Cecil County Spending: Commissioners Mullin and Dunn Propose Over $10 Million in Cuts

From the Cecil County Spending Project

Commissioner James Mullin and Michael Dunn today announced the release of their “Cecil County Taxpayer Protection Plan.” This plan would cut millions and millions of dollars from the budget if each of the recommendations were enacted.  Mullin said that this plan should “serve as a starting point for discussion and debate on this year’s budget.”  The Commissioners will be taking final votes on the budget later in  May 2011 so they have approximately 3 months to make all budgetary decisions for FY2012.  Michael Dunn said that “our responsibility [as Commissioners] is to make tough decisions in tough economic times; this plan shows that I am willing to make tough decisions and put everything on the table when we talk about cuts.  I do not support tax increases and I will do my best to reduce spending at the county level to ensure that we keep taxes low in Cecil County.”  Here is the proposal:

Cecil County Taxpayer Protection Plan

Proposed by Commissioner James Mullin and Commissioner Michael Dunn

As your citizen representatives, we were elected as County Commissioners to fight for you and to improve Cecil County government for the benefit of future generations.  We realize that spending levels at the federal level and the state level are unsustainable and that county government cannot rely on federal or state funding to solve our budget problems.  Historic aid received from the federal government and the state of Maryland is decreasing and likely to continue decreasing in the future.  We must roll up our sleeves and make the tough decisions that the citizens of Cecil County elected us to make as Commissioners to balance the taxpayer budget and put the county on a sound financial path forward.

We realize that the only way to grow Cecil County’s economy while we currently have the highest unemployment rate in our region is to foster a favorable business climate here at home.  Keeping taxes predictable and low is important in creating such a climate not only for businesses, but for consumers.  We do not support increasing county tax rates to fund government programs.  Because we believe in smaller government, lower taxes, and improved efficiency in government we are proposing the following budget actions be implemented in Cecil County for the FY 2012 budget to help our county keep taxes low and spending in check as we continue to deal with difficult economic times.  The budget items listed below amount to more than $10 million dollars in spending reductions and would lead the way toward keeping taxes low and reducing government waste in Cecil County.

article continues on Cecil County Spending:  Taxed Enough Already

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36 responses to “Cecil County Spending: Commissioners Mullin and Dunn Propose Over $10 Million in Cuts

  1. These two suggest?
    1) win friend Smigiel’s ongoing battle with the SPCA by eliminating it and dumping the responsibility on the Sheriff’s office. Pay back time to Smigiel.

    2) Turn the Department of Economic Development into a Tourist center to showcase and draw millions of people to our ‘unique’ wonders, such as all the empty buildings that couldn’t be filled for lack of any typical incentives. They didn’t point out Ms Broomell’s wonderful brainstorm of Sports Tourism to highlight our professional sports venues. Oh, and let us not forget the many resort hotels and fine dining establishments that rival those of Paris, Rome or New York. We better build an airport with international arrivals terminal to handle all this. My goodness, I am getting a nosebleed with all the excitement!

    3) Cut funding to Education. Yea, we don’t need no good education here cuz we kin all be holdin’ signs for the turists.

    4) And of course we don’t need money to non-profits like those stupid art groups. They are poor and starving anyway in this mecca of culture. Besides, those painted Elk are done and will bring an untold fortune as the tourists flock to see them. We could put a ‘view meter’ on each one.

    Wait, why do we need a department of tourism? We can just FaceBook and Tweet how great we are and the world will come running do our doors.

  2. Way to go Commissioners Dunn and Mullin. The Fiscal Conservative team is on a roll. Two great things in two days this may be more than I can take. Thanks again for all the hard work. GO SMIPKINS!

  3. Ha! I saw pieces of brilliance such as this coming. Thanks Republicans and TEA Bag All-Stars!! This Republican voted for the Democrats and now knows he made the right choices.

  4. Seems to me that timing is way off here. Why would the comissioners appoint a budget commission and then turn around and release their own plan?? I would think that it would be better to let this commission to come back with recommendations and then release their plan. This appears to be steering the committee down a pre-determined path. One has to ask why??
    Was this plan vetted with the other commissioners or is this just grand standing by two rogue commissioners?? While, I support low taxes, this seems to be a disjointed. Anybody else have thoughts??

  5. The only good news in this is that Commissioner Broomell has shed the cloud of suspicion that she might be a SMIPKIN. Thank God that Mike “Mad Mike” Dawson (not to be confused with Michael Dawson who ran for House of Delegates) was not elected.

  6. I think this is a bold move to start the debate on the budget. I mean for a while there I thought all 5 of them were just going to hide behind the “advisory committee” they created and use that as political cover. Good to see some Commissioners are stepping up to the plate. I hope the others follow with ideas soon. This is going to be a tough budget cycle at all levels of government and future cycles don’t look to be any better–so people should get used to cutting if we are going to keep government solvent in the future.

    • Should’t they wait until departments actually submit their requests?

      • Well, Jim Mullin has been in there since 2008 so I don’t think that he really needs to wait to figure out what needs to be cut Sherlock. As for Mike Dunn, I think he is anxious to get ideas circulated on spending cuts because the main reason he got elected was for his tax stance. I do not think he is interested in letting down all the people that voted for him on Election Day.

        Additionally Sherlock, by the time all the departments submit their budget requests we will be well into spring, then the Commissioners will only have a month or less to make a decision on how to spend monies totaled well over $100 million dollars. Dunn and Mullin did the right thing to get out in front on this.

        What’s worse is that the rest of the Commissioners have contributed nothing to the budget process except to waste time creating a “special budget advisory committee”–that hasn’t even met yet. By the time this Committee of good hardworking people is assembled and meets, the budget process will be coming to a close! I think the poor people who were appointed to the advisory committee are going to be used as “political cover” for certain Commissioners.

        Hats off though to Dunn and Mullin–they have guts–they have put forth the boldest cuts I think any Commissioners have put forth in county history–and at a time when these tough cuts have to be discussed given the national economic climate. I’m sure that the big government types are going to be out in full force to oppose these cuts.

        • Teddi,
          See my suggestions below. Let them step up first…or shut up!

        • Jackie Gregory

          The Citizen Advisory Committee is not a “waste of time.” How can you suggest that real citizen involvement which results in a public report to ALL the citizens in the county would be a waste of time? It definitely has a lot more potential than ranting on a blog. You have made several prejudgments about the committee before it has even had a chance to start. You have called into question people’s motivations. Since we are engaging in speculation on here, how about I add this to the mix? Could it be possible that there are individuals who wish to doom the efforts of citizens on the advisory committee before they have even begun because they are afraid of being upstaged and may score less political points for themselves? Commissioner Hodge did the right thing in initially proposing the advisory committee, and commissioners Broomell and Moore were right in supporting the process. We in the TEA party support their efforts to involve citizens and bring about real transparency, which they have been working towards since the new board of commissioners took office. It is unfortunate that there are those who claim to be aligned with the TEA party who seem to have little to no understanding of what the TEA party is all about. I am looking forward to seeing what citizens who have experience in budgeting can come up with, citizens who are looking out for the best interest of the taxpayer with no need to score political points. I think it is fair for citizens to be skeptical about the government when there is a history of broken promises, support of fiscally irresponsible policies, and even in some cases, an inability to manage one’s personal finances in a responsible way much less a large public budget.

  7. The budget commission is a joke (no offense to the well qualified and generous individuals volunteering their time). All that will serve is to try to deflect personal responsibility for tough spending-cut choices! I didn’t vote for Commissioners so they could skip on their responsibility to cut spending and lower our taxes. Now I know — Jim Mullin and Mike Dunn don’t need a “Committee” to do the “leading” for them. They are showing true leadership in public office and true courage to make the tough recommendations and choices we need to make to help the Cecil County economy move forward.

    • Are you the same Josue’ Sierra who sets up the SMIPKIN websites? You, Ted Patterson, and Chris Zeauskas need to leave the echo chamber and associate with “other than Smipkins”. You guys have been brainwashed.

    • Josue – you’re clairvoyant? who knew! publically stating that the budget commission is a joke before even giving them a chance is a bit premature, don’t you think? and as far as stating it’s just an attempt to “deflect personal responsibility for tough spending-cut choices” before seeing the outcome is again, jumping the gun. I hardly view forming this commission as “skipping on their responsibilities” but rather as out of the box thinking and considering all options and wisely delegating for as much information and input as possible before making the tough decisions. If Commissioner’s Dunn and Mullen are so opposed to this commission then why on earth did they vote FOR it? all you guys are accomplishing with the constant criticisism of fellow conservatives is bad reputations of both the Republican clubs and Republican central committee of cecil county. Don’t you guys have fund raising and stuff to do?

      • Jacque, You’re right — I was incorrect and it was inappropriate for me to call it a joke. I apologize–thanks for calling me out on it.

        I guess what I should have said was that I fear it may serve as a way out from tough decisions by the commissioners, but as you pointed out, we don’t know that yet. I’m willing to give the process a chance. I do hope this committee is able to dig into the nitty-gritty of the budgets. As you’ve pointed out elsewhere, it will take work to get under the covers and figure out the details of these budgets (that many times are extremely vague). I look forward to see positive results!

  8. You know I think I figured part of this plan out! By combining animal control and the sheriff’s office, money will be saved on heat at the jail. This is how it will work, each prisoner will be assigned a dog or two or three cats which they will have to take care of, then when the boiler fails at the jail or they run out of fuel or the heat is lowered to 50F, the prisoner will just cuddle up to their favorite pet to stay warm!…….I will give some thought to how Cecil County will deal with economic developement and report in later……

  9. If these two really want to convince people that they mean well and are ready to make tough decisions, we suggest they start by:
    - Cutting or eliminating THEIR compensation, benefits, reimbursements, etc.?
    - Eliminate their staff–they have computers (their personal computers – county IT can be given to the schools) and can do anything that needs to be done.
    - Abolish the boards now, before wasting any valuable time of the volunteers.
    - Spend their nights and weekends repairing the roads, maintaining the parks, caring for strays, tutoring children, pick up tourists in Podunk for Broomell’s magical-mystery tours, clean the bathrooms and offices in the county building,
    - Give up any land/property rental agreements that they or their friends have (Hodge hates this one)
    - Agree that they, their families, other commissioners, or anyone to which they have personal ties, cannot receive compensation, in any form, from the County or any City within Cecil County.

    Actually, they probably think this is a cute ploy. Rile up the citizens with asinine proposals and then back off to show they really do care while pretending to do something.

  10. So what were the two great things that Dunn Smipkin and Mullin Smipkin did in two days? I’m sure that FOP Lodge 2 Pres. Adam Streight wonders why SMIPKIN stabbed him in the back with a proposed 10% cut in public safety funding. The Deputies must be stunned. GO SMIPKINS.

  11. Ted, what you don’t understand is that the citizens want to get involved. If the citizens never got involved, there would be no TEA Party. Republicans like yourself would still be sitting back casting stones and playing the “blame game”. The citizens are tired of business as usual and want to not only hold our elected officials accountable, but there are some of us that want to help find solutions. We want to “walk the walk, rather than just “talk the talk”… You should try it. Other counties have successfully formed budget committees. The Republicans were a big part of what got us into this financial mess, and it’s going to take the help of all us to make a change. It’s time to “put up or shut up”. Some of their proposals are a testament to what happens when people do get involved. In just 1 yr, Commissoner Mullin and Mike Dunn have made a complete 180 from supporting “binding arbitration” which would handicap the county at the hands of an outside arbiter and the demands of a union to now advocating cutting the public safety budget and eliminating sheriff pensions in favor of a 401k. Is this the same Jim Mullin that stole “unapproved” meeting minutes and gave them to Delegate Smigiel to be used in front of all of Cecil County to push through “binding arbitration”? Is this the same Jim Mullin that voted to raise taxes after running on a platform of not raising them? Is this the same Jim Mullin that wanted to mandate that all single family dwellings have sprinkler systems, until the people got involved? Kudos to the TEA Party and the citizens who got involved for forcing Jim Mullin to follow the lead of the TEA Party.

    • Donna, the time has come to differentiate between Republicans and Smipkins. We need a Cecil County Protection Against Smipkin Plan. Wait until the SMIPKIN Seven on the Central Committee begin to attack those Republicans who do not agree with them or their tactics.

    • I think the citizens are involved. How are the citizens not involved? If you want to help find solutions–offer solutions Donna. No one is stopping you. Show initiative. I would welcome your ideas. In fact, I will personally deliver your ideas to all five Commissioners if you would like me to. I hope between now and the end of the budget cycle more people come out with good ideas to cut the budget and the county debt. I hope that between now and the end of the budget cycle the Cecil County Patriots can say that they contributed more input to the budget process than just advocating for the creation of a “budget advisory board.” Because at the end of the day its not about “talking the talk” its about “walking the walk.” Jim Mullin and Dunn put out over $10 million dollars worth of ideas. Are all the cuts perfect? Probably not. But is it a good start that will get the ball rolling? Yes. We can’t afford to keep spending as usual–you’re right. I think Mullin and Dunn realize that this year. If you disagreed with Mullin’s stances in the past and now he is doing something good, wouldn’t you welcome that? It’s as if even when Mullin or Dunn do the right thing you guys still oppose it because you just don’t like the guys or you’re angry at them about past elections. I don’t get it. It doesn’t matter who has the idea–let’s just get it right this time.

  12. Smartest Man in the world

    I love seeing cuts no matter what. The county needs a balance budget. Please tackle the entitlements as well in this county. Fraud is rampent through out Cecil. Great Job commisioners Mullin and Dunn

  13. Josue,
    If you really believe that an advisory committee is a joke, then what would you call your Cecil Spending website? It is the same concept of involving citizens, except unlike your website, it would have some teeth, and would be publicized to everyone, not just a few who you have contact with. I’m not knocking your website, because I thought it was a good idea, but it just didn’t have any ability to really accomplish anything. One thing I learned last year while trying to go through the budget, is that while a few of the budgets are very specific, many are not, and there is a lot of background information that you need to have access to in order to understand the line items of the budget, most of which are not published. There are a lot of vague items in many of the budgets that require additional research and information beyond just looking at what is submitted. Average citizens do not have access to these items, and it makes sense for a citizen budget committee to work together to do the necessary research and write a report to provide more transparency on the vague portions of the budget, so that we can see how our money is being spent, rather than having many people duplicating efforts, asking the same departments the same questions, with no organized effort to get anything accomplished.

    Although I am glad that Commissioners Mullin and Dunn are willing to offer suggestions for cutting our budget, I am a bit surprised that they didn’t wait for input from the advisory committee, or ask for additional suggestions from the other commissioners before releasing their plan, or even tell the other commissioners that they were developing such a plan. One can only surmise as to the reasons why.

  14. How is it possible for specific numbers to be given in the proposals, when we don’t have numbers from the state yet. Those numbers make up critical portions of the County’s budget – the budget is not even completed! Commissioners Dunn’s and Mullin’s suggestions must be, at the very least, premature.

  15. Ted,
    Thanks for the offer but as I’ve shown in the past I’m capable of communicating with the commissioners myself. If I do need someone to make a delivery, I’ll be sure to get someone who doesn’t have a history of being a “no-show” . It is unfortunate that you would want to downplay or stand in the way of citizen involvement and increased transparency which we don’t currently have in the process. I don’t know why you would suggest that I would be anything but happy after the last election. I have seen so many things on this blog, where you have prejudged things before they’ve happened. You have assigned feelings and motivations to people with nothing more to support it than your personal hunch. Frankly, I’m surprised to see that coming from someone who claims to be a conservative. I’m used to those types of tactics being used by liberals to label people.

  16. To Ted Patterson regarding your 2/18/11 post @ 12.48 PM.
    You say regarding Dunn ” I do not think he is interested in letting down all the people that voted for him on Election Day”. Do you think the Deputies feel disappointed with their support of Dunn and other Smipkins because of their Law and Order message? A 10% cut in public safety is a slap in the face.

  17. ……Next plan, since there will be cuts to education the class sizes will increase, so to help out the much smaller economic department we could have the child create posters to send to prospective businesses and we could have choirs signing songs for entertainment when we are courting businesses…..The Simpkins have all kinds of great ideas….just wait……

  18. Thank you Commissioner Mullin and Dunn for taking the lead and proposing cuts. I’m concerned by the comments of our “fellow” named Republicans on this cite who are simply lashing out because they did not take the initiative to do the research and propose budget cuts. I thought the Republican party stood on the principles of lowering taxes and cutting spending. It’s sad to see the divide in the party especially after such a successful election in 2010. The “Smipkin” comments are childish, if you all need to lash out stick to lashing out on the Democrats and socialists. I get there is some need from those parties involved to keep poking at one another. But in the interest of the Party and coming from the stand point of a Republican in this county, stop. Enough is enough. If you aren’t going to be part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I understand a few of you want to air out your problems, well it’s like a dysfunction family, if you have an issue with someone in the family you do it behind closed doors. In order to maintain harmony within our party, be an adult and talk to that person one on one.

    Commissioner Mullin and Dunn, I commend you on your ideas. Hopefully your fellow Republican Commissioners will agree with many of these cuts and perhaps you all can improve upon many of them.

    • REAL Republicans support fiscal restraint. There is a difference between REAL Republicans and the Smipkin based Ted Patterson Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty (CFL) phony republicans. Dunn and Mullim propose to cut funding for SMIPKIN (Smigiel and Pipkin) perceived enemies. Eliminate SPCA & Economic Development. Cut Public Safety (Barry Janney) by 10%. Welcome to Smipkin Island, Frances.

  19. There is no doubt that our Nation at all levels is facing an economic crisis and action is needed now to avoid terrible results. I applaud the actions of Jim Mullin and Mike Dunn for proposing significant cuts in the County budget. Our efforts will awaken the public and hopefully this action will translate into similar action in Congress in Washington DC. Let’s get behind the is move.

  20. Frances(Ted),
    This is coming from the likes of people who wanted open discuss of issues and transparency from the previous central committee. You can not have it both ways. You are getting exactly what you wanted. They always say be careful of what you wish for! My point is this whole thing in a classical example of jumping the gun. No cares that someone brought forth a plan, iy just looks bad because you just appointed a board to make recommendations. Did Mullin and Dunn vote against the commission? Did they refuse to make apppointments. No Mullin appointed a major Smipkin campaign donor. Makes sense to me…Got’ta pay to play.

    • Mr. Carabetta,
      Why would you refer to me as Ted? Frances is my name. Sir, you sound like a very angry man. I’m sorry you are so displeased with the way things have gone in the past. But I’ve always been one to just move forward. Why look in the past? You can’t change it. It is my understanding that Dunn voted against the advisory board, which what I think you meant to ask when you stated the commission. I am unaware of who donated what to any campaign, quite frankly, why does it matter if Mullin’s appointment was a donor to, what you continue to childishly call, the Smipkins? Have you even taken the time to see the work that Pipkin and Smigiel do for this county? It’s sad to me that you would not want to work with individuals who are in your party and obviously want to reduce taxes in this county.

  21. I just want to set the record straight on Senator Pipkin in regards to fiscal matters.
    1. When BG&E had a significant rate increase, Senator Pipkin went against his own party and against economic freedom in voting to mandate that citizens had to defer the large increase and pay interest on the part that was deferred. This meant that even if someone wanted to pay the costs up front to avoid huge interest payments, they were not permitted to. Most Republicans supported giving people a choice in whether or not they wanted to defer payment. Most Democrats voted the opposite way. Since Cecil County receives electric service from Delmarva, most people may be unaware of this vote. It was a vote I paid attention to because I believe it to be crucial vote in regards to economic freedom.
    2. Senator Pipkin voted for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI, Maryland’s own version of cap and trade. http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/19132/Maryland_Legislature_Forces_Governor_into_Regional_Greenhouse_Gas_Initiative.html
    3. Senator Pipkin voted to increase teacher’s pensions in 2006. Now that those same pensions are unsustainable, his solution is to pass the cost onto the local government in the form of an unfunded mandate, rather than dealing with the consequences of his and the other legislators decisions at the state level.
    4. Senator Pipkin sponsored legislation that would give arbitration rights, possibly binding arbitration rights to a select few of public safety workers in the county. This legislation had a huge price tag according to the analysis given by the state, as well as far reaching consequences regarding where the power regarding public pay and benefits would reside, with the people or with an outside arbiter and a union? It was also very inequitable to other branches of public safety within the county.

  22. Nice post Ted(Frances)! Keep believing your own fiction it is pretty funny and amusing.
    Jackie,
    Great post! It is about time that the truth gets out on the real votes and actions of the Smipkins.

  23. Jackie, thank you for “setting the record straight” on Senator Pipkin’s record on fiscal matters.

    Here is some current data to add to it. In this year’s Legislative Session, Senator Pipkin has submitted over a MILLION dollars in earmarks. (Note: these are “bond bills”, which mean the State would not be paying for them out of the General Fund, but would be bonding for them and paying principal and interest over a specified period of time. End result – these projects will cost the Maryland taxpayers FAR more than the amounts listed below):

    SB105 QA $ 25,000 Hospice of QA

    SB106 Caroline $400,000 Caroline HS Culinary Center

    SB405 QA $150,000 Kennard High School Renovation

    SB461 Kent $300,000 Camp Fairlee Manor

    SB525 QA $ 50,000 Centre for the Arts Renovation

    SB869 QA $125,000 Chesterwye Center – Jessie’s House

    SB872 Cecil $100,000 Pumpton Park Zoo – Giraffe Conservation and Education Center

    What’s ironic is that Senator Pipkin stated himself that this will be the year that legislators have “the talk” (Cecil Whig, February 3, 2011):

    “I think we’re going to talk about the size and scope of government. There is some trickery in the budget but all-in-all we’re going to have this debate as to how much government spending there should be at the state level and clearly we’ll have some discussions about taxes,” Pipkin said.

    People can say whatever you want – but if you actions don’t match your words, I believe that’s called hypocrisy.

    The good news is that local Republican leaders have agreed to hold Senator Pipkin accountable. Ted Patterson (who serves on the Cecil County Republican Central Committee) has agreed to talk to the Senator, and I am hopeful that we will see the entire Central Committee put this on their agenda as a “call to action”.

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