"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
(1/23) We’ve done it again, a new year is upon us, 2017 is here, ready or not. We have a new president, a new cabinet, a new senator and new voices of hope and gloom. I hope we in Taneytown, are not to be counted among the voices of gloom. The cold winds of January are quickly fading only to welcome the snows of February (not too much I hope). With every new year comes
promise, promise for better days, promise for peace and health and prosperity. We claim these ideals because we are Americans and know that things like this are possible because we live in the best nation on earth. With all that is new let us always remember our new year is what we make it. If we choose peace and heath and prosperity we shall have it. God Bless the USA!
A new year, that is true, where does the time go. The holidays for the McCarron’s were super. The day after Christmas my family gathered on York Street for a grand celebration. As I get older I realize, it is these moments that mean the most. I hope you to have had a great holiday season. As the saying goes "Time waits for no man" and it has been a busy January (so far).
Last week I attended a Legislative Committee meeting of a Maryland Municipal League (MML) and then, together with the City of Annapolis, (e.g. MML & Annapolis) hosted a reception for the delegates and senators and staffers who were gathered for the opening of the legislative session. I have been privileged to serve on the MML L/C for many years. This is a group made up of municipal
representatives from all over the state and appointed by the MML president. The diversity that this represents assures that each issue presented gets a full hearing from many different points of view. Our primary focus, this year, as it has been for the past several years, is the restoration of Highway User Revenues (HURs) to the level traditionally granted municipalities and counties based on a
formula that dates back to the 1920’s. The previous administration "raided" this fund to help balance the budget back in the early days of the recession. These funds have not been restored. The fund is derived from gasoline taxes and other vehicle related fees and based on the road miles within our borders. The HUR’s that we receive (municipalities & counties) may only be used to maintain our
roads. It has been a long time since we have received adequate funds to properly address needed repairs. I know, driving around town I can find many roads requiring repair. Hopefully the general assembly will find a way to "make us whole" once again. We desperately need these funds. Important as the restoration of these funds are, an equally important role of the MML legislative committee is to
be on the lookout and help prevent "bad legislation", legislation that can adversely affect municipal citizens. It is remarkable to see so much well intended legislation come before us that truly could spell disaster for the states 157 municipalities. I ask that you let me know if you hear of a bill that may impact you. It may affect many others as well.
When I wrote in November, I wrote the day of our special election. Recall, a group of citizens called to referendum, a Charter Amendment Council passed that allowed them to remove a Councilperson from office for wrongdoing. The Charter Amendment was upheld by the majority of the citizens and our Charter now reflects the enabling new language. Thank you for your
participation in this election and thank you for your support.
In other Council news, January’s meeting was something special. We held our regular Council meeting (1/9) as usual, but students from Northwest Middle School formed a "Shadow Council" Each Councilperson as well as the City Manager and the Clerk had a student "shadow "them during the meeting. When a vote was to be made or seconded (prompted by the actual council person) the
"shadow councilperson would act. The young ladies who participated from NW Middle, did a super job and were provided a rich experience of how a City Council functions. One exercise I assigned to the Shadow Council was to discuss three issues of possible new amenities we may add to Taneytown. The issues debated were actual issues brought up by a citizen the Wednesday before, at our "workshop".
They were issues Council had discussed in the past but has not acted on. The issues were the 1) addition of a "dog park", 2) construction of an observatory, and 3) a splash park. After about fifteen minutes of discussion the group agreed that the observatory would be the most beneficial (and least costly). This discussion was very helpful to Council as we continue to talk about these things and
as we prepare for our 2018 budget. This was our first experience with a Shadow Council I think we may try it again. Special thanks to all who participated, especially the teacher/coordinator Mrs. Jennifer Moran.
We have a very busy rest of the winter ahead of us. I mentioned the upcoming budget process is upon us. Council’s annual retreat is scheduled for mid-February and City elections are on tap for May 1st. If you are interested in seeking one of the three available Council seats, this May, please contact our City clerk, Clara Kalman for all the details.
Now, for the history Question!
Congratulations to Alexandra Slovikosky for coming up with the correct answer l=for last issues History Question: What was the original name of the Carroll County Fair and when did it begin?
Answer: Maryland State Grange Fair, 1911
Now this issue’s: Question: Taneytown is the birthplace (although he grew up in Gettysburg) of a famous explorer and a co-founder of the National Geographic Society. Can you name this explorer and the year of his birth?
Be the first student to reply correctly to my e mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you will win a gift card and have your photo featured in the next issue of the Taneytown Record. Make sure you tell me what grade you are in and where you attend school. GOOD LUCK!