Thanks to the CC Chamber, the business community, and the Carroll Arts Center for a successful State of the County event on January 9th. Each Commissioner was able to speak about so many great things in our county. I am so proud to serve the citizens of Carroll County for my 4th year, again with no personal agendas, just a desire for life in Carroll to be the BEST for all of us.
Good morning and Happy New Year. It remains my distinct privilege and honor to address all of you as your District 1 County Commissioner. Time has certainly flown by as we are well underway serving our 4th year in office. It is easy to find successes when speaking of the state of our county, as Carroll is arguably the best in most categories. To what can we attribute these successes that we enjoy as a county, and as your commissioners? Look around this room and think about all that you as leaders and citizens in this great County have and continue to accomplish. This community makes my job easier in so many ways as our communities work together to make this a place which works in a way that makes other counties want to emulate us. When we talk with colleagues across the State, we know that in many areas of the way we function, we don’t raise the bar, we are the bar. Each of last 3 years I have concentrated on the three E’s – Education, Economic Growth and Emergency Service and Public Safety, the core which continues to drive our decision making.
I am proud that we have one of the best school systems in the state. Our attendance and graduation rates remain the best. Our students perform better than many of their peers across the state. I have many family members working for our great school system. I have visited and watched staff at many schools performing their duties. Teachers and staff work long days and give countless hours of their own time, to assure student success. We are the best because of these dedicated employees. With all our financial realities, we are proud to provide consistent adequate funding for education and hope that our school system utilizes our funding in the most efficient manner, including compensating their hardworking employees as deserved. We continue to monitor the Kirwin Commission in hopes of revitalized funding formulas. We are depending on our local elected legislators to bring increased funding for education to our county. Our plans are in motion to repurpose two schools, including a new Community Center in my district.
Economic Growth is a driving force for success not only in Carroll but across the state. We have the best Economic Development Director and staff. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates. We are Number 1 when it comes to new light manufacturing companies opening and expanding. An example is the 140,000 square foot expansion of Evapco in my district, with 125 new employees, and a $20 million dollar capital investment. We have the best Business and Employment Resource Center in the state. BERC is aligning workforce and economic development strategies to match businesses with skilled workers, including a new youth program which is consistently successful. Business growth is critical for revenue that assures no need for increased citizen tax burdens. Sound financial practices with a multi-year balanced budget remains a county priority. Why are we the best? Look around! Business leaders, county staff, non- profits, educators, and the list goes on. Your successes make our County successful. I have made it a priority to spend lots of time in our communities and I know your value well.
We have the best volunteer fire and emergency services system, and public safety departments. With 42 years of experience in this field, I know the safety of our citizens must be a high priority. Carroll remains one of the safest communities in the state. Our law enforcement consists of the best Sheriff, and municipality departments utilizing the most proactive community policing efforts anywhere. I serve on the Opioid Senior Policy Group, and while the opioid numbers remain challenging, the interagency collaboration between Carroll Hospital Center, CCHD, States Attorney, Law enforcement, Citizen Services and Access Carroll is making a difference, with improvements in education, treatment, and enforcement, preventing our numbers from being far worse. While many jurisdictions struggle with the financial weight of a fully paid fire service, we continue to support those who spend countless volunteer hours protecting us. We increased the monthly allotment of the Length of Service Awards Program, and we anticipate enabling legislation to begin work on a creatively designed combination system to ensure the hubs of our communities remain for years to come.
In 2017 :
- Carroll County Law enforcement 61,453 average 168 calls per day
- Fire and EMS 20,941 average 58 calls per day
- Our 911 Center 82,934 average 226 calls per day
***ALL OF OUR PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL FIRE AND EMS PLEASE STAND FOR WELL DESERVED RECOGNITION
Tomorrow begins the 2018 Legislative session. Critical to our efforts is the best legislative liaison. I am honored to have played a role in bringing a familiar face to that role. It is exciting to introduce Mike Fowler. A person with legislative experience who will expertly fill this role. Mike – Welcome. Finally, Elections will contribute to new faces on this stage next year. I have used, best, many times this morning and attribute our success to the manner in which the five of us have worked together. To my colleagues – Thank You.