ELKTON — Last week several Cecil County residents, including a county executive hopeful, offered opinions regarding the county’s proposed bill relating to bond refunding authorization.
The proposal would empower the county executive to execute and deliver executive orders prior to issuing the bonds in order to fix, prescribe and determine the details of the bonds and the issuance and sale of the bonds, according to language in the bill.
During a September meeting of the Cecil County Council, County Finance Director Lisa Saxton, said the purpose behind the change would be to allow the county flexibility to sell refunding bonds in a timely manner and allow the county to optimize interest savings. Fundamentally, the change would allow the county executive to allow the sale of refunding bonds, “in such manner and upon search terms as the County Executive deems to be in the best interest of the county,” according to language in the bill.
During last week’s meeting, Cecil County Executive Candidate and Republican Nominee Danielle Hornberger, spoke out against the proposed bill.
“So we’re all familiar with bill at the state and federal level that have great titles or sound harmless and altruistic, that is, until you read the fine print,” Hornberger said.. “I have read this bill multiple times. I’ve conferred with others regarding bill 2020-13. The bottom line is, it allows for the county executive to make unilateral decisions with no need for council approval or citizen knowledge. I think residents of Cecil County are looking for more transparency in their government, not less.”
Cecil County resident Harold McCanick said he concurred with Hornberger’s comment, while Elkton-resident Russ Johnson asked for the council to reject bill 2020-13.
“The Cecil County charter establishes each of you collectively as the county council, as the last stop on the road to financial disaster paved by the sole decision of an executive, regardless of who that might be,” Johnson said.
Johnson further said that while a refunding decision might be a good deal for the county three out of four times, the charter establishes the council to prevent the one bad occurrence from happening.
Johnson also said, “You can’t let the lure of speediness cloud your vision and our expectations of your obligations and responsibility to the citizens of Cecil County.”
He then urged the council to reject the proposed bill.
Cecil County resident Joyce Bowlsbey said she supports the bill, noting that it is a means of saving taxpayers money. She added that it takes a long time for the council to pass a bill and that an executive should have the authority to be able to save taxpayers money.
Following the public hearing on bill 2020-13, no comments were made by members of the county council regarding the proposal. The bill is set for final consideration during the council’s meeting next Tuesday, Oct. 20.