Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Open Forum: I thought money was tight in Sykesville

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Most working stiffs might have received a raise this year of 4 percent to 6 percent.

Two Sykesville positions, town manager and police chief, received a whopping 17 percent increase. Each position also received an 18-month severance package.

This sweet deal was proposed by Mayor Jonathan Herman, and approved by council members Debby Ellis, Jeannie Nichols, and Eugene Johnson. The proposal was debated in closed session.

Wait a minute, I thought Sykesville is having money problems, a fiscal crisis, and in great need of road repairs.

Last year, the papers contained article after article of Town Council propaganda expressing our grave financial crisis. Has something changed?

The mayor and council members who voted for this proposal do not seem to understand the concept ‘‘serve your constituents,” and continue to implement irresponsible monetary policies.

What could be the motivation behind such a lucrative salary increase and severance package?

My guess is that there is only 16 months left until the 2009 election, and there is a good chance that the mayor and incumbent council members will get the boot.

That event would leave the mayor’s appointed buddies at risk of losing their jobs. So, why not give your appointees a fat raise and 1 1⁄2 years of full pay while they find another job?

Sykesville residents have been diligent in combating these foolish policies. In 2006, residents stopped a proposed tax increase approved by the council. In 2007, the three council incumbents lost the election to a group whose campaign was based on fiscal responsibility.

The mayor and remaining council members just don’t ‘‘get it.” My concern is that the continued proposals⁄policies of this mayor and council will do greater damage to the town’s finances in the near future.

Here are some facts:

* Sykesville is the highest taxed town in Carroll County excluding Westminster.

* The state has funded Sykesville with more than enough money to handle road repairs. Check the budget. The town does not allocate this money to road repair, thus our current road situation.

* The town manager has received raises every year, with the past three being 10 percent, 6 percent, and 3 percent. The 3 percent raise was just given in the 2007⁄2008 budget.

Wake up, Sykesville! A group called the Sykesville Action Committee created the petition to stop the 2006 tax increase, and supported the new council members in the 2007 election.

The problem is not lack of money; it’s people.

Michael Miller, Sykesville