Marc Kilmer: Council won’t be embracing a ‘Culture of No’

What will the next four years bring us in Wicomico County? Given the changes brought by the 2014 election, that question has been on the minds of many people lately.

With new faces in the county executive’s seat and on the council, it means something of a departure from how things were done in the past.

However, doing things differently doesn’t mean that we’re embracing a “Culture of No.” Every elected official shares the goal of a better Wicomico County. Laws, policies, and personnel are merely the means to achieve that end.

Kilmer MarcCertainly, county residents and elected officials differ on how we can make Wicomico County better. But broadly speaking, we all want an improved economy, quality education, and safer streets.

During elections, voters choose a group of people with a set of ideas on how to reach common goals. They voted for a change in November 2014.

Those of us elected then are still new in our offices. We’re figuring a lot of things out. But even at this early stage, I’m excited about what we are working on.

For instance, within our first few months in office, it’s likely that we will accomplish three major initiatives:

The first, passed in late December, was approving a searchable online database for county spending. The second would be placing a moratorium on the so-called “impact fee” for new home construction. The third would be gaining county approval to move us toward an elected school board.

These three proposals are aimed at increasing government accountability and revitalizing our economy. They have been discussed for years with little or no action being taken.

With a new council and a new executive, however, they are on track to being accomplished quickly. In the coming months you’ll see more actions like this.

Locally, and across Maryland, voters spoke in favor of lower taxes, fewer government burdens, and a focus on economic growth. These are our goals, too.

While these are important, our agenda goes further.

Perhaps our most important achievement will be seeing how well the county can work with the city of Salisbury to address economic and development issues. We have to work together to lower the barriers to entry that make it difficult to do business and live in Salisbury.

Even those of us who don’t live in the city limits (and I’m one of them) need to recognize that our county’s economic future is tied to Salisbury’s future.

That’s something I think both the new council and executive realize.

Over the next four years, we’ll disagree with each other. Some members of the public won’t like what we do. City and county officials will likely have different visions on what they want from each other.

That’s fine. That’s part of governing.

But if we all keep in mind that we share common goals, it will be easier to keep those disagreements from permanently dividing us.

Wicomico County Councilman Marc Kilmer is a Republican who presents District 2.

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