Cecil County commissioners want to hear from residents one more time before they decide what path to follow for governing the growing population of about 96,000 persons.

“If we’re going to take the lead, we’ll have to decide soon,” said Commissioners President William Manlove at a recent workshop meeting with the rest of the board.

The commissioners have set up a public meeting for Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the new county office building on Chesapeake Boulevard in Elkton to wrap up issues discussed in the three forums and take the pulse of the residents of Cecil County.

“We’d like to know what everyone is thinking now that we’ve completed three public forums,” said Manlove.

The officials are considering doing some kind of mock election at the meeting, or possibly a public opinion poll.

The commissioners hired the University of Maryland Institute for Government Service and Research to hold a series of three impartial public forums to “educate” the public about the three forms of county government allowed under Maryland law.

Jeanne E. Bilanin, associate director of the institute, and Victor K. Tervala, author of Home Rule Options in Maryland, sat in on all three forums.

“They’ve agreed to return to Cecil County to run the wrap-up session,” said Vicky Rinkerman, administration assistant for the board of commissioners.

Manlove said he was disappointed in the level of public interest in the forums. Average attendance at all three forums held at Elkton, Rising Sun and Cecilton was about 35 to 40 persons in a county with 96,000 residents.

Only eight of Maryland’s 23 counties remain under a commissioner form of government that has ruled Cecil County for more than 300 years.

Is the county ready for a change? If so, to what?

The other two options are code home rule and charter home rule. The commissioners are hoping more people will get involved.

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