Montgomery County is ready to move mountains to get County Executive Ike Leggett’s pet Fillmore Project built, but not for libraries. It has recently come to light that the County “found” some $3 million in additional funds for Fillmore—even though the County Executive’s office had stated more than once that the County’s financial obligation for Fillmore was capped at $4 million.
It is disturbing that only days earlier, County officials were telling residents of Silver Spring that they should be prepared to reduce their expectations for the new Silver Spring Library project by exactly the same amount—$3 million. Coincidence? We don’t think so.
The Montgomery County Library system has become, for some inexplicable reason, a target for budget cuts well beyond reasonable austerity—with 129 jobs cut this year and a 30 percent cut in funding over the past two budget cycles. If anyone in the County needs a reminder of what those cuts have cost residents, just remember that Montgomery County is the only jurisdiction in the state of Maryland that was forced to cancel its summer reading program and as a result, 23,000 children in Montgomery County were underserved over the past summer.
The Protect Your Montgomery Coalition—made up of general government workers, police officers and professional fire fighters— calls on Mr. Leggett and members of the County Council to re-examine their priorities. County residents are connecting the dots: we don’t have enough money to pay for essential services in May, but nobody is going to notice an extra $3 million to fund rock and roll just three months later?