Gouge, university discuss extension service cuts Commissioner presents county's case

September 30, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

County Commissioner Julia W. Gouge and other members of the Maryland Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources' advisory committee met with University of Maryland officials in College Park Tuesday to discuss how cuts to the Cooperative Extension Service budget would affect Carroll and other counties.

As an elected official, Ms. Gouge serves as a committee member at-large.

"I brought the perspective of, 'if the cuts would come, what that would do in the local office,' " she said. "I told them where we stood as a county as far as agriculture, that we had a lot of land preserved and other general information."

Carroll County's Cooperative Extension office and others statewide fall under the jurisdiction of the University of Maryland.

However, Ms. Gouge said she also understood the financial plight of the county, state and federal agencies that pay for extension services.

"They [the University of Maryland system] could possibly pick up too much deficit," she said.

Two scenarios have been proposed for balancing the school's budget after the anticipated state cuts. One would cut 15 percent of the MIANR budget, while the other would reduce it by 50 percent.

Extension officials have said the second option would force them to close their doors.

Ms. Gouge said she felt Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg and Board of Regents vice chairman Roger Blunt were receptive to the committee's comments.

"[Mr. Blunt] said, 'If we had not heard from you as an organization, we would have thought the cuts don't mean anything,' " Ms. Gouge said. "He agreed that it was very important that [agricultural] research and services to the people stayed an integral part of the overall scheme.

"We all came away with the feeling that we had been heard completely."

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