Westminster, MD, Tuesday, February 22, 2022 – Today, at the annual State of the County event, the 61st Carroll County Board of Commissioners delivered their individual assessments on the state of Carroll County. The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce hosted the event at the Carroll Arts Center.
The commissioners from the five districts delivered speeches, four addressed the audience in person and one commissioner distributed written comments. All highlighted challenges and successes from the past year and ongoing initiatives moving forward. Common themes included appreciation and gratitude for county partners and county staff as the community begins to move into a post COVID environment. Four commissioners whose terms will end in December 2022 also shared thoughts and gratitude for their experience while in office.
Commissioner Ed Rothstein, District 5, began by emphasizing his pledge to listen to citizens, learn from them and lead with them, and also his commitment to promote balance for himself, Carroll County Government, the community, district 5 and the entire county. His overall message acknowledged that the last two years were challenging and took a toll on the health, home and economics of Carroll County. He also stressed his confidence in the county’s resiliency by working together. Leadership and partnerships will help the county navigate the turbulence and return to health and prosperity. The commissioner highlighted the execution of federal, state and county funds to assist with social services, small business revitalization and infrastructure. Successes in areas such as low unemployment, comprehensive rezoning, reaffirmation of triple A bond ratings, the development of the new Department of Fire and EMS are strengths for the last year. The speech concluded with recognition of his fellow commissioners and with the commissioner’s belief that the county’s word of the year can be “resolve.” Through a collective resolve, the county can sail through in prosperity and success.
Commissioner Stephen Wantz, District 1, began by expressing his pride and gratitude for his last eight years as county commissioner. His speech accented some of the accomplishments and success stories over the past seven-plus years. Achievements include successful budgeting, earning three triple-A credit ratings, increasing funding to education and making huge strides in all areas of public safety. From deciding to harden every gravel road in the county to managing the closure of three public school buildings, he witnessed positive results. The boards passed a master plan, continued to accomplish comprehensive rezoning, assisted many at risk residents, and continued to work on increasing efficiency and moral throughout the county workforce. He accented accomplishments supporting his emphasis on public safety as a number one priority of an elected official and mentioned continued success in economic development and agricultural preservation. Commissioner Wantz is proud that Carroll County is now a regional leader in the state and has strong partnerships in regional and statewide associations. He concluded with thanks to all citizens who continue to build upon a solid foundation with ongoing fiscal responsibility, accountability, collaboration and transparency.
Commissioner Richard Weaver, District 2, began his remarks by recognizing the rebound and recovery efforts of the past year and the continued changes resulting from the pandemic. Although the county has seen somewhat of a return to in-person events, new COVID variants have caused many starts and stops to the county and its businesses. Some issues, including complications with the supply chain, will affect food prices for some time. Commissioner Weaver highlighted many successes of the year including celebrating 75,000 acres of agricultural land preservation, funding to expand broadband, purchasing property to expand the Northern Landfill and looking forward to the new athletic facility to be developed at the former North Carroll High School. The commissioner discussed the successful and impactful work of the county’s Veterans program and introduced a new event, the Carroll County Veterans Celebration, which will be held at the Farm Museum on Sunday, May 15, 2022. The commissioner also thanked his colleagues and constituents for the opportunity to serve.
Commissioner Dennis Frazier, District 3, highlighted three specific areas within his comments. First talking about the boards’ efforts to expand high-speed broadband throughout the county and its efforts to use federal covid funds to build the county’s broadband infrastructure to reduce the digital divide. He also spoke of the expansion of the Northern landfill which will promote more efficient and innovative practices and provide a county waste management system for the future. The commissioner discussed the recent opioid settlement decision and his concerns about accepting this agreement. The county has dedicated a significant amount of funding support and resources for the Not in Carroll initiative for drug prevention. Commissioner Frazier believes this settlement does not go far enough to reimburse the county or penalize the drug companies involved. Lastly, the commissioner thanked the citizens and the current and previous boards for the positive experience serving as a commissioner.
Commissioner Eric Bouchat, District 4, did not present to the audience but distributed his written speech. Comments recognized and thanked county staff for providing a hands-on education on government functions to better understand operations within the county. The speech initially focused on the commissioner’s concerns for our national and local economy and the economic threats caused by the federal government’s monetary policy, including impacts on the county’s capital projects. He listed additional concern for the county budget responsibilities, policy and process. Lastly, Commissioner Bouchat discussed the importance of having diversity on the Carroll County Board of Commissioners and encouraged citizens to file for the local election positions.
The recorded event can be viewed on the county website: https://www.carrollcountymd.gov/stateofthecounty . In addition, the State of the County event will replay on Comcast Channel 24.