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Advertise on the Tentacle

March 13, 2008

“Sing A Song Of Sixpence…”

Joan Marie Aquilino

Perceptions.................. what are they and how do they develop?

My perception is that our government spends too much of our money.


I've not seen this level of discontent in the county in all my years in Frederick. There are always issues of concern on all sides; but this Board of County Commissioners seems to have touched on them all. Why, well, that is left up to everyone's perception. Did they bring it upon themselves or is it just the time we are living?


Maybe, it's because access to all forms of communications is so readily available. We have immediate gratification or aggravation, depending on your perception.


We are facing some difficult financial times, yet not one county department, short of the sheriff’s office, is willing to bite the bullet and hold the line. This isn’t the year for dribs and drabs. We need serious cuts everywhere. My respect and admiration for leaders that can say and do the difficult, admit that spending must stop, will far surpass the money they are saving us.


Here are some of my perceptions of what is happening today.


The Board of Education knows money is tight but – because it's money "for children" – we are going to somehow find it.


I'm completely aware how valuable our children and teachers are. I'm not cold hearted; but this is the year we all suffer and there will not be raises. The cuts they show don’t even come near what will be necessary and the unions will demand more. If we truly care about “the children,” then we’ll do more than provide lip service and take it on the chin ourselves instead of making “the children” do it for us.


I'm not jumping on the Board of County Commissioners yet, but I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt for the moment. I hope they can make the tough cuts necessary and hold the line. We’ve got two commissioners willing to do what must be done; they just need one more to support them.


Don't even hold to last year’s budget, go beyond it. I know there will be maintenance of effort to some degree; but we are a well-provided-for county, and we can hold our own for a year. The “wants” need to be put on the back burner until we can regroup and recover. Keep that rainy day fund full. Development is on the back burner, so should a whole lot more.


Local government may be near the end of the food chain governmentally, but, more often than not, that can be the best place to start. Local government can be the teachers rather than blindly following the poor examples of state and federal governments. We can set the pace and be the responsible ones.


Our state government is a joke. On their waste alone we could fund our entire budget and then some.


Cut out all unnecessary spending. Do not fund things like CASA de Maryland, Thornton, In-State tuition for illegal immigrants, and so many other programs that if I listed them all you've be sitting here reading this through tomorrow.


The wrong perception is what Gov. Martin O’Malley is doing by giving raises to his top aides. We are struggling to buy gas, keep our homes and he’s doling out raises. Not little ones either. Huge ones. Well, isn’t that just so very special. Where is our raise? The only raise we’ll see is our taxes. If Governor O’Malley had his way these raises would all be kept secret.


Be brave enough not to worry about the votes next time and make the important decisions. No one likes the responsible, realistic person going in, but they'll sure like them when it's all said and done and we can reap the benefits. Then we won’t be so far in the hole we'll never dig ourselves out.


Gee, who is it that used that comment during their campaign and continues to this day. We have to stop digging the budget hole deeper. So stop all areas, not just development.


How much did it cost to come up with a State Dessert and other silliness not needed at this time? The feel good, fluff spending needs to stop!


The money raised, spent and wasted on the presidential elections are – or should be – criminal. We could have rebuilt New Orleans from the ground up with that kind of money. Just think about “the children” that could have been educated and feed.


Governments, make a list of how you’ll spend and stick to it. I had a whole list of criteria but there is only one needed. Do not spend what we do not have. Start with a budgeted amount and work backwards instead of funding everything and only then figuring out how to pay for it all.


If I have only $20 and I need food, I’m not going to waste it on soda and candy even though they may taste better at the moment. I’m going to spend it on vegetables and meat. That’s called paying for the essentials.


This county is facing a huge budget dictated by the mandates handed down from above and requests coming up from below. Be as responsible with our money, as you are with your own home budget. Make deep cuts, not just the surface ones. Every little bit helps, but they won’t solve the problem.


I know I’m singing the same ole song again, but I will continue until others know the verse and sing along. One voice won’t be heard, but many will be.


Till next time…

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