From the Mayor..
As a Nation and a Town, we have triumphantly endured and overcome a situation so unfathomable and devastating, I am both encouraged and inspired by the acts of resourcefulness of this great Community.
Thank you to our citizens who were steadfast in their commitment to our business community and rallied together to support our local businesses who give so much back to the community year in and year out. The overwhelming support will continue in the months and years to come as we navigate a long recovery effort.
The resourcefulness of our “essential businesses” that were permitted to operate was nothing short of amazing. The manner in which these businesses adjusted and creatively reinvented their business operations to continue providing good and essential services was inspiring.
Often the unsung heroes, our civic organizations stepped forward to provide much needed support to all facets of the community. A special thank you to the Mt. Airy Kiwanis Club, MA Lions Club, MA Rotary Club and 4-County Lions Club as well as the local 55-Plus Group that organized our Senior Outreach phone call programs, the Rotary Club of Mt. Airy for delivering bread and donating supplies to the MAVFC, the Mount Airy Lions Club for posting inspirational messages on our Town entry signs, Mount Airy Net for continuing to serve as a vital lifeline to so many of our community members, The Little Pantry on Main Street, and everyone who looked out for your fellow neighbor during this crisis.
I am humbled by all of the contributions of our staff who were quite simply Rock Stars! In response to these unprecedented times, we launched the largest, longest, most information packed community outreach in our history thanks to their talent and dedication.
As a Town we launched three motorcades, the biggest in our history! Creative solutions by repurposing unused resources such as park tables for Pop Up parks that now serve as dedicated outdoor dining. We held a live 8-hour virtual event that gave out $1000 to shoppers buying local. Thanks to MAMSA, Councilmember Pamela Reed, EDC Chair Donnamarie Needle and Town Staff for thinking outside the box to think of new ways to support our businesses.
We also assembled special Teams and Committees like the Emergency Response Team that met routinely and will continue to meet: Council-President Larry Hushour, Councilmember Karl Munder, David Warrington, Doug Reitz, Gina Campanile, Colleen Reilly, Ashley Collier, Charlene Singleton, Holly McCleary, Katie Moore, Melissa Thorn, Tom McCarron, Doug Alexander, Jacob Thren, Kyle Heister, Jim Stargel and myself. Our Graduation Committee who planned our historic motorcade and other outreach efforts for our 2020 Graduates! It was a first and, as such, we learned valuable lessons, but overall a huge success! A tremendous thanks to Ashley Collier, Colleen Reilly, David Warrington, Gina Campanile, Dan Hozhabri, Heidi Shorter, Jason Poirier, Kelly Frager, Lynne Galletti, Patty Washabaugh and myself.
To our Town Council members Council President Larry Hushour, Council Secretary Jason Poirier, Councilmember Pamela Reed, Councilmember Karl Munder, and Councilmember Patty Washabaugh who may have differed on the approach for assisting our business community, but worked together towards a mutually agreeable solution. I am proud that the entirety of the Town Council will join me side by side to support our business community! A special “shout- out” to Donnamarie Needle and Councilmember Pamela Reed for their enthusiastic and passionate work to assist businesses, though everyone championing for the survivability of our businesses deserves a round of applause and our deepest gratitude!
Now onto the official reporting. Our annual budget was passed on June 2nd, and I am pleased to share that although we are facing tough times, we are financially solvent and while my original budget proposal adding hundreds of thousands to our reserve funds, the Council’s final has a small draw from reserves for capital projects, as is a normal usage. Your tax rate remains the same as it has for the approx. the last decade. The Town Council approved another police officer bringing our sworn personnel force up to 11. While I would have preferred to wait in consideration of large expenditures for projects that have to be completed coming forward, such as a multi-million dollar police station, the completion of Center Street through to Route 27 ,and the disposition of the Flat Iron Property, I respect the Council’s decision to add an additional officer immediately.
During the past two months, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading to our youth with Meatball (my mixed rescue Bulldog sidekick) every week. I have never been more proud or humbled to be your Mayor and a part of #teammountairy! With the Country and Town reopening that series has now ended.
We enjoyed several motorcades to celebrate our Graduates and to show some love to our Senior Community in Wildwood.
While many of our hometown summer events have been canceled due to the Covid-19 crisis, this is a perfect time for a family outing to support our local businesses and restaurants and enjoy one of our many parks! The Farmer’s Market opened this Wednesday and is planned to continue through September with added health measures. Please place an order directly with a vendor for convenient pickup on Wednesdays from 3:00-7:00 PM. See http://www.mountairymainstreetfarmersmarket.org/ for more information.
We congratulate the 2020 Graduating Classes of Linganore, South Carroll High Schools as well as other schools attended by our young adults. We wish you well in all of your future endeavors! We know that each of you will make us proud!
In an effort to remain consistent with the Governor’s phasing, Department Heads will be returning to Town Hall full-time on June 8th. The Public Works crew will also be at full force On June 8th. Protocols will be put in place to bring the remaining staff on site in a safe and healthy manner.
Also, after conferring with the Emergency Response Team- We are opening all playgrounds, basketball courts for non-contact shooting, 21, horse etc. just to keep your game up, dog parks open, we are accepting pavilion and field use reservations, LIMITED to the current State Executive Orders of 10 assembled in one place. Please remember social distancing and safety precautions are still needed. We need to continue to act responsibly. With the lifting of these limits and as we return to a more normal life.
Though not officially confirmed it appears HomeGoods will be opening soon. Their target was June. We will keep you updated.
Last but certainly not least, a heartfelt “thank you” to all Town Staff who seamlessly adapted to modified working environments to ensure that essential services and operations continued without disruption. These challenging times also required certain staff members to step well “out of the box” and provide creative solutions. A special “Thank You” to David Warrington, Gina Campanile, Ashley Collier, Melissa Thorn, John Breeding, Brian Johnson, Colleen Reilly and Erich Stockdale for your hard work and ingenuity! Our entire staff deserves a huge thank you!