By Stephanie Lipcius Palko
In the mid-1990s, then-Chamber of Commerce Director Suzan Doordan started a tradition of taking a group of local officials, business people and residents down to Annapolis during the annual legislative session to make sure state elected officials learn about Cecil County.
Last week, the yearly Cecil Night in Annapolis offered local people the chance to listen to members of the Governor’s Cabinet explain key issues in the afternoon. People had the opportunity to meet with members of the state delegation during an evening reception.
Local officials agree the program is valuable.
“I see it as we’re all Cecil County,” said Rising Sun Mayor Travis Marion. “All the towns talk about their town’s needs. Last year, we were looking for $500,000 from the state for a new water line. We were able to get that water line. It all started at Cecil Night in Annapolis.”
North East town Commissioner Michael Kline said networking is a major benefit of the Cecil Night in Annapolis event.
“That’s a big part of it,” Kline said, explaining officials can meet each other and also discuss issues with people from the state.
Port Deposit Mayor Wayne Tome, Sr. agreed with the value of networking with the delegation and state officials.
With plans to further prepare Bainbridge for development, keeping in touch with state officials is important, Tome said.
“The town is on the cusp of good things,” Tome said, explaining the town is working to enforce town codes and wants to develop the downtown.
Mayor Tome said he would like to see Port Deposit get money from the nearby casino.
“We’ve always thought we should get some direct money from the casino,” Tome said, noting the town of Port Deposit is a main route to get to Hollywood Casino and Port Deposit is the same distance from the casino as downtown Perryville.
“We’re just as impacted from the casino,” Tome said, noting the many projects casino money could fund.
Tome said Worcester County’s casino has to share revenue with both Ocean City and Ocean Pines and is not located within either jurisdiction.
Tome would also like the state to help the town obtain the Donaldson Brown Center, a property the University of Maryland has declared to be surplus.
“We’d like to keep Donald Brown (center) in the public domain,” the Mayor said.
Newly-elected Chesapeake City Mayor Rich Taylor attended the afternoon briefing and the evening reception.
“It’s really helpful to hear the leadership visions for the state,” Taylor said, noting the commitment of state officials to put customer service first.
In recent years, Chesapeake City has been successful in their applications for state grants. By carefully spending the grant money, Taylor said the town has very good credibility, increasing their chances to receive grants in the future.
“We always have a need for new and replacement sidewalks,” Mayor Taylor said.
Cecil County Public Library Director Morgan Miller said it is great to see so many people from the county at the special reception.
Miller said Cecil County has a spirit of creativity and collaboration among the many political entities and organizations that is unparalleled throughout the state and Cecil Night in Annapolis allows the county to be showcased to the legislators.
As for Miller, she is hopeful to be getting news of further state funding for the new North East public library.