SNOW HILL – Municipalities in the southern end of Worcester County could see an increase in funding from the county next year.
The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of the Worcester County Commissioners included a request to have 10% of the county’s table games revenue be used to increase the unrestricted annual grants to Pocomoke and Snow Hill. Commissioner Josh Nordstrom, who represents District 1 and has spent months pushing for the request, asked his peers Tuesday to table the motion until the spring.
“After much discussion with my colleagues and administration they’ve advised me that the appropriate time to discuss this and vote on this is during the budget discussions for FY 21,” Nordstrom said.
The commissioners voted unanimously to table the request until next year’s budget process is underway. In an interview after the meeting, Nordstrom said a vote on the request now wouldn’t have been binding, as the issue would have to be formally approved during the budget process regardless.
“I have a lot of support but the commissioners are uncomfortable committing to anything that will be included in the budget before budget deliberations start,” he said. “Addressing their concern and knowing we’d have to vote again anyway before one dime was received I said ‘well instead of trying to do a good thing badly let’s follow protocols and let’s get it in the budget for ’21.’”
He stressed that the commissioners didn’t object to his proposal for the two municipalities to receive additional revenue but rather the timing of it.
“I’m very confident it will be in the budget for 2021 but we want to go about it the right way,” he said.
Nordstrom, who is in his first term as commissioner, threatened to vote against the recent room tax increase — which required a unanimous vote in order to go into effect — if his fellow commissioners didn’t start listening to the concerns of southern Worcester County. When Nordstrom introduced a variety of initiatives aimed at helping Pocomoke and the southern portion of the county during the last budget process, none of them were approved. When he voted two weeks ago to support the room tax increase, Nordstrom said he was hopeful that the needs of southern Worcester County would be addressed at the first meeting in September. Nevertheless, he said after Tuesday’s meeting that it was his choice to postpone the motion regarding table games revenue and that he looked forward to bringing it back up in May.
“I made the decision based on what was best for not only this issue but for the people of Snow Hill and Pocomoke,” he said.
Nordstrom is pleased that communication had increased among the commissioners.
“Everyone now seems to be listening to each other and sharing concerns,” he said. “It’s important that we have those kinds of relationships as commissioners.”