SNOW HILL – Worcester County assistant finance officer Phil Thompson presented the Worcester County Board of Commissioners with his department’s revenue projection for the fiscal year 2012.
While the assessable base will only decline about $1 million this year, for the 2013 fiscal year the assessable base may drop more than $1 billion, according to state projections. The affect this is expected to have on this year’s budget will be about $200,000, but in 2013 will represent an anticipated shortfall of nearly $10 million.
The decrease is attributed to the completion of a three-year real estate reassessment. While the commissioners considered adjusting the tax rate to hedge against the decline last year they chose instead to make budget cuts rather than a tax rate adjustment.
Thompson also reported to the commissioners on the county’s latest bond rating. Bond rating company Fitch and Moody improved the county’s bond rating from AA- to AA. He said the improved rating was a product of the commissioners’ fiscal responsibility.
Brenda Dingwall, who runs the internship program at NASA Wallops Flight Facility, told the commissioners that NASA, in conjunction with the Worcester County Department of Economic Development, would continue the StepUP Program that hires high school and college interns for science-related experience.
She said that since the program’s inception it has become a nationwide model for both improving local economies through providing work as well as bringing science and technology to the forefront of student interest.
“We need more STEM graduates, that’s what makes out economy grow,” she said. “We don’t build enough engineers here [on the Eastern Shore].”
The commissioners approved the town of Berlin’s proposal to annex nearly 7.9 acres of property on the south side of the intersection of Germantown Road and Route 113. The commissioners’ proviso was that the town coordinate with the county as regards to access to the property and the extension of as many as 25 EDUs to the property.
The town council is expected to vote on the annexation at their Feb. 14 meeting.
Worcester County Director of Tourism Lisa Challenger was invited by Commissioner Louise Gulyas to talk with the commissioners about an award her department won at the recent Lower Shore Heritage Council meeting. The county was given the Best New Heritage Initiative Award for their website, www.artsandsandtimes.org.
Challenger told the commissioners the website was the digital version of the quarterly print edition but was available to a wider audience than could possible be reached via mail.
police vehicle transfer
The commissioners approved a request by Public Works director John Tustin to transfer a police tactical vehicle previously deemed surplus to the town of Berlin for use in their ongoing training program of a tactical response team.
After seeing the vehicle listed as surplus, Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing contacted the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department asking for the transfer. Sheriff Reggie Mason agreed to the deal.
*Karen Reddersen, new director of the University of Maryland Extension Office that provides agricultural community support and educational programs introduced herself to the commissioners. Reddersen gave the commissioners an overview of the various programs the extension office supports.
*The commissioners also approved the spring countywide e-cycle day for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 16 at the West Ocean City Park and Ride.