Education Among Top Priorities At Wicomico Co. Budget Hearing - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Education Among Top Priorities At Wicomico Co. Budget Hearing

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SALISBURY, Md. - Wicomico County talks money at their annual budget meeting, which gives the public a chance to voice their concerns.

Unlike last April, the county isn't in limbo because the state easily passed a budget after failing last year for the first time in 20 years.

A big request: funding for public education.

"Education took a big hit through the recession," said Rick Politt, Wicomico County Executive. "When you put 80 percent of your county budget into public safety and public education and you have to cut, there's no way to avoid going to those departments."

Last year, the county had $116 million to work with. This year, a number of departments, including the Board of Education, have requested an additional $11 million be added, which includes funding for the Bennett Middle School project.
     
We have some schools that are in need of repair," said Diane Pellegrino, Health Services Coordinator for Wicomico County Public Schools. "They are in disarray, so we need that funding to support new schools to support the growth of the county."

But officials say since Wicomico County has the 4th highest tax burden in the state, recovery from the recession may take a number of years.

"Wicomico County continues to lag beyond or behind most of the other counties immediately around us," said Pollitt.

Pollitt tells WMDT figures will not be released until Tuesday, when the county plans to unveil its final budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

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