I was very pleased to be a guest at last night’s meeting of the East Silver Spring Citizens Association’s meeting at the Sligo Creek Recreation Center in Silver Spring. I was impressed at the very large turnout of community members on a stormy night, and we appreciated the wonderful food and drinks provided.
I talked at length about the difficult budget decisions that the County Council must make before we approve a FY11 Operating Budget. These decisions regarding possible new sources of revenues and severe program cuts will have wide-ranging impacts on the future form of our County government and the services that it provides to our residents and businesses.
There are no easy decisions in this process. We are considering increased energy taxes, an emergency transport fee, employee furloughs, limits on compensation and benefits for County employees, and additional cuts in education, health and human services, public works, and other important services. I said that our responsibility as a County Council and as a community is to develop consensus around a budget that is balanced in the short term and sustainable in the long term, a budget that maintains our commitment to public safety, education and assistance to the most vulnerable. We will make these decisions in the next few days.
With regard to Silver Spring issues, I reiterated my support for the new Silver Spring Library, the Live Nation/Fillmore project, and greater attention to the public infrastructure, especially roads, that serve the community.
I enjoyed the very lively question and answer period that followed my remarks. We discussed the County’s bond rating, our reserve policy, support of Montgomery County Public Schools, and issues related to the Emergency Transport fee.
Many thanks to President Bob Colvin and the members of the East Silver Spring Citizens Association for their very warm welcome. I appreciated it.