Message From The MACo President: County Budget Season

Most of us are happy that June is finally here as we have worked hard to balance our FY 2013 budgets in the midst of state budget uncertainty and a looming special session and we look forward to a few days of relaxation and rejuvenation.

The May Special Session found us continuing to express our concerns with the policy direction and long term effects of a teacher pension shift. Please know that your hard work paid off! Numerous changes were made to the proposed plan and MACo appreciates that the General Assembly took action to phase the shift in over four years, to create a shrinking rather than growing shift after the full phase-in, and to leave the massive unfunded liability of the state system on their books rather than yours. But regardless, the shifting of teacher pensions has been difficult already and it will continue to be, especially as our tax revenues shrink with the weak real estate market.

Sometimes these challenges make us stronger as evidenced by the tough decisions we have had to make to balance our FY 2013 budgets. During difficult fiscal times, the choices that must be made are never easy. I congratulate you and thank you for the hard work you did and will continue to do!

With most local budget seasons nearly over, MACo looks forward to seeing each and every one of you at our Summer Conference where we’ll have a chance to look ahead to other issues. Our theme is “Breaking Through, Working Together for Maryland’s Counties” and the conference will be held August 15 – 18, 2012 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City. This year, our sessions will focus on the importance of working collaboratively with other levels of government to realize efficiencies and cost savings, and where partnerships can be applied to break through the barriers our county governments are facing. This year we will showcase best practices with the awarding of the Healthy Counties Award during the Welcoming Session.

I also look forward to seeing you over the course of the year as I visit your county. This is a time for me to hear your ideas and concerns to ensure MACo is doing its best to meet your needs. My fellow board members, the MACo staff, and I are a resource to all in Maryland county government. Please call upon us at any time with questions or concerns, or feel free to just pick up the phone to tell me what’s on your mind. We have a great organization, and working together in the spirit of partnership and cooperation, we will achieve much more for Maryland’s counties.

Enjoy the summer and thank you for allowing me to continue to serve as your president.
Ingrid M. Turner, Esq.
Prince George’s County Council Member

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