To the progress being made in the future of the Family Education Center in Elkton. This week, the Maryland Rural Development Corporation agreed to lease the center from the town starting in October as it looks to find its footing following Cecil College’s decision to end its involvement with the center at the end of the year. Cecil College has operated the center in partnership with the Maryland Family Network for more than 25 years. But the college announced in April that it planned to end this arrangement due to the loss of a grant as well the continued financial uncertainty surrounding the center’s primarily grant-funded services. The center currently serves more than 70 children from ages 6 weeks to 5 years old and their families through preschool and preK classes as well as parenting and GED classes. MRDC already rents space in the center for one of its Head Start programs, which promotes school readiness for children from birth to age 5. While the MRDC will maintain the building, all parties are still searching for another group to fund and operate the Early Head Start classes. Hopefully that step will come soon.
To the county council’s decision to reject recommended salary increases for council members and the county executive. We advocated against the measure earlier this year, even though it was a relatively small amount of $2,000 each annually, because the sum failed to achieve the goals it set out to achieve: attract qualified candidates and remain competitive with similar jurisdictions. An additional $2,000 a year — before taxes — would surely not draw more qualified candidates for an already taxing and often thankless position. Meanwhile, a review of other charter counties found the salaries in line with similar-sized colleagues. At the core of the positions is a desire to serve the public. Councilwoman Joyce Bowlsbey perhaps said it best when she said, “None of us are here for the money.” The $12,000 a year can be better spent elsewhere.
To Elkton’s newest promotional stunt: A well-crafted music video set to Justin Timberlake’s summer anthem “Can’t Stop the Feeling” that features the vibrancy and character of the county seat’s government and downtown businesses. The town has taken its lumps over the last decade, but the music video, which features a montage of dancing and lip synching, could help change some of the perceptions around Elkton. The video’s premiere last week drew more than 100 people, who celebrated the final product together. We watched the video this week and were impressed by what the town was able to produce. Keep up the good work!