Wicomico County Executive Cannot Fulfill Costly Budget Requests - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wicomico County Executive Says He Cannot Fulfill Costly Budget Requests

Posted: Mar 22, 2018 10:42 PM Updated:

SALISBURY, Md.- Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver says there's no magic wand that would allow him to fulfill millions of dollars in budget requests for 2019. 

The Wicomico County Board of Education is requesting the county to fully fund its budget request of $7.9 million for various expenses. Culver says even with local income taxes increasing this year, that amount of money just isn't possible. 

"I can't do it, there's no way, no matter what I pull there's no magic wand that I can make that work," Culver said. 

He says he would have to increase taxes for every county household in order to honor that request.

"To just do what the Board of Education would like and be able to pay for it in the next two years I would have to raise taxes in Wicomico County by over 12-13 cents per $100 and that's just not gonna fly," Culver said. 

At Culver's budget hearing on Thursday night he explained that the county's expenses have also increased this year, so the budget is already tight.  Public school teachers stood in front of the executive and his staff requesting that he fund the full budget Superintendent Donna Hanlin requested.  Educators expressed their feelings that they are overworked and underpaid. 

"Education is an investment of the future and happy teachers are good teachers," Wicomico High School teacher Harry Suber said. 

Teachers were joined by officers with the Wicomico Department of Corrections in their request for salary increases.  Both groups of professionals say their jobs are dangerous and more rigorous than ever before. Culver says he supports those fields, but doesn't have the means to financially support these requests.

Culver says with Wicomico County being largely farm-based, it is limited in how much revenue it can gain. 

"Wicomico County is one of the top arigultural communities in the state. If we want to stop that and start building houses than we could have a higher tax base," Culver said. 

Once the County Executive puts his final budget together, it will be presented to the County Council for the ultimate approval in Wicomico County. 

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