Why I am running for County Council? The short answer is that I want to make Talbot County a place my two young sons can call home for a lifetime.
I was born and raised in Talbot County and have spent my entire life on the Eastern Shore. My mother is a retired public-school teacher and my father is a retired physician. I attended Talbot County Schools and graduated from Salisbury University. My wife, Abbie, and I are the proud parents of two sons who attend Chapel District Elementary School. I am a small business owner that serves the people and businesses of our community. On evenings and weekends you can usually find me on the ball field, volunteering for the Bryan Brothers Foundation or Easton Lions Club, or spending time outside with my boys.
I couldn’t be more invested in Talbot County. My roots run deep, and I am committed to preserving everything we love about our community while moving it forward so that we don’t fall short of our immense potential.
There is a way we can preserve our rural character and heritage while fostering and encouraging the right kind of economic development for our County. Economic development does not mean cutting down all of our trees and allowing rampant construction and sprawl. It means investing in our County – its infrastructure and people – so we can remain competitive and ensure that there are jobs and opportunities for our children in their hometown.
We need to better utilize and invest in the infrastructure we already have. Let’s revitalize Cordova, Trappe, Queen Anne, Tilghman and Wye Mills that are brimming with potential. Let’s repurpose and redevelop existing commercial space in Easton to make it more attractive to businesses and organizations of all sizes. Let’s also commit to providing rural broadband internet access to every home and business in Talbot County.
We need to invest in our schools and our teachers so that we are offering a first-class education for every child in our County. We also need to expand our priorities and reinvest in vocational education, apprenticeship programs, and job retraining to develop a highly capable and skilled workforce that is attractive to employers.
All of this is possible. All it takes is citizens coming together as problem solvers, not problem identifiers, and not worrying about who gets the credit.
As an involved citizen, I had become increasingly aware of the budget pressures being put on the County. Following the recession of 2008 and its aftermath, it has become harder for the County fully fund its priorities, especially public safety and critical capital projects and infrastructure improvements. After several conversations with friends, colleagues and community leaders, it was clear to me and others that something had to be done. So, we went to work with the goal of finding a solution that would protect our property tax revenue cap and the low taxes we enjoy and generate the revenues needed to keep our County safe. That solution was created through Referendum 262, which is now Question A on the ballot.
I am proud to be part of the coalition of organizations and individuals that developed Referendum 262 – the only proposal that was supported by the Talbot County Taxpayers’ Association and Talbot County Teachers’ Association, and later by all ten candidates for County Council.
Question A preserves our Property Tax Revenue Cap and raises the amount that can be raised from real property tax revenues each year from 2% to 2.5% and also adds an extra 1 cent for the next four years to allow us to catch up on funding critical priorities.
If passed, Question A will allow us to modernize emergency services and achieve target response times to every corner of the County. It will allow us to recruit, train and retain the best public safety professionals. It will allow us to make our schools safer by placing more police officers in our schools. It will allow us to provide rural broadband access to every home and business in our County. It will fund critical investments in our County infrastructure, such as roads, and also lower the long-term borrowing costs for school construction and other large-scale capital projects. Question A is good for Talbot County.
I am encouraged by the great things that can happen in our County when we work together as neighbors to make our future brighter, and this is why I am running for County Council.
I am honored to be endorsed by a diverse group of citizens represented by the Talbot County Teachers Association, Talbot County Chamber of Commerce, Talbot County Farm Bureau and the Mid Shore Board of Realtors. I would also appreciate your vote on November 6th.
Frank Divilio is a Republican candidate for the Talbot County Council.