible. It’s simply following the direction the community wants it to go.
It’s a shame when people can only see their side of an argument. It makes true debate and compromise practically impossible.
I Left says
Pizzle–You seriously need to run for office. Too many politicians (and political activists) see the budget as a black/white issue–It’s either raise or slash to them. You’re actually talking sense. It’s possible to maintain or even cut tax rates and improve services. It’s just not easy, and politicians need to look at it like you said–as being similar to a household budget.
Tomback’s proposal to include the step raise in the budget is a perfect example. Rather than look at how to cut out waste in order to allow the step (which would actually impact education), he just asked for more money. If a step raise is what it takes to keep from losing good teachers, then that is something worth doing. What in the education budget can we do without? What doesn’t impact the actual education of the students? There are real answers to those questions for someone who actually wants to find them.
What some people are not keeping in mind is that while he asked for 26 million in the unrestricted fund there is 12 million decrease in the restricted fund. Some people are looking at this as 26 million increase when it is really only 14 million.
@I Left writes “If a step raise is what it takes to keep from losing good teachers, then that is something worth doing.”
Our economy is on a deflationary track and wages in the private sector will trend down. Public sector employees including teachers will be impacted as well. Taxpayers are no longer willing to write a blank check.
Must have reached the reply limit in the original thread….
Anyway, are you accusing me of only seeing “my side” of the argument? If so, then which side of the argument do you see?….yours perhaps? Isn’t that what makes a debate…well…a debate?
My beef is with the IRRESPONSIBLE/EMOTIONLESS SPENDING, not with using tax dollars to provide better services. It’s about officials not having an emotional attachment to the dollars they’re spending and thinking they can simply pilfer the tax payers when more dollars are required, regardless of whether or not they’re simply just following the will of the “majority”.
As for the “majority”, if they elect to spend more money, then all I ask is that they’re also as enthusiastic about writing the check to cover the tab. My gut is telling me most will take a ‘kick the can down the road’ approach. Isn’t that how you’d explain our current financial woes to begin with?
I’m not aware of “endless examples” of communities voting to raise taxes, but if you say so, I trust you on it. Bond issues are a different story.
I really have no side when it comes to budget issues. If a government is running a deficit and building up debt I’m all for cutting spending across the board. If they want to increase taxes instead, I’m find with that too. If some nut job is able to convince 51% of the people that the government should supply everyone with a free bicycle at tax payer’s expense then so be it. What I do not like is when people go through the budget line by line and want budget cuts only in the areas that they don’t support regardless of how it affects other people or the overall support it might have from the community.
I would like to know what service specifically the tgovernment need cut.
When people purchase popcorn and sodas at the Regal theater, spend money on smoking and gambling, they have money to pay for needed goverment services.
You make the point. It is their money to spend as they please, such as movies and popcorn. I really don’t want to turn my money over to a Federal, State, and Local government that overpays its employees through inflated wages, benefits, and pensions (see USA Today and Wall Street Journal).
I rarely go the movies, don’t smoke, and don’t gamble. I pay an effective tax rate over 40%. Isn’t that enough?
If you site an article please provide a link or a date and a title so I can look it up. I’m not trying to say anything negative about your comment. I’d just like to read it.
frankly speaking says
the issue seems to me its one of priorities. people don’t want to pay taxes because they feel the govt already taxes them enough for the services they receive….people expect fire, police, water/sewer, roads and education to be there for use, but don’t really know how much it costs to provide those services. For example, HCG budgeted for 911 and emergency response is 9 million this year but the service provided is paid by “taxes” which all of us pay, but we only use the service if needed. This fixed cost must be paid even if you didn’t call 911 or if you didn’t need any emergency assistance…if you pay for something then that something needs to provide something tangible…the fact that the county spent 4 million to upgrade our commnication systems so that in the event of a county wide emergency all depts can communicate efficiently does not really matter today because you haven’t needed the service, until you need it. Same thing if your house catches on fire…you’d expect the fire hydrant to have enough water and water pressure to feed the water hose, but someone has to actually maintain that fire hydrant in case there is a fire.
Oh yes…the ever dreaded “RISE IN HIGHWAY TOOLS!”
There are several ways to increase revenues without drastic cuts or increase in taxes. As a suggestion, create a landlord registration whereby all those who have rental properties must be licensed to do so, and have their properties inspected. Too many landlords in this county receive payments in cash and do not report this income. Registration would compel landlords to pay additional income taxes and pay a licensing fee for the privilege of being able to rent property. Furthermore, many of these rental properties are using far more public services such as police service calls. Start charging landlords when the amount of police calls to their properties exceeds a given #, and when they have excessive burglar alarm calls.
How about consolidating all the municipal police dept’s in Harford into a County Police Department. This would reduce costs by streamlining budgets, equipment, personnel, benefits, etc… There really is no reason why Havre de Grace, Aberdeen and Bel Air have separate PD’s in this day and age. Use the infrastructure in these towns as new precincts. The savings would be amazing.
There already are fines imposed for having excessive false alarms. After the 2nd one in a 12 month period you start getting fined and the fines go up the more you have.
I know of a couple businesses that had $1000’s in false alarm fines before they finally fixed their issues.
Phil Dirt says
Do you believe that the county should have the right to dissolve the town police forces? Of course, it would have to be up to only the residents of the towns to vote on that, and I believe that any cost savings to them (and I’m doubtful that there would be any) would not be worth the difference in coverage.
As I have stated before, residents of Bel Air pay an extra tax for police, snow removal, trash collection and other services, and many of us believe that we are getting what we are paying for. As with any large organization, there could always be improvements, but the answer is not to blow it up.
To answer Phils’ Q? “Do you believe that the county should have the right to dissolve the town police forces?” This would likely be some sort of referendum for city voters. However, the City could elect to disolve their Police force as a cost saving measure prior to a referendum.
You made a comment about coverage not being the same if township PD’s dissolved to be replaced by a County PD. I disagree. I believe the County PD would have equal if not greater coverage to due to economy of scale…ie. more bang for the buck. Right now, covereage is ok in these towns, believe me, its not as good as one would think. A larger County PD would be able to use the local infrastructure and staff it more than adequately.
These 3 local governments are really a waste of $ when you think about it. This is not the place to break it down into line items…but you get the point.
Phil Dirt says
“These 3 local governments are really a waste of $ when you think about it. This is not the place to break it down into line items…but you get the point.”
I have to disagree. To me, for most services that impact me dierctly in my day-to-day life, state government is better than federal, county is better than state, and town is better than county. The closer government is to the individual, the more accountable it is.
Dave Yensan says
For a good idea of how things could be if we eliminated the municipal police forces we only have to compare Aberdeen to Perryman or Edgewood. The County is doing a really great job in those two! NOT!
Good observation! Perryman is an area that overlaps the jurisdiction of Aberdeen and the HDCSO and has been underserved by 5-0 for years. Neither department has handled this area as well as possible.
That said, one area with poor coverage does not serve as the reason why we should not have a County Police Department. Simply put in terms of economy of scale, the resident of Harford would be better served with a county police department.
This would result in better and increased officer coverage, better training, and savings that would make your head spin. Politics is preventing this from happening. The small town Mayors of this county really have no experience or business running police departments. Furthermore, by eliminating the elected Sheriff position, there would be a nationwide pool of applicants seeking to become the Chief of the Harford County PD. No more good ole boys, no retreads, far less favoritism, no disruptions of work during election cycles, etc….
Look around at the larger jurisdictions, that’s what they have done and it is a successful model. Harford is no longer the sleep country county of 1950. We have grown and matured, thus creating a need to improve our police force.
nice idea. cutting 3 Mayors out of the police loop would really improve service across the county.
One police force seems to make sense. It works in Baltimore County and there has to be overlaping resources that would make a consolidated Harford County SO more efficient. We’re no doubt spending a lot of money just to share information between these jurisdictions. …let me rephrase that – I hope we’re sharing information between these jurisdictions and that has to cost more than one cohesive system. Right? I’ve seen calls where HCSO, MSP, Bel Air and even Balto Co. have all re$ponded. If something big happens in HdG, Bel Air, or Aberdeen and multiple departments respond who’s in charge?
Phil Dirt says
The reason that there is only one police force in Baltimore County is because there are no incorporated towns or cities in Baltimore County – not even Towson.
If the citizens of Bel Air, Aberdeen or Havre de Grace have a problem with having a municipal police force, they will and should be the one to speak up about it. Why do some county residents think that the way to improve county policing is to degrade town policing?
Dave Yensan says
Gee Phil, don’t you understand? In our new world order, politically correct, fairness society we all have to have the same. Since we can’t seem to bring the lowest of the low up we have to degrade the rest. That is the thinking that says let’s get rid of the municipal forces so we all have the same mediocre coverage. By the way let’s make that even less for the route 40 corridor, they are all bums.