Updated: Jan 11, 2020
"We can't do it," says Commissioner Larry Tichnell who goes on to ask the public to help him and his fellow commissioner with the economic challenges that lay ahead for Garrett County.
"But as a group," he continues, "Maybe we can get something done."
What he's most concerned about is the financial demands of the Kirwan Commission Report that will require Garrett County to spend $1.4 million annually over the next ten years on public schools if the legislation passes through the 2020 General Assembly in Annapolis.
Commissioner Tichnell's plea was to a full house at their "State of the County" meeting held on Monday, January 6. Members of the community, the Garrett County School Board, and community organizations were present.
"Garrett County can't afford more taxes," Tichnell laments. "The people of Garrett County can't afford more taxes."
Tichnell and his fellow commissioners, Paul Edwards and Jim Hinebaugh faced a $4 million shortfall with their 2020 budget requiring a tax increase to balance the books, going against their principals. Although the increase was minimal, it came as a surprise to residents of the remote part of Maryland who haven't seen a tax increase in close to 20 years.
Commissioner Edwards pointed out that the Kirwan Report included many recommendations that were good for public schools with ideas he liked, however, the cost has him highly concerned. He also noted that some of the recommendations in the report were already funded locally such as pre-K programs and vocatio