Bob Culver: Open discussion on Revenue Cap worthwhile

Lately, because of a report put forward by the Greater Salisbury Committee and coverage of the issue in the Salisbury Independent, much interest and attention has been given to Wicomico County’s Revenue Cap.

So what, if any, restrictions has it caused on the growth of Wicomico County? Many people will say it has been a protector of runaway spending from politicians not caring about their constituents. Others will say because of the cap we have put the county in a downward spiral that will only hurt its future existence.

Many younger residents are not familiar with the revenue cap or how it became law.  However, there are many older citizens who are very familiar with the cap and the reason the people walked door to door and stood in front of businesses to obtain enough signatures to have the amendment placed on the ballot.

The then-sitting County Council increased taxes by 46 cents per $100 or a 24 percent tax increase from the prior year and at the same time voted for a 1 percent transfer tax.

Then came the deep recession that brought everything to a halt. Today, due to state and local restrictions as well as banking restructuring of mortgages, we have no new subdivisions of any size being planned, limiting income from new growth.

With interest rates seeming to be on the upswing it could put us behind in maintaining the county services to which our citizens are accustomed.

Where does that leave us?

I agree that after 18 years, since the charter amendment became a reality, it might be time to revisit the language. Times and needs change and the amendment should be examined to determine whether there are potential issues that could cause unexpected consequences that might hinder the county in the future.

However, we cannot forget why and how this revenue cap became a reality.

It is my opinion, this topic should be approached much like it was 18 years ago and have a series of open meetings to reach as many residents as possible. This method can help to inform those who might be unfamiliar with the revenue cap and give those who are aware an opportunity to voice their opinion.

After all, it is our job to represent all of the people.

Bob Culver is the Wicomico County Executive.

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