Between The Lines

Between The Lines

There will be two new faces in Snow Hill when the County Commissioners meet next month. Much of the board’s early business will be mundane, and the first tricky business will start to unfold during budget deliberations after the first of the year.

It’s no secret the commissioners are going to be presented with a tax increase proposal by staff. Talks will, of course, originate privately and the public will likely know little about it for a while, but sources said this week there are already murmurs inside the county government office building about what tax or taxes may be targeted.

If it weren’t an election year, some commissioners privately said last winter they would support a tax increase over the difficult cuts that had to be made to county departments as well as the number of items that had to be turned away for the school system. It’s no secret the first year after an election is when most governments approve tax increases because these hikes are most often to be forgotten about a few years from now when they go back before voters in a quasi-referendum on their performance in office.

The county is not alone when it comes to considering tax increases in the face of declining revenues and soaring fixed costs. It’s worth pointing out there’s a tax hike package also reportedly in the works for the state to help close its $1.6 billion-plus deficit, which was recently disclosed. This tentative proposal apparently includes a number of service cuts as well as increases in certain fees.

What all this means is now that the calendar is about to flip to an odd-numbered year we can all expect some increases to our costs of living. That appears inevitable in some shape or form.

A survey went out to Ocean City Chamber of Commerce members on Tuesday regarding next year’s OC Air Show. It dealt largely with the dates of the event and the impact it has on individual businesses. It also allowed for overall comments to be submitted. The plan is apparently for the newly formed Tourism Advisory Board to review the results and move ahead from there when discussing next year’s event with the event organizer.

Last week, this paper penned an editorial opining the event should not be held in 2011 if no headlining draw, such as the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels or the like, can be inked for the show. From the feedback I heard this week, it was not a popular sentiment. Most I heard from this week seemed to think the event was still worth having even if it did not feature a jet team, as it has the last two years. However, some did suggest the city should begin a gradual phase out of public dollar support for the event.

Within three hours of each other last Friday, two candidates announced they abandoned hopes of an election victory. Here’s some interesting excerpts from State’s Attorney Joel Todd’s concession letter, which ran 467 words, and State Senate candidate Michael James, whose letter measured 137 words.

— Todd: “During my time in office I have learned that what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.

The voters have now chosen a new State’s Attorney. I intend to make the way as smooth for him as I can. I pledge to the voters that during the remaining time in my term of office I will do everything I can to prepare him for the cases and issues awaiting him on the first Monday of January, 2011.

To those who did not support me I regret that I did not satisfy your view of an effective prosecutor, but I make no apologies for the decisions I made as State’s Attorney. In each and every decision I sought to enforce the rights of the public, protect the innocent, and convict the guilty.”

— James: “I recently called Jim Mathias to congratulate him on his victory in the District 38 State Senate race.

It has been an honor and a privilege to take part and compete in this election. Though I wish the outcome was different, I truly believe we influenced and helped shape the agenda for the Eastern Shore with our ideas, our positions, and with the honest and assertive nature of our campaign.”

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.