Mayors Report - April 2017
MAES Update - Thanks to Jennifier Weitzel, Aubrey Phamdo, Bill Butts, Rita Misra and others that are following the Board of Education process closely. The State has appropriated more funding to Carroll County Schools closing the funding gap from 3.9 million to 2.3 million. The Board of Education is looking closely at enrollment numbers and if they continue to decline our school will be a target and no one can honestly promise they can save our school. Key meetings are scheduled in May and June and we will continue to make the case that we are a defined community. With the completion of our MXD zoning we could see some new residential mixed in with beneficial commercial zoning downtown, giving us more need for the school and beneficial tax dollars without new sprawling residential developments that most of us moved away from. We will remind the Board of Education and Superintendent Guthrie, with the same factual data we have been presenting for months, that Mount Airy sends more taxes north per capita than any other municipality, and that income would be impacted by the closure of our MAES. I am thankful for the work of Rita Misra, Sara Spaur and others that joined me years earlier to speak on behalf of school funding long before our school was on the chopping block. The time to build relationships with Congressman, Senators or School Boards is not when you need them, but before. All this gives MAES a strong case for remaining open. While a closure may produce some other uses for the building, maintaining our schools and keeping our kids in local schools is a priority for our community for a variety of reasons.
Budget - The Mayor’s recommended budget is soon to be released, pending final clarifications I have requested from Staff. Our financial picture is strong and our reserve balances have continued to increase annually. I am pleased to report that with conservative budgeting the Town is maintaining cost, and with home values increasing there is no justification to recommend a constant rate, as the few that do not benefit from the homestead tax credit would pay slightly more. I will be recommending that we stay with a constant yield which will slightly lower your tax rate and give us the same income as last year. So, I will be pleased to announce a tax rate reduction for the upcoming year. Mount Airy has the lowest tax rate of all municipalities in Carroll County, and has the
lowest tax rate in the State of Maryland as compared to all municipalities of equal or greater populations. Our first public budget work session will be April 18th @ 6 pm At Town Hall.
Flat Iron - There are various opinions and options, and we need to consider what is best for the Town as a whole. I hope we all agree that reviewing these options and overall broad planning will be the best approach for our community and future. Spending and costs are huge factors, and we have to understand that, as in other projects, doing nothing will bring substantial costs as well. Overall professional planning and public input on those options is essential before making a final decision. I urge all of us, including town residents, to review these presentations and ALL the facts related to various options. Initial reports tell us something has to be done and we do not want to wait until the building collapses to address the situation. Nor am I in favor of spending for the sake of spending, or making a decision without overall planning. I am thankful the Council has accepted my recommendation to let us Master Plan downtown and focus on putting Center Street through while we are reviewing our options, not in an isolated way but with the big picture in mind!
The Mayor's Community Forums - The Mayor’s Community Forum for April 2017 will be held on Saturday, April 8th, from 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., inside the Caboose downtown on Main Street. On April 22, I will be attending “Walk and Roll” event in support of CureSMA.org. Also, feel free to contact me at email@example.com or call Town Hall @ 301-829-1424. Residents are encouraged to drop and discuss any town related items. Town Council members are also invited to attend. The setting is comfortable and informal. Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite drink and stop by!
Town Outreach - There are several ways to get in touch with your Town government and to see the latest updates. You can "like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter @MountAiryMD, or just visit us on the Web at www.mountairymd.org.
Volunteer Opportunities: Please visit http://www.mountairymd.org/ for a list of volunteer opportunities on one of our many commissions. Please let me know if anyone is interested in serving on a commission where there is a vacancy. You can call Town Hall at 301-829-1424 or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.