Less than six months ago, administrators from Cecil County Public Schools strolled into a County Council Meeting and urged the council to approve a $1,600,000.00 per year increase to their already bloated budget.
Photo from Cecil Whig Article published on 4/11/2017
CCPS Superintendent D’Ette Devine told the council that the increase was necessary in order for CCPS to continue to “tread water”…
…and threatened that without the extra funding, teachers would have to be fired.
Imagine our outrage after reading a Cecil Whig article published just days ago that reported that CCPS has an extra $6.4 million in their reserve fund and is looking for ways to spend it!
Why are we so angry?
For starters, you and I are paying higher property taxes and more income tax to fund the increase that CCPS was given to allow them to supposedly “tread water.”
And on top of that, you and I will be paying for the new one-million-plus dollar turf field at Perryville High for years to come as it is being paid for by taking out a long-term loan.
Both could – AND SHOULD have been paid for with funding already provided by hardworking taxpayers like you and me!
Are you as angry as we are?
If so, join Cecil County Campaign for Liberty in demanding that our County Council withhold any budget increases to CCPS during the next three budget cycles.
We’re calling on the Council to notify CCPS administrators that due to the recently announced taxpayer over-funding of $6.4 million, the surplus should be budgeted for future needs in lieu of taxpayer-funded increases.
Here’s how you can take action. Copy and paste the following message and send it to the Council and County Executive using the email addresses listed below.
Dear County Executive and County Councilors,
Due to the recent report that revealed that CCPS is looking for ways to spend $6.4 million of their unassigned fund balance, I urge you to publicly pledge to reject any requests for increased funding to CCPS over the next 3 years.
Furthermore, I request that you notify CCPS administrators that due to the large surplus that they have acquired due to taxpayer over-funding, they WILL NOT be receiving budget increases and should budget their surplus money accordingly.
It’s unconscionable to take any more money out of citizen’s budgets when CCPS has been over-compensated by Cecil County citizens.
Earlier this year, CCPS Superintendent Divine told this council that a $1.6 million budget increase was necessary in order for CCPS to continue to “tread water.” Six months later, we learn that “treading water” means a surplus of $6.4 million.
I feel betrayed by CCPS administrators, the County Executive, and those on the Council who supported dipping further into the taxpayer’s pockets to fund unnecessary increases to the CCPS budget.
Now’s your chance to redeem yourselves by pledging to withhold CCPS budget increases over the next 3 years.
The Cecil Whig is reporting that CCPS is already discussing how to spend the “extra” money.
One outrageous suggestion has been to build a $2,000,000.00 field house for Perryville High School.
CCPS Chief Financial Officer Tom Kappra shamefully suggested that the school system could use $1.2 million of it’s “extra” money and have the county pick up the tab for the additional $800,000 in construction costs!
Kappra and his crew are sitting on $6.4 million in over-funding and he thinks taxpayers should provide the additional $800k in funding?
Talk about being out of touch!
And while it’s easy to be infuriated by the lack of respect for taxpayer dollars that is exhibited by CCPS administrators…
… the real villains here are the politicians who control funding to Cecil County Public Schools.
Let’s remember that Councilors Joyce Bowlsbey, Dan Schneckenburger, George Patchell, and Bob Meffley all supported a tax-payer funded increase of $1.6 million to the CCPS budget during last year’s budget.
And they also supported the construction of a one million dollar turf field at Perryville High School.
Their support of increased, unnecessary funding directly resulted in the tax increases that you and I are coping with.
The County Council is entrusted with the responsibility of providing checks and balances to County Executive Alan McCarthy’s proposed budgets.
They failed miserably earlier this year by allowing increased funding to be awarded to CCPS while their unassigned fund balance was overflowing.
Please take a moment to contact them today and demand that they correct their mistake by refusing any CCPS budget increases during the next three years.
Days ago, Cecil County politicians saw first-hand that the public thinks that the county’s mandatory sewer connection policy stinks.
The “Ditch the Sewer Mandate!” protest drove that point home as a large group assembled outside of the county administration building before the start of the evening legislative meeting.
Many of those protesters also attended the meeting and voiced their opposition to the sewer policy during the public comment period.
Those who spoke made it known that they are outraged by the violation of private property rights and high costs associated with the policy.
I want to personally thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to attend this important event.
I’m also cautiously encouraged that we are making an impact.
Hours before the protest, the council made it known that they have received more than 500 emails demanding a change to the current sewer policy.
It was also revealed that a public hearing on the policy, which was supposed to happen sometime this month, has been postponed until the politicians get legal opinions on the policy.
During the council meeting that followed the protest, Maryland Campaign for Liberty State Coordinator Bob Willick chastized the council for not doing more to protect citizens property rights.
He specifically called on council members to do everything they can at the local level and to work with the Cecil Delegation at the state level.
Less than 24 hours later, The Cecil Whig reported that Delegate Hornberger is communicating with the County Council about introducing legislation to roll back sewer mandates.
However, not everyone is supportive of a rollback of sewer connection policies.
County Executive Alan McCarthy told The Whig that he would not support such legislation and categorized it as “preposterous.”
This should surprise no one as McCarthy recently released a statement saying that he believed government mandated sewer connections are “fair.”
McCarthy, who made a campaign contribution to former Governor Martin O’Malley, is now openly supporting policies that were put in place by the O’Malley administration.
So, while there is some encouraging news, it’s clear that we still have much to do to ensure that Cecil property owners are protected from sewer mandates.
Will our local politicians take real, meaningful action – or are they just blowing smoke?
It’s widely known that politicians will acknowledge citizen’s concerns, wait for the issue to die down, and then do nothing.
We can’t let that happen.
Here are two ways in which you can help us continue to turn the heat up until we get results:
You should also let him know that you are outraged that he is supporting the policies of Martin O’Malley which are harmful to residents of Cecil County.
We are far behind our goal of raising $1500.00 to use to combat this egregious example of government overreach.
Every dollar we raise will go directly to winning this battle.
And by winning, we will have drawn a line in the sand that no politician will want to cross any time soon.
Thank you for supporting our efforts in Cecil County.
Are you comfortable with allowing politicians to ram through legislation with less time for public input?
That’s exactly what the McCarthy Administration and some members of the County Council are hoping to achieve.
Enter Council President Joyce Bowlsbey, who days ago submitted legislation that would allow the council to rob the public of two weeks worth of time to voice their opinion on pending legislation.
Resolution 44-2017 would make it standard operating procedure for the council to vote “yea” or “nay” on bills moments after a public hearing has been held.
Currently, the public has two full weeks to lobby for or against legislation the after a public hearing has concluded.
But if Bowlsbey and company get their way, this will end very soon.
This isn’t the first time this type of power grab has been considered by our local politicians.
In 2015, Councilman Dan Schneckenburger called for allowing the council to vote on legislation immediately following public hearings.
Bowlsbey supported it then, along with Alan McCarthy who was at that time the Council Vice President.
However, public opposition forced the council to settle for an amendment that would allow them to introduce special “expedited” legislation is some circumstances.
But now it appears that the trio of Cecil Business Leaders for Better Government PAC backed politicians are taking another stab at acquiring more power.
Can any citizen feel confident that their concerns are being adequately considered by our council when they know that a final vote will take place moments later?
And how can council members research any issues that are brought up by their constituents if voting will take place the same evening?
If these politicians get their way, citizens will have no opportunity to listen to the speakers during public hearings, form their own educated opinion, and contact the council at a later time.
The proposal for post-hearing votes only leads us further in the direction of making it harder for citizens to have a voice in local government.
And since legislation can already be introduced with an “expedited” tag if time is of the essence, you have to ask yourself why there is a push to rush all future legislation.
I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to trust the same politicians that lied and promised to fight tax increases, only to stick it to us once in office.
Joyce Bowlsbey refused to reconvene the council to look for budget cuts that would prevent recent tax increases.
Now she is spearheading an attempt to cut you, the taxpayer, out of future conversations.
We cannot continue to allow politicians to shift the power away from citizens and into their own hands.
I urge you to take immediate action by picking up the phone and calling the County Council office to demand that Resolution 44-2017 be immediately withdrawn.
The Council will vote on this resolution on September 19th, so it is critical that they hear from you right now.
You and I can make a real difference by simply taking a moment to contact our local representatives and demand that they put our interests first.
We have had success in defeating bad legislation before and we can do it again – but only if you commit to taking action.
Thank you for your continued support of Cecil County Campaign for Liberty!
Like burger from a fast food joint that looks nothing like the advertised photo, Councilman Dan Schneckenburger’s “action” on mandatory sewer connections…
…falls far short of doing anything to protect county residents from the McCarthy Administration’s policy of forced sewer connections.
During last Tuesday’s council work session, Schneckenburger submitted a draft letter to other councilors…
…with the intent of “encouraging” County Executive Alan McCarthy to reconsider his policy of mandated sewer connections.
Sounds good right?
Schneckenburger is hoping you think so even though he is refusing to take real action to protect property owners.
You see, the County Council has received a legal opinion from their attorney which states that they can introduce legislation to change county code…
…and protect many property owners from the huge costs associated with the current county policy.
However, Schneckenburger told The Cecil Whig that he does not support using the legislative ability of the council to modify county code.
He compared changing county code to using a “nuclear option” and stated that the McCarthy administration has “every right to set policy.”
So instead of taking meaningful action, Schneckenburger wants to send a letter to the county executive recommending a policy change.
And of course, it’s unlikely that McCarthy will budge after he issued a press release supporting mandatory sewer connections and calling them “fair.”
Schneckenburger knows this but probably believes that uninformed citizens will believe that he is working for their best interests.
In other words, he is hoping that he can use his letter of recommendation as political cover while doing nothing.
Isn’t the first responsibility of government to protect the rights of citizens?
And shouldn’t every available means be used to protect the property rights of the public?
CecilCounty Campaign for Liberty believes that Dan Schneckenburger should stop playing political games and immediately introduce legislation to change county code.
Anything less is unacceptable.
Please take a moment of your time to call and email Dan Schneckenburger and demand that he gets serious…
…about protecting property owners from thousands of dollars in unnecessary sewer connection fees.
Schneckenburger’s “nothing burger” of a solution is exactly why it is so important that we double-down and turn out to the September 19th “Ditch the Sewer Mandate!” Rally and Protest.
Please mark your calendar and commit to attending.
September 19th, 6 P.M.
In front of the County Government Building
200 Chesapeake Blvd.,
Elkton, Maryland 21921
There are less than two weeks left until this rally takes place.
You can help us promote this event in order to increase attendance which will turn the heat up on our local elected officials.
Your contribution will be used to help us make a last minute push to rally citizens to come out and stand up for private property rights.
Our activists recently visited homes along Marley Road in Elkton (the first area that will be forced to connect to sewer lines) with flyers informing those residents…
…of the current sewer policy and inviting them to attend the September 19th rally.
No other organization in Cecil County is putting this kind of effort into protecting citizens from out-of-control government tyranny.
But without adequate funding, we can only do so much.
Thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the “Ditch the Sewer Mandate!” rally and protest.
All of the details have been finalized, now we need you to help us protect private property rights in Cecil County.
Please mark your calendar and commit to attending the:
September 19th, 6 P.M.
In front of the County Government Building
200 Chesapeake Blvd.,
Elkton, Maryland 21921
This event is a protest and rally to oppose the McCarthy Administration’s policy of forcing property owners with functioning septic systems to connect to the county sewer lines.
Property owners who are forced to connect will be charged a $6,000.00 connection fee by the county.
They will also be responsible for draining and filling their septic tank with stone and hiring a plumbing contractor to make necessary changes inside their homes.
County government may also institute a “benefit assessment fee” which could be as high a $8,000.00.
Total cost to property owners could easily reach a whopping $15,000.00!
Stand up for private property rights by attending this event.
We will gather outside of the Cecil County Government building for a peaceful protest of this mandatory sewer connection policy starting a 6 P.M.
Please bring a homemade sign that displays a message that you oppose forced sewer connections.
At 7 P.M., participants will be encouraged to enter the building and attend the County Council Meeting…
…and to sign up to speak in opposition of the mandatory connection policy during the public comment portion of the council meeting.
It is critical that we show up in large numbers to show our County Council that we demand that they take action to protect property owners from this anti-liberty policy.
Please make every effort to show up and stand against tyranny with fellow liberty activists.
Don’t wait, mark your calendar now and we’ll see you at 6 P.M. on September 19th!
The topic of the McCarthy Administration’s mandatory sewer connection policy was finally brought up for discussion during Tuesday’s council work session meeting.
This is a direct result of the hundreds of “Ditch the Sewer Mandate” emails that have flooded into the council from concerned citizens like you.
The majority of the County Council agreed to contact their attorney and ask for an opinion on how they could amend the current policy.
However, I want to be clear – the council has NOT committed to taking any action to protect property owners at this time.
They are merely investigating their options.
And while we are hopeful that action will be taken, we understand that we must double-down…
…and continue our efforts to prevent property owners from being forced to connect to county sewer lines at a huge personal cost.
Council members like Dan Schneckenburger and George Patchell have a history of promising to protect citizens, only to flip-flop later when it comes time to vote.
You and I have been successful in getting the ball rolling, but I can promise you that without continued pressure, it will come to a complete stop.
Cecil County Campaign for Liberty is in the beginning stages of organizing a protest of the current county policy requiring property owners to backfill their working septic system and then connect to county sewer lines.
I can’t stress this enough: we must have a large turnout to make this protest successful.
Low attendance will be seen by the politicians as an excuse to do little or nothing.
We need your help and a commitment to join with us in protecting private property rights.
Are you in?
After enough people have committed to attend, we’ll schedule the protest to take place at the County Administration building immediately before a council meeting.
We’ll also encourage liberty lovers like you to attend the council meeting following the protest and to speak in opposition of forced sewer connections.
And believe me, they need to hear from you on this issue.
While the council did agree to seek legal counsel on this matter, some of the discussion was still downright disturbing.
Councilman Meffley said that “free” connections should be considered.
Sounds great until you consider that property owners will still be forced to shell out thousands of dollars at their personal expense…
…to drain and fill their existing septic tanks and hire a plumbing contractor to make connections inside of their homes.
This is not an acceptable solution!
Councilwoman Gregory talked about possible incentives and amending the policy by removing connection deadlines.
However, this does nothing to address the “triggering events” that would still force property owners to connect.
And McCarthy administration representative Al Wein told the council that the administration believes that “adequate relief” was already given to property owners when connection fees were reduced to $6000.00.
This is why it is so important that you commit to keeping some of your limited time open to join us at the “Ditch the Sewer Mandate” protest.
A few years ago, rural property owners were stripped of their property rights under the tier map regulations.
Now big government has its sights set on controlling property owners in “growth corridors.”
Whose property rights will come under attack next?
As Founding Father John Dickinson wrote, “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Please share this information and encourage friends and family to sign up and attend the “Ditch the Sewer Mandate” protest.
Everyone who signs up will be notified of the exact time and date well in advance.
Thanks for your support!
In that letter, McCarthy characterized government forced connections as “fair” and “better for the environment.”
This letter was clearly a response to the hundreds of emails that citizens like you have flooded his and the county councilors’ offices with.
However, he still doesn’t get it – or he doesn’t care.
No reasonable person could ever describe forcing property owners to abandon their perfectly working septic systems and incurring thousands of dollars of expenses in order to connect to a county run sewer system as “fair.”
Even more outrageous is McCarthy’s assertion that the county policy will provide “flexibility” and “relief” to property owners who are subjected to this terrible mandate.
“Flexibility” infers that property owners will have a choice.
They must connect or face legal action from the county.
The only option that property owners in some cases have is when they connect.
And waiting to connect will surely cost property owners more as prices rise.
Don’t have the money to pay the $6,000.00 connection fee?
Here’s where McCarthy’s so-called “relief” comes in.
You see McCarthy proudly announced that property owners can utilize a county financing plan.
All you will have to do is put $2000.00 down and the remaining balance can be paid off over a 10 year period – with interest, of course.
Laughably, McCarthy notes that mandatory sewer connections eliminate future septic repair and pump-out costs but fails to mention the quarterly sewer user fees that will be charged to users.
He also fails to mention the thousands of dollars property owners will be forced to pay out to have their septic systems drained and filled with stone.
He also doesn’t mention the possible “user benefit fee” which could be as high as $8000.00 according to the chief of the public works dept.
And while McCarthy is painting a dishonest picture of just how burdensome this mandate is for property owners, the entire County Council has remained silent.
That’s right, not one member of the council has made any public statements on this subject, nor have they included any discussions on how to protect property owners in their meetings.
Cecil County Campaign for Liberty is committed to doing everything possible to shield property owners from this outrageous mandate, but we need your help.
Secondly, we need large numbers of people who are willing to join us in confronting the county council during a future meeting to demand action.
We’ll make an announcement of when we plan to do this in the future, but right now, we must continue to inform the public and grow our numbers.
Help us do that by sharing this information with everyone you know in Cecil County.
We’ll also be heading out into the areas that will be affected by this mandate first and we’ll be going door to door to organize resistance.
Stay tuned and be prepared to act.
A shocking audit of the financial management practices of Cecil County Public Schools has just been released by the Maryland Office of Legislative Audits.
Only weeks after huge tax increases were just levied on taxpayers like you and me, which were partially due to yet another huge increase to Cecil County Public Schools…
…this audit of CCPS shows serious examples of wasted taxpayer dollars.
The audit contains eleven findings that resulted in millions of taxpayer-funded dollars being wasted.
One finding astonishingly identified that CCPS over paid bus contractors by a whopping $7.8 million because of a faulty methodology for determining payments.
But that’s not the only issue they found with CCPS transportation.
The audit also discovered that CCPS did not exclude federal fuel excise taxes from payments to bus
This resulted in an overpayment of $379,000.00 to bus contractors from 2011-2015.
To make matters worse, it was discovered that inefficient bus routes resulted in some bus routes operating at less than 50% of the target capacity.
In other words, more buses are in use than need to be, wasting taxpayers money.
I don’t know about you, but I’m outraged that my property tax bill just went up so that CCPS could be awarded an increase of $1.7 million in this year’s budget…
…especially when they are clearly not being good stewards of our tax dollars.
Another finding highlighted the fact that CCPS frequently did not make use of a competitive procurement process including…
…entering into a $14.1 million purchasing agreement with a solar energy provider
Because of this, CCPS entered into a purchasing agreement which resulted in higher costs than other government entities paid for similar services.
You’d think that with all of the high paid administrators that are employed by CCPS, someone would be shopping for the best price for services.
This audit concludes that they were not.
There were many other issues that were discovered by the audit, including:
- Risks of unauthorized vendor payments.
- Open wi-fi allowing anyone in the vicinity to access the CCPS data center.
- Sloppy accounting practices that could result in unauthorized disbursements being processed without detection.
- CCPS did not assess the benefits of using intergovernmental cooperative
purchasing agreements (ICPA) as required by State law, which could have provided cost benefits.
This audit is a prime example of why Maryland Campaign for Liberty has been fighting against increased government spending and higher taxes and fees.
If you have been following our work here in Cecil County, you know that every year, CCPS demands more and more of our hard-earned money.
And the politicians willingly hand it over like clockwork.
This year was no different as Councilors Bowlsbey, Patchell, Schneckenburger, and Meffley opposed funding CCPS at the more than adequate level of last year…
…and instead vocally supported raising CCPS funding to record levels.
Equally outrageous is the fact that legislation recently introduced on behalf of Executive McCarthy…
…seeks to borrow money to pay for the installation of the first of many artificial turf fields at local schools.
That’s right, the county will borrow money and pay interest to fund a turf field while CCPS is throwing millions of dollars down the drain!
Now, more than ever, we must stand together and oppose out-of-control government spending.
In just a few short months, County Executive Alan Mccarthy will begin to work on the FY2019 budget.
The waste of millions of dollars by CCPS is proof that throwing money at government departments is not the answer.
Please share this information with Cecil County friends and family.
Thank you for helping to defend liberty!
As if his 5% property tax increase and 7% income tax increase wasn’t enough, County Executive Alan McCarthy wants even more of your hard earned money.
And it’s no small amount.
We’re talking about an estimated $18,000.00 worth of fees that will be imposed on homeowners who are victimized by a new push…
…to force homeowners to connect to current and future county sewer lines.
Here’s what we know:
McCarthy has instructed his Director of Public Works to begin enforcing a policy requiring any home on a septic system, even if the septic is working perfectly fine…
…to hook up to public sewer where available now, and where available in the future, at a cost of a whopping $6,000.00!
The fee for sewer connections was just lowered from $12,000.00 to $6,000.00, but this lower connection fee is only in place for two years.
Who knows what homeowners will be required to pay if they are unable to afford the cost of mandatory connections during this temporary fee reduction period.
And if sewer lines are run in your community after this two year period, you too will potentially be paying a lot more when the bureaucrats notify you of your obligation to connect.
However, the actual connection fee isn’t the only huge expense to the home owner.
The McCarthy Administration is also requiring that your septic system is drained, have holes drilled in the bottom, and be filled with gravel at the owner’s expense.
Homeowners will also be responsible for hiring a plumbing contractor to do any necessary rerouting of indoor pipes.
And to add insult to injury, Scott Flanigan, Director of Public Works, told the Cecil Whig that the county could implement a “benefit assessment fee” that could add another $8,000.00 to the cost!
Flanigan reported to the County Council that the total cost per home to do this would be around $18,000.00 and that the County WILL force the homeowner to pay for this.
You paid $10,000 to $20,000 for your working septic system but now the County will force you to pay for their sewer system…to benefit who?
Not currently close to a sewer line? Feeling safe??
Don’t, because the sewer system is expanding rapidly to areas far and near within the County. No one is safe from the expansion and this mandate.
We must act now and demand that the County Council take action to prevent this egregious government overreach.
The first step is to contact the council so that they are aware of the growing opposition to mandated sewer connections.
We’ve made this first step incredibly easy for you.
The County Council has an obligation to protect our property rights and defend the citizens of Cecil County from an out of control Executive who is happy to spend YOUR money!
By contacting them with our easy form email tool, they’ll know that large numbers of their constituents are watching and expecting them to take immediate action.
Cecil County Campaign for Liberty will be monitoring developments on this issue as they develop…
… and we’ll be ready as always to fight to protect the liberty of Cecil County citizens.
We’ll continue to keep you updated and informed about the Council’s actions and important public hearing as they are announced.