A March 5 Salisbury Daily Times article discusses past and possible future State funding cuts to Program Open Space (POS) and the important role POS plays for Wicomico County. The article also examines State and local efforts to preserve land around the Chesapeake Bay region.
“From the economic impact in leveraging our parks we are now probably around $12 to $13 million,” said Gary Mackes, director of the Wicomico County Recreation, Parks and Tourism Department. “That’s huge and our parks system without Program Open Space wouldn’t exist; these types of opportunities would be lost and held elsewhere.”
Despite the program’s benefit for communities and environmental health, the funding stream for Program Open Space has been the topic of debate in Annapolis as delegates and senators struggled to balance the budget while providing funds for dozens of Maryland programs. This year, the debate is no different.
“In tough economic times, there is significant pressure to divert transfer tax revenue to other programs,” said Kelly Carneal, director of Partners for Open Space. “Over the years, Program Open Space has had almost a third of this dedicated revenue reallocated and not repaid.”