The board of Carroll County commissioners unanimously voted in open session Thursday to pass the English language ordinance.
Commissioner Doug Howard said that although he would not have chosen to bring this ordinance forward, that he was voting in favor of the ordinance because essentially county government is already conducting its business in English anyway.
"It would be silly to suggest that what is being proposed is not already policy," Howard said.
Commissioner Haven Shoemaker, who proposed the ordinance in September, said that the ordinance is a "no brainer".
"There’s nothing unusual, despite the characterizations, there’s nothing radical about having English designated as our official language," Shoemaker said. "Thirty-one states have already taken that action, two counties in Maryland have done it and you know world-wide, 92 percent of nations have designated an official language."
Additionally, Shoemaker said, he believes it will offer savings to the taxpayers. He used the example of the school system providing interpreters at parent teacher conferences to show costs that are associated with providing services in multiple languages.
"This is one example of where we've gone as a society," Shoemaker said. "We're at a point where we ought to be encouraging people to assimilate."
A public hearing was held in December at which dozens of citizens shared their position on the ordinance. Some who spoke out against the ordinance said they were concerned that the ordinance seemed discriminatory and anti-multicultural.
“This is the opposite of global citizenship,” Roxanna Harlow, an education professional, testified at the public hearing. “It makes it more difficult to create a more harmonious school environment … [more difficult] to be competitive and comfortable in a competitive marketplace.”
Some of those in favor of the ordinance said it is a preventative move so costs don't become an issue in the future.
Commissioner Robin Frazier said that passing the ordinance is a matter of saving tax dollars and the economy.
"This ordinance puts into law what the county has been doing by policy for years," Frazier said. "This has nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with what’s best for our citizens and economy."
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