Phil Tilghman: After the first bomb, what have we wrought?

I watched the swearing in ceremony to install the new County Council last Monday night on PAC 14.

What have we wrought?

The council was sworn and they had only one item of business; pass or not pass the CIP Capital Improvement Budget.

Tilghman mug Page 6The new county executive presented his budget striking out improvements to the Civic Center and dropped the bomb: He removed Westside Elementary from the budget, saying he did not know if the new Maryland governor would keep the same level of state funding for school construction; a lame effort to diffuse the expected local fallout from school board members and citizens.

I watched the debacle on PAC 14 and drove in to testify, but too late.

I would have asked the new council to TABLE the vote until all of them had a chance to visit the school and speak with those who put this project on the CIP.

Maybe their vote to table would have given everybody a chance to reconsider.

The Maryland Interagency Commission had already agreed to this year’s state funding.

The interest rate for government bonds is at an all-time low.

The Westside project had been on the “list” since the 1980s.

The executive could use his friendship with the new governor to enhance Wicomico County’s requests to the state, not use him as an excuse for lack of school construction.

This action by the county executive was a mistake and comes at the first day of his tenure.

What is the next bomb?

The council is new. The executive is new. I for one have hopes that in the months ahead both will exercise leadership that the citizens deserve.

Those hopes did not get a boost on that Tuesday night in their first public effort.

We might get what we have wrought, but we deserve better.

Phil Tilghman is a former County Council president and longtime council member. He now hosts the “One On One” talk show each week on PAC 14.

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