Election 2018: A Spy goes to Queen Anne’s County to Meet Barry Donadio

Share

This Election 2018 profile is the first of a six-part series on the intricate makeup and character of the 1st Congressional District of Maryland. Each month, the Spy will be interviewing different 1st District residents from Carroll County to the Lower Shore, both Democrats and Republicans, to discuss their unique sub-region of one of the largest congressional districts in the country, and the issues and political climate of those communities.

The Spy continues with a conversation with Republican Barry Donadio from Queen Anne’s County. Like many residents of western Queen Anne’s, Barry commuted across the Bay Bridge from his home in Chester for more than a decade as part of the Secret Service assigned to protect both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. After retiring in 2013, he quickly signed up as a volunteer for the GOP in QAC and eventually ran and won a seat on the county’s Republican Central Committee the following year.

In his Spy interest, Barry talks about his conservative positions, his support of both President Trump and Congressman Andy Harris, as well as his political analysis that the factors that drove many Queen Anne’s Democrats to vote Republican in 2016 still holds true in 2018.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. Barry Donadio is currently running for a seat on the Queen Anne’s County Commission.

Commissioners Enact FY2019 Budget; Residents Criticize School Funding

Share

Kent County Commissioners Ron Fithian, William Pickrum and Billy Short listen to a report by County Administrator Shelley Herman at their June 12 meeting.

The Kent County Commissioners, meeting Tuesday, June 12, passed the FY 2019 county budget by a unanimous vote.

There was no discussion before the vote, and there were no adjustments to the budget as presented at the previous week’s meeting, despite considerable public criticism of the allocation for public education – both at the June 5 meeting and in 93 pages of written comments submitted to the commissioners. The budget leaves the county’s property tax rate unchanged at $1.022 per $100 of assessed value. The income tax rate is 2.85 percent, also unchanged from last year.

At the end of the meeting, when the commissioners opened the floor for public comment, several audience members came forward to express their disappointment that the budget fell short of the school district’s request for funding.

First to speak was Robbi Behr of Chestertown, representing the Support Our Schools group. She began by addressing remarks by Commissioner Ron Fithian at the June 5 meeting, when he stated that the SOS group’s efforts had been choreographed by some outside group, and implied that the mothers who organized the group didn’t have the skills to organize a FaceBook campaign. Behr summarized the credentials of the founding group, who are “smart and capable women who can do these sorts of things all by ourselves.” She also addressed Commissioner Billy Short’s characterization of the group as “rude” after she and some others walked out of the June 5 meeting and for allowing “a censored swear word” to appear on their FaceBook page.

Behr apologized, saying, “We were rude. But we’ve been hammering at this for two years and your response has consistently been and continues to be that we’re too stupid to understand this stuff so we need to sit down and be quiet.” She said that misogyny frequently characterizes the commissioners’ remarks. However, she said, the focus should be on “addressing the myriad problems this county has at hand, from flat-lining revenues to the opioid crisis to the hospital to emergency services and so on.” If the commissioners had listened to the SOS group’s ideas about marketing the county and its schools to families and serving the families who are already here, “We wouldn’t be here wasting everyone’s time,” she said. “We would be working together, doing good for this county.”

Behr noted that none of the commissioners had, “as far as I can tell,” responded to Rock Hall Elementary School Principal Kris Hemstetter’s plea for them to visit the school and see the problems for themselves. She said the commissioners should take up the challenge and visit all the county’s schools and see the ways they could help the teachers and administrators improve them. “It’s too late to revisit your budget now, but it’s not too late to actually support our teachers and schools,” she said.

Commission President William Pickrum responded to Behr, correcting her statement that he doesn’t use FaceBook and noting that he is professionally involved with internet and IT. He said he had offered Behr the opportunity to review and make suggestions on the whole county budget. “Every citizen has that opportunity,” he said. He said the commissioners struggle every year “to balance the needs and desires of the citizens of this jurisdiction.” Government, unlike business, exists to deliver services to its citizens, not out to make a profit. He said the county had been unable to meet the requests of many of the nongovernmental organizations that asked for funding this year. Pickrum noted that the county roads were considered by the State Highway Administration to be some of the best in the state, even though the county lost some 90 percent of its funding for road maintenance. “We do the best we know how, we do listen,” he said. He cited examples of the county adopting ideas from other jurisdictions to improve services and efficiency. He said the commissioners are here to try to satisfy everyone, “but because of the financial realities, that may not be possible.”

Carla Massoni of the Greater Chestertown Initiative distributed copies of a Baltimore Sun article, “Education Status Quo Unacceptable in Maryland,” which summarizes the conclusions of the Thornton Commmission and the Kirwan Commission, both of which addressed the condition of Maryland’s schools. Massoni said it was time to “move on,” with the budget set for the next fiscal year and SOS intent on continuing its efforts on behalf of the school system. She cited a speech by Trish McGee, president of the Board of Education, saying that the board will continue to work to make the schools successful, and praised Superintendent of Education Karen Couch for “giving her all.”

“There are some things I think we can do,” Massoni said. She noted that the article she distributed encouraged people to reach out to gubernatorial candidates to see if they commit to support the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission. She asked the commissioners “to take a leadership role in making Kent County schools the best schools in the state of Maryland.” She said it would require them to take an active role in the state, using their influence and connections to push state officials into fuller support for local schools. “There is a great deal you can do to take a leadership role,” she said, encouraging them to “share the story” of what county schools have accomplished and what they still need to reach their potential.

Darran Tilghman of Chestertown asked the commissioners to try to harness the energy the community had shown in support of the schools. She asked them to be reasonable, for example in resisting the temptation to accuse the schools of “playing a shell game” with their funding. She said the commissioners need to take ownership of the fact that the county’s contribution to the education budget is among the lowest in the state, measured as a percentage of the overall budget. And she asked them to visit the schools to have a clearer idea what the needs are. “Please let’s keep talking, let’s keep moving forward,” she concluded.

Jennnifer Baker, president of the Downtown Chestertown Association, said she had attended the Board of Education meeting the previous evening, where she learned “just how desperate the situation is over the next several years.” She said it’s necessary to start planning aggressively to bring the schools up to potential. She said businesses in the county are having trouble finding qualified staff, which affects the likelihood that other new businesses will locate here. To attract “the next Dixon and LaMotte,” she said, the county needs to think about how it markets and recruits new businesses. She said her decision to locate to Chestertown and open a business here was a result of the town’s having a comprehensive strategy and plan to attract businesses. “It had strategies that let us know that it was working really hard at being something incredibly great.” She said the county has similar assets, and with a coordinated effort it ought to be able to take the next step.

Pickrum thanked everyone for their comments. He said the commissioners had always worked to make the county the best it can be. He said when he is in other areas, he always praised the Kent County school system as “the best not only in Maryland but on the East Coast.” He said citizens sometimes misinterpret the commissioners’ questions of the schools as hostile, whereas it is a necessary part of governing. “We have to look at things with a critical eye. It does not mean that any one of us is opposed to that entity. But we have to ask those critical questions to ensure that your dollars – and my dollars, too – are spent appropriately by every particular governmental organization.” He said he believes that the county’s educational staff is the best around, and expressed the wish that they were better paid. “I think it’s a shame that we do not value, as a society, our educators,” noting that many teachers have to pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets and that they work many hours after school. “But that said, it is incumbent upon our elected school board to allocate the funds they have available to get the best bang for the buck,” he said. “Personally, I think you pay the people first – but that’s not my job. That’s the school board’s job.”

###

 

 

 

 

Kent 4-H Clover Kids “Bite into Beef” June 16

Share

Want to visit a farm and get to pet baby beef calves? This is the session for you as we Bite into Beef for the next Kent 4-H Clover Kids program. This event will be on June 16th, 9:00 am to 11:00 am, at the Hill Haven Farm, Kennedyville.

Hill Haven family farm has a herd of beef cattle you can view and several beef calves that you visit and pet. We will learn how cattle are raised and how to take care of them, what they eat and the what adaptation makes them special (ruminents). We will also learn about large animal safety. We will of course eat some beef – beef jerky.

If this sounds like fun, sign up by Thursday June 14th. All youth ages 5-7 years are welcome with a parent or guardian. Program is limited to 15 youth.

Register by calling 410-778-1661. For more information contact Beth Hill at emshill@umd.edu.

Made possible through a Maryland 4-H Foundation Mini Grant.

2018 Upcoming Kent 4-H Clover Kids Programs

Fun at the Fair! July 19th, 10:30 am, Kent County Fair

Night at Ag Center, Aug. 24th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Kent Ag Center

All About Corn (Make Tortillas), Sept. 30th, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Farm

Pumpkins & Squash! Oct. 20th, 9:00 – 11:00 am

The University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Spy Eye: GOP Candidates for County Commission Speak in League Forum

Share

Five Republican candidates for seats as Kent County Commissioner met Monday night at a League of Women Voters forum. The event, at the Kent County Public Library in Chestertown, drew a full house.

On hand for the debate were incumbent Commissioner Billy Short and new candidates Aaron Bramble, Bob Jacob, Jim Luff and Tom Mason. They are contending for three slots on the Republican slate in the November election, to be decided in the June 26 primary. The top three winners of the primary will appear as Republican candidates on the November ballot. Only three candidates have declared as Democrats, so that party’s November slate is essentially set.

Following a brief introduction by League moderator Lynn Dolinger, the candidates gave opening statements outlining their backgrounds and qualifications for the office. The order in which they spoke was chosen by lot.

Short emphasized his experience as a commissioner, noting that he has been in office six years. During his term, the county has kept the tax rate unchanged while balancing the budget every year and reducing debt service, he said. It has supported the public schools, kept the hospital in the community, supported the creation of the Chestertown Arts & Entertainment district and encouraged job creation by establishing the Enterprise zone and the county-wide fiber-optic network.

Mason said he is a farmer, a graduate of the University of Maryland who moved to Kent County in 1971 and has run a 1,500-acre dairy farm near Kennedyville since 1977. He is a state director of the Maryland Farm Bureau. His four children all attended county public schools.

Jacob, who was born and raised in Rock Hall, graduated from Kent County High School. He has lived in Galena and now lives and runs his business, Chesapeake CNC Manufacturing, with 25 employees, near Worton. He said the company, which he began in his garage, now has metal components on orbiting satellites. He said he would encourage ways to attract new residents as a way to raise county revenues and support the schools.

Luff, who lives near Chestertown, has experience in business management and administration. As a member of the county’s Economic Development Commission, he said he has the skills, experience and drive to move the county forward. Education and economic development are closely related, he said. He favors attracting business to invest in the county, bringing in new families to expand the tax base. He also sees transportation and retention of the hospital as key issues.

Bramble attended Washington College, with a degree in economics, and now manages the Tolchester Marina, which his family owns. He is also a member of the Economic Development Commission. He said his goal is to fight the image of “Can’t County,” which sees the county government as hostile to change and new business. He would favor reducing regulations that deter new business, taking a proactive approach to building the economy.

The candidates were then given the first of two set questions, which the League gave them in advance. The question noted that Kent County has very little accessible public transportation, and asked what they would do to address the problem.

Short said there are actually a number of available options, but the public is either unaware of them or unwilling to use them. He mentioned Delmarva Community Transit, Key Lime Taxi, and HomePorts’ ride service to take seniors to medical appointments. He said the commissioners were open to supporting those services if they applied for support during the budget negotiations.

Mason said the county is very rural with a limited population and can’t fund commercial transit systems. He supports DCT, which he said faces challenges because people don’t use it enough. He said a “neighborly” approach, in which residents made the effort to help out those they knew needed rides to do shopping or other errands, would solve many of the problems.

Jacob said the situation is challenging because a number of people can’t drive or can’t afford a vehicle. He said DCT is the only current provider, and that the problem is endemic to the Eastern Shore as a whole. He said he would look for ways to upgrade DCT, including making some of the routes shorter so residents would not have to spend more time than the can afford getting to and from their appointments.

Bramble said government can’t sustain a public transit system, but suggested a public/private partnership with government subsidy might be able to fill the need. He said a car service on the model of Uber or Lyft might help expand the options.

The second League question focused on the county’s low rank in positive outcomes for patients fighting substance abuse, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and mental health issues. It asked what efforts the candidates would support to help citizens get the care they need and how they would recommend paying for them.

Bramble said he hoped to keep the hospital open – “it needs to be full service.” He said it might be time to find a new owner for the hospital who would commit to serving the community’s needs. He said it was also important to upgrade EMS services in the county.

Luff said it was important to keep an “in-bed hospital” – “it’s always been there for the public,” he said. He said legislation and possibly a new owner might be needed to ensure its continued service. He cited a United Way study of the community’s health care needs that addressed the issues. “We need to work with them and capitalize on what we have,” he concluded.

Jacob said the state’s Rural Health Care Commission had identified issues of health care on the Shore. He said Shore Regional Health is promoting wellness programs that should benefit residents and reduce the need for acute care. He said the county commissioners should collaborate with them to promote the programs, but the overall issue is more a state problem than a county one.

Mason agreed that it’s necessary to keep the hospital here. He said addiction and mental health issues were significant on the Shore. He said the schools were the first place to address the problem by giving young people accurate information on health issues. He said he was disturbed that a medical marijuana dispensary has opened in the county, saying that studies show that marijuana is addictive, causes brain damage, and leads to abuse of other drugs. He said he supports the county Health Department’s efforts.

Short said he had worked with state Sen. Middleton and local advocates on the Rural Health Care Commission to save the hospital. He said keeping the hospital in the community would also affect the health of the schools, Washington College, and local businesses. He said the effort to save the hospital was just one of the “big fights” that local government had to engage in to keep the community alive. He also noted that the county’s fiber-optic initiative will help make the delivery of health care more efficient.

A series of audience questions followed. The first asked whether the candidates would support an independent third-party audit of its finances and procedures to see whether they could be made more efficient. Bramble, Jacob, Mason, and Luff all said that they would agree in principle, with Jacob noting that every business owner tries to examine efficiencies on a daily basis. Luff said that government can benefit from business-like practices to identify ways to cut waste. Mason said the auditing entity would “need to know what it’s looking at.”

Short said the county does an excellent job of addressing efficiency, noting measures the commissioners have taken to save money, such as their decision to lease county vehicles rather than purchase them outright.

Robbi Behr, who has been active in the Support Our Schools group, said she was unwilling to vote for any incumbent commissioner because of their decisions on the school budget. She asked the others what they would do to encourage young families to support them.

Bramble said the declining population created a form of recession for the county’s economy. He said the schools were one of the most important parts of the county budget, and that it should be possible to fund them fully by increasing efficiency. He said the financial officers for the county and the school system should sit down together and work out ways to improve funding. He said it was also important to educate people on the quality of the schools to combat the poor public image which has become prevalent.

Luff said education is the number one issue for economic development. He said people are leaving the county because of the perception that the schools are inferior. He said the county commissioners should be “cheerleaders” for the school system.

Jacob agreed that investment in education should be a top priority. He said people in the county “voted for no change” ten years ago, and it is now obvious that change is needed and that population growth is the only way to raise revenue.

Mason said he was all for the schools, pointing to his four children who graduated from the county system. He suggested a series of articles in local media to point out the success of graduates – not just those who went on to college, but those who were successful in other lines of work, such as plumbers or farmers.

Short defended the commissioners’ support of the schools, noting that they had funded the schools above the state-mandated “maintenance of effort” standard every year. He said the declining enrollment posed problems, but the county’s per-student allocation of $16,000 was among the highest in the state. He also noted that the county had saved the school district more than $1 million by consolidating and closing two elementary schools.

Chestertown Councilwoman Linda Kuiper asked whether the candidates would restore the tax differential formerly extended to town residents, in view of the duplication of services such as road maintenance and police services.

Short said the issue was a big topic in the commissioners’ budget hearings, and they hoped to restore it within five years or so. He said the preferred method would be a reduction of taxes for in-town residents by $.03 to $.05 rather than a direct grant to local government. He also said that the county does provide both police protection and road maintenance to the towns, questioning whether Chestertown’s $1.7 million budget for the police department is justified by need.

Mason said he didn’t see why the town and county couldn’t cooperate, but that the town would need to make certain it was spending its money wisely.

Luff noted that the tax differential was discontinued during the 2008 recession. He said the county’s other towns also deserve consideration. He noted that the bathrooms at Betterton Beach were not funded in the current county budget, throwing that cost on the town’s taxpayers.

Bramble said the duplication of services between towns and county offered an opportunity to find new efficiencies.

The candidates also responded to questions on their plans for the Route 301 corridor, which has been designated an industrial growth area for the county; on the relationship between economic development and environmental conservation; on property tax assessments; and on how President Donald Trump’s image and policies affect local issues.

The forum concluded with each of the candidates summarizing his positions and qualifications. The session ended at 8:30.

Flags for Rock Hall – Celebrating the “Pearl of the Chesapeake”

Share

Folks strolling down Rock Hall’s Main Street may find themselves humming “You’re A Grand Old Flag.” Rock Hall’s Sgt. Preston Ashley American Legion Post 228, the Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company, and the Chestertown Rotary Club have partnered to install a display of 50 star spangled banners (representing each star on the U.S. flag) and one Maryland flag (to honor the Old Line State) in the Town’s field between Rock Hall Dental and Pearl on Main Restaurant to commemorate Flag Day and Independence Day.

Andy Meehan, President of the Rotary Club, said “The Chestertown Rotary Club is proud to join with American Legion Post 228 and the RHVFC in sponsoring this patriotic tribute to our nation and state. The field of flags gives folks an opportunity to reflect on what makes the USA, Maryland, Kent County, and Rock Hall so special.  I am thrilled that it will remain in place from Flag Day through Rock Hall’s iconic Fourth of July parade, which is one of my favorite events of the year.”

Photo: Standing L-R: Beverly Birkmire (Rotary), John Murray (Rotary – Pres. Elect), Vernon Rodney (American Legion – Commander), Mark Joiner (Sons of the American Legion), Ronnie Fithian (Rock Hall Town Manager and Kent County Commissioner), Andrew Meehan (Rotary – President), Joel Colon (RHVFC), Ed Birkmire (Rotary), R.J. Dowling (RHVFC – President), Larry Crouch (American Legion), and Jennifer McCracklin (RHVFC). Seated L-R: Bjorn Birkmire (Rotary Recruit) and Adrian Colon (RHVFC Recruit). Not pictured: Jack Bigelow (RHVFC and American Legion) and Bob Tacher (Rotary – Taking Photo)

Vernon Rodney, Commander of Sgt. Preston Ashley American Legion Post 228, noted “This project is to honor our flag, which symbolizes liberty, justice, and the American way of life.  We are following the rules of flag etiquette, including illuminating them at night. We celebrate Flag Day on June 14 each year to commemorate its adoption on June 14, 1777 by the Continental Congress. The United States Army, in which many of Post 228’s members served, celebrates its birthday on the same day, which was founded on June 14, 1775 by the Continental Congress.”

R.J. Dowling, President of the Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company, shared similar sentiments. “The Flags for Rock Hall display is great way to show love of country and will inspire our fellow citizens to consider how fortunate we are to live in the land of the free and home of the brave. The members of the RHVFC are proud to be part of this project and we look forward to passing by the field of flags during the July 4th parade as we celebrate our independence and freedoms.”

Messrs. Meehan, Rodney, and Dowling also expressed their appreciation to the Town of Rock Hall and Town Manager Ronnie Fithian for providing the field and electrical power to illuminate the flags at night.

Election 2018: 1st District LWV Democratic Candidates Forum Highlights

Share

While the League of Women Voters forum on Sunday afternoon at Chesapeake College for Republicans running in the 1st District primary race turned out to be a bust with only one candidate (Rep. Andy Harris) out of three showing up, which meant, according to League rules, the program was canceled, the Democrats seemed to make up for it by having all five of their primary candidates show up for their own LWV  forum a few hours later.

Candidates Jesse Colvin, Allison Galbraith, Erik Lane, Michael Pullen, and Steve Worton all made their case for winning the Democratic nomination on June 26 to take on Representative Harris in the general election in November.

The Spy was there to capture their opening statements and responses to audience questions.

This video is approximately fifty-six minutes in length

Spy Time with Congressman Andy Harris

Share

It is safe to say that Sunday afternoon did not turn out to be what Congressman Andy Harris had expected when he dutifully showed up the League of Women Voters forum.

Anticipating to share the stage with two GOP opponents in the Republican primary race on June 26, Dr. Harris instead learned that both Martin Elborn and Lamont Taylor were “no shows” which prompted the LWV to cancel the event to be in compliance with the League’s standing rule that a forum can not take place with only one candidate in attendance.

To Rep. Harris’ credit, he nonetheless stayed in the lobby for close to an hour to answer questions from constituents, many of whom were Democrats, which centered around the Congressman’s long-standing opposition to the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

He also took a few minutes with the Spy to answer our questions about the current Congress, his support and a few disappointments of President Donald Trump’s leadership and analyzing his chances to keep the 1st Congressional seat in the 2018 general election in November.

This video is approximately seven minutes in length.

Chesapeake Charities Promotes Charitable Giving with Endow Maryland Tax Credit

Share

Chesapeake Charities wants to get the word out about Endow Maryland, a Maryland state tax credit that encourages Maryland residents to give back to their local community in a meaningful and lasting way.  The Endow Maryland tax credit, which is designed to promote charitable giving in Maryland, for Maryland, applies only to gifts to permanent, endowed funds held at local community foundations such as Chesapeake Charities—gifts that will generate many times their initial value to benefit the community.Qualified donors could receive a 25 percent tax credit on their 2018 Maryland state tax return.

According to Linda Kohler, Chesapeake Charities Executive Director, “It’s a win-win for donors and the community. Contributions to the Community Endowment Fund at Chesapeake Charities will have a tremendous impact on the 85 funds under our umbrella and will leverage additional donations to the community.  Proceeds from the fund will be used to build the capacity of local nonprofit organizations and assist with grant research and grant writing – critical skills for every nonprofit.”

Endow Maryland offers a tax credit for gifts of at least $500 to permanent, endowed funds at qualified community foundations, resulting in $1 million in donations each year that directly impact local communities across the State.These credits are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and are anticipated to be claimed quickly. To find out how to take advantage of the tax credit, please contact Chesapeake Charities, at info@ChesapeakeCharities.org or call 410.643.4020. For more information about the Endow Maryland tax credit, refer to the Comptroller of Maryland website, “Spotlight on Maryland Taxes.”

Located in Stevensville, Maryland, Chesapeake Charities is a community foundation that supports over 85 nonprofit funds that impact a range of charitable causes including animal welfare, arts, education, health and human services, and the environment. All funds have a common cause – a passion for making a difference in their communities. Chesapeake Charities serves organizations in eight counties: Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot. They have invested more than $11 million in the Chesapeake Bay region since 2005, including $279,900 in scholarship awards to 254 local high school students, through nine scholarship programs.For more information, contact Chesapeake Charities at (410) 643-4020 or info@chesapeakecharities.org, or visit www.chesapeakecharities.org. Chesapeake Charities is accredited by the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.

For more information, contact Chesapeake Charities at (410) 643-4020 or info@chesapeakecharities.org, or visit www.chesapeakecharities.org. Chesapeake Charities is accredited by the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.

The Public Schools Funding Challenge: What did Talbot County Do?

Share

As many of our readers know, the Spy goes out of its way to cover public affairs through the lens of a hyperlocal perspective. While our articles of the arts and regional culture frequently are shared in both the Chestertown Spy and Talbot Spy, when it comes to local government coverage, we have kept Kent County and Talbot County issues separated in our online publications to best serve the needs of these uniquely different communities.

But periodically, both counties must face the same challenges in how they collect revenue and support local priorities. And this is undoubtedly the case when it comes to not only covering the annual budget expense of their respective public schools through Maryland’s “maintenance of effort”(MOE) requirement, the bare minimum a county must provide for their school districts, but more frequently these days, must find funding well beyond that number to keep their schools competitive.

Last week, the Kent County Commissioners and residents found themselves in a heated discussion as Kent County faces this kind of challenge in the next fiscal year budget. And this conversation comes at a time when the Talbot County Council has had to face a similar issue and recently approved a substantial increase over the required MOE, despite the fact that all five members were fiscally conservative Republicans.

Without commentary, the Spy shares below an outtake of a recent GOP forum where four out of the five council members discuss their decision to raise taxes to fund the Talbot County Public Schools in the new budget year. Starting with Jennifer Williams, president of the Talbot County Council, and following by Council members Cory Pack, Chuck Callahan and Laura Price, discuss their rationale in voting for the substantial increase.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length.