Allegany and Garrett Counties:”Counties are maxed out”

On Tuesday Allegany and Garrett counties united for a “stop the shift” press conference  to focus on how the Governor’s proposed shift would jeopardize the financial health of western Maryland’s counties. Joined by the Allegany and Garrett County commissioners, educators, union officials and representatives of the Allegany County Library System, the groups offered messages of how the shift would directly impact their services, and ultimately western Maryland citizens. The Cumberland Times-News reports:

“A regional approach is an approach we seriously need to take,” said Garrett County Commissioner Jim Raley. “If the state continues to hammer us like they are hammering us, we are going to have very serious problems,” Raley said.

“It is not a teachers’ thing. This is a county services problem … every department of county services will be affected. County services will be cut and employees furloughed or laid off,” Allegany Commissioner Michael McKay said.

“Devastating” is the word Cindy Bambara, the president of Allegany Community College (ACM), used to describe the likely effect of the shift. “The cost to our operating budget in fiscal year 2013 would be $393,000, and this amount would grow,” Bambara said. The move would likely force additional tuition increases as other recent state cuts have done and “hurt those least able to afford to pay for their college education,” she said.

David Cox, the Allegany County superintendent of schools, echoed Bambara’s concerns. Cox urged state leaders to study the pension shift further. Past investment losses are slowly turning around, which might help the pension fund. “This proposal relocates a problem, it doesn’t fix it,” Cox said.

For complete coverage of the event see below:

The Cumberland Times-News

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