County Executive Hornberger Gives 2024 State of the County Address

In a positively received speech, County Executive Danielle Hornberger highlights ‘affordability, safety, and opportunity’ in State of County address.

This article first appeared in the Cecil Whig here.

Matt Hubbard mhubbard@chespub.com

CECIL COUNTY — County Executive Danielle Hornberger highlighted her efforts to ensure Cecil County is “well protected from Maryland’s storm ahead,” in last week’s state of the county address, her fourth since taking office in 2020.

The “storm” Hornberger spoke of is what she said are looming statewide economic complications.

“With budgets stretched to the max and looming county funding commitments on the horizon, local governments are in a precarious position and it is easy to see that the perfect storm is brewing,” Hornberger said.

The forecast was attributed to a Maryland Association of Counties meeting Hornberger said she attended called “Eye of the Storm.”

Reasons for economic challenges, Hornberger said, are going to be a result of state budgeting challenges and legislation like Blueprint for Maryland’s Future — an education funding plan that aims to increase education funding by $30 billion in 10 years.

However, Hornberger stated that Cecil County is in the “best position” to confront challenges like Blueprint because her administration thought ahead.

“Cecil County remains a step ahead as we have created a $10 million committed fund to ensure that Cecil County fully funds its schools without being one of the many counties experiencing historic tax increases to cover the expense,” Hornberger said.

Coupled with tax reductions, Hornberger expressed that her conservative governing principles have allowed her to give back to residents while “fully funding public infrastructure.”

Over the past three years, Hornberger has faced growing criticism from community members over her funding of Cecil County Public Schools. Many critics believe Hornberger does not fully fund all public infrastructure because she has given the state mandated minimum to CCPS the last three years.

A particular emphasis was put on affordability, safety and opportunity during this year’s state of the county address, with Hornberger explaining the three have been her administration’s guiding principles.

Tax reductions, property tax rebates, a $10,000 salary increase for public safety professionals and a diverse workforce are what Hornberger noted as being a few of her efforts to ensure that each principle was met in 2023.

“By focusing on affordability, safety and opportunity, we are ensuring that Cecil County’s quality of life positions us as the best place to live, work, raise a family and retire,” Hornberger said. “The state of our county is not only strong, but it has never been stronger.”

Hornberger highlighted numerous other wins by the county including an increase the county’s bond rating, awards for “excellence in financial reporting,” and smart economic development that benefits the county economy while preserving rural heritage.

“Our approach to government has proved to be a winning strategy,” Hornberger said.“We must keep going and we must be willing to make tough decisions that make Cecil County a leader among our peers.”


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