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The stand out moment in the Carroll County Commissioners joint meeting with ESAC on February 22nd

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Carroll County Commissioners held a joint meeting with the Emergency Service Advisory Council (ESAC) on February 22nd. A significant part of this meeting was budget related. Specifically about 84 new positions for Fire and Emergency Services for the upcoming budget (FY25) for staffing “the seven remaining fire stations” throughout the county.

There was a moment (or 4+ minutes) of the meeting that stands out as a significant back and forth between the groups (primarily between Commissioner Kenny Kiler and Susan Mott – President of Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association). You can view that interaction here:

Here is a transcription of that interaction (mostly automated – so I apologize for any misspellings or missed words) that begins around the 15:53 mark of the video (see link for full video below)

Susan Mott: Commissioner Kiler, I have a question directly to you.

Commissioner Kiler: You will have to say it a little louder.

Susan Mott: I do remember that. I apologize. So you are saying that possibly we should consider reducing our area of coverage, reducing our staffing. And my question to you is if it is your family member that is going to be impacted by that, understanding that people in the fire service are doing this because they care about every single person in this county.

Commissioner Kiler: Let me stop you. That’s totally irrational.

Susan Mott: Is it?

Commissioner Kiler: Let’s let’s hire 2,000 people so there’s somebody sitting at my front door. I mean you know it’s it’s yeah I don’t want to hear that it wasn’t your family member. I care about every citizen in Carroll County and and and yes I stood in an accident at Manchester Road in 27, and an off-duty policeman came, an off-duty policeman came, an off-duty paramedic came. We had a guy with chest pains, and we were trying to deal with it, and then an ambulance showed up. Would I have preferred the ambulance been 10 minutes sooner? Yes. Now, maybe they were on another call, maybe whatever, but I really don’t want to hear what if it isn’t my family member. That’s totally irrational. I mean, what if it was your family member? I still, I don’t want anybody to die. And I get sensitive about it. I heard the same garbage when we put kids in schools. Was I going to pay for funerals? Sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions. And I understand, but all I’m saying is there’s no way without 84 on top of 150, that life’s not going to be at risk. And I guess I’ll ask you a question. We fund this 84. Hell I donate a million? You’re going to guarantee my family member is going to be saved. That’s a guarantee with 84 people.

Susan Mott: There is no guarantee in life.

Commissioner Kiler: It’s totally irrational.

Susan Mott: That’s fine. I won’t argue that with you.

Commissioner Kiler: Yeah, that’s tough. If we can’t talk facts, we shouldn’t talk. I can’t hear you.

Susan Mott: I said do all the other commissioners agree with you?

Commissioner Kiler: I have no idea. I said I’m one Commissioner. I don’t know.

Susan Mott: Well I am asking.

Commissioner Kiler: Maybe one of those. Do you guys have 20 million?

Commissioner Vigliotti: Before the conversation goes off a little bit more, we do want to stick to the agenda. What Commissioner Kiler, I believe, is talking about is that we are facing budgetary constraints and we have to be open to all different potentialities that may come with that. As he said up here, he’s not saying you will or you won’t or whatever the case may be. He’s trying to engage in an honest conversation because we really do have serious fiscal constraints. He is very clear that he doesn’t want anybody to die. He doesn’t want anybody to suffer. None of us do. But the reason why he brings it up is because, you know, there’s only so much we can do to overcome a $20 million deficit starting off fiscal year 25. And he’s not saying that to berate anybody or to throw anybody under the bus. It’s just the reality of the situation is that we have a $20 million deficit that we are attempting to overcome. And that, as Mr. Baker said, that certainly exceeds to the difficulties of coming up with a budget I did it for nine and a half years in the city of Taneytown it’s it’s you know you have to find ways to prioritize where you can and part of the reason for this meeting today is for us to understand the case for the 84 we’re not making a decision about anything today we really want to understand where you’re coming at us from with the reasoning for needing all 84.

(end of transcript of the 4+ minute video clip above)

I highly recommend watching the full meeting (when you have a free 50 minutes of time to watch it all). You can watch the full meeting here on the Carroll County Government YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qse9AMdf8E4

A little history of staffing of Fire and Emergency Services per Carroll County Government budget documents (and verified with the Carroll County Government Budget Office):

  • FY21: 2 funded positions
  • FY22: 55.13 funded positions
  • FY23: 94 funded positions
  • FY24: 157 funded positions

What happens in FY25 is yet to be determined but there is likely to be further increases in staffing this upcoming year for Fire and Emergency Services in Carroll County.

Why share this information? It is very possible that this is not the last interaction like what we saw happen on the 22nd to happen during budget discussions this fiscal year. The FY25 budget discussions may be as interesting as we have seen in many years (talks of a $20 million budget deficit at this point is bound to have some interesting or intense discussions during the budget process). You can view the schedule of upcoming budget meetings on the Carroll County Government website: https://www.carrollcountymd.gov/government/directory/management-budget/bureau-of-budget/


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