Petition for referendum to look at more ways to fund sports complex in Worcester County
WORCESTER COUNTY, Md. Some Worcester County residents are teaming up to make their voices and concerns heard when it comes to the funding of a potential sports complex. The group is called the People for Fiscal Responsibility.
“Our main intent is really just to focus on the bill that was passed and whether they should really be funded with tax payers money,” Slobodan Trendic, Spokesperson for People for Fiscal Responsibility, said.
After Worcester County Commissioners voted to purchase property west of the Stephen Decatur High School for 7.15 million dollars and to pay for it with bonds, it raised some residents’ eyebrows and they decided to create a petition for a referendum. They also are hosting community meetings to discuss the complex and their concerns. We’re told the meeting was successful and it was positive to hear everyone’s sides on the issue. Trendic said the theme really became clear that the pause button needs to be hit on the process of the bringing the complex here, and folks want leaders to go back to the drawing board.
“When the petition is successful, what will happen that will require the county to issue a referendum in November where the residents of the county will be given the opportunity to vote yes or no on the county’s plans,” Trendic said.
Trendic said the group is trying to get 5,000 signatures by the end of their deadline. But, we’re told what’s important is that they get at least 50% of that in the next 2 weeks. As of right now, they have around 300 signatures right now.
“We have 40 days to collect the signatures required, if we collect 50% of the required signatures within the 40 day period we will get another 40 day extension,” Trendic said.
Joe Mitrecic, President of the Board of Worcester County Commissioners, who voted yes, said he spoke with residents after his vote and said he thinks the complex can become a reality without increasing taxes.
“We are doing this again not so the taxes go up, we are hoping to hold the tax payers current contribution the same or maybe even lower in the future,” Commissioner President Mitrecic said.
Commissioner President Mitrecic said he and other commissioners see the sports complex as a revenue generator for the county, something that will hopefully one day even lower the tax rate in the county. He added he knows there are concerns, but believes he’s doing what he can to bring new investments to the county. He also said there is a lot of misinformation out there about the sports complex, and he said it’s being generated on all levels.
“The government is basically a service business, we provide services to our constituency in turn they pay taxes,” Commissioner President Mitrecic said. “And, we have to make the best use of the money that they pay and be very fiscal responsible with that money.”
“I am more than happy to try and work with somebody and try to find a dedicated fund somewhere that could pay for this that takes it out of the hands of the referendum for that matter, but it also takes it off the backs of tax payers,” Commissioner President Mitrecic said.
While Commissioner President Mitrecic said he’s going to be doing anything to get donations, the People for Fiscal Responsibility will be collecting signatures for their petition and are hoping county leaders come up with a more creative way to fund the project.
“If you look at similar projects around the country and around the region, many of them are done using public-private partnership as opposed to being funded exclusively with tax payers money,” Trendic said.
The group will hold another community forum May 14, at 6 p.m. at 1927 Old Virginia Road in Pocomoke. If you would like to add your name to the petition, you can contact Trendic at 410-972-8003.