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Did Carroll County officials mislead citizens about strengthening the super majority to raise taxes?


NOTE: This is an article with facts on the topic as well as questions and opinions from The Observer about the super majority to raise taxes in Carroll County

If you have watched the Carroll County Board of Commissioner Open Session meetings recently (March 7th or March 14th) you might have noticed the discussions regarding the required super majority in order to raise taxes (in both “Priority Carroll” and “Administrative Session” parts of the meetings on those dates).

Back in January of 2023 Carroll County Government told the citizens of this county:

On Thursday, January 19, 2023, led by a motion by Commissioner Tom Gordon III, District 3, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a resolution requiring a vote of four Commissioners to repeal Resolution 815-2011. Resolution 815-2011, passed in 2011 by the 59th Board of Carroll County Commissioners, required a “super majority” of four commissioners voting in favor of any decision to raise taxes in Carroll County.

Until this vote, a simple majority of three commissioner votes could reverse or repeal the resolution requiring a super majority. The decision last week will now require the vote of at least four commissioners to reverse the super majority requirement to raise taxes.

After being told that information in 2023…here we are in 2024 and at the March 7th meeting it was implied (multiple times) that this could all be overturned with a simple majority vote (3 votes) in order to rescind that decision and then remove the super majority in order to raise taxes by a simple majority vote.

On March 14th it was stated that the Commissioners do have the ability to overturn the super majority resolution related to raising taxes with simple majority votes (stated in Administrative Session towards the end of the meeting – around the 3:31:15 mark of the video on the 14th).

The fact that the super majority can be overturned with a simple majority vote by the Commissioners, I personally can only look at this one of two ways:

  1. We were not told the truth in January 2023 (to put simply – we were lied to about what that resolution accomplished)
  2. We were not told the full story in January 2023 (to put simply – we got part of the story and not told that this can all be overturned in the future by simple majority vote…kind of a notable thing if that is the case. It also begs the question: What was the purpose of the vote in January 2023 if it did not REALLY “require the vote of at least four commissioners to reverse the super majority requirement to raise taxes”?)

I am not stating anyone (County Commissioners or County Government) intentionally mislead the citizens on this issue, but it is hard to have watched/heard/read what has happened in the past and then watched what happened in the past two Commissioner Open Session meetings and not feel like something is off.

I fully appreciate the open discussions of topics before the citizens of this county in the meetings held by our Commissioners. The discussions in public view are important to the citizens of this county.

I know some of the County Commissioners read what is written by this entity. While I understand this may seem overly critical of what is happening on this topic the hope is that they understand these are questions I have for them and I am betting others in the community (if and when they hear about it) may have similar questions.

It will not surprise me to hear the “everything on social media is garbage” type statements that we have heard in the past after this article is published and then shared to social media. It is always disappointing to hear that from our elected officials to citizens asking questions or providing feedback (yes, even negative feedback at times) on topics facing this county. This entity strives to provide information (and at times opinions) to our community. Articles written by The Observer are regularly shared to social media (see links below) and a times are also picked up by Google News and News Break to inform residents about local happenings.

One thing we know for sure is that this is going to be a difficult budget season for Carroll County Government and our County Commissioners. I will do my best to track what is happening in the upcoming budget meetings as well as statements made during Commissioner Open Session meetings (although reporting from The Observer is expected to decrease a bit while some of the discussions are going on this year – so far I still feel well enough to continue to write in the mornings).

If you also have questions for our Commissioners on this topic (or any other) I would recommend emailing them at commissioners@carrollcountymd.gov

If you have thoughts to share with the community, shoot me an email for a potential future article on this topic: news@carrollcountyobserver.com

You can find the Carroll County Observer on these social media platforms:

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