Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III traveled to Oxon Hill High School Jan. 28 for the first of three public hearings to provide an overview of the proposed fiscal year 2015 budget to residents and to hear their input on the proposal.

At the Oxon Hill High hearing, which was attended by about 40 people, Baker told the audience to feel free to “express concerns.” In attendance were County Council Chairman Mel Franklin and Councilman Obie Patterson of District 8.

Author, poet and public speaker Sistah Joy Alford advocated for the arts.

“As a poet and literary activist, we should all have opportunities to be involved in the arts,” she said.

Jacqueline Goodall of Forest Heights said she was concerned about pedestrian safety.

“As far as safety goes, we need to ensure that we get some sidewalks alongside Livingston Road, between Oxon Hill and 210,” Goodall told the audience.

Prince George’s County officials, like most other jurisdictions, are grappling with how to address increased demand for services from residents at a time when resources have dwindled.

The next county budget hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School in Upper Marlboro. The third budget hearing will be held February 12 at 7 p.m. at Laurel High School in Laurel

Citizens interested in testifying are encouraged to pre-register by calling (301)952-4547. or may go on line and register at

Speakers will be limited to three minutes. The hearings will be streamed live on the county’s website at on the dates scheduled. For more information on the county budget process, visit

Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell attended a public hearing on the schools’ $1.75 billion FY 2015 budget Jan. 27 in Upper Marlboro. The schools budget would fund school reform, pump up creative and performing arts and foreign language programs and provide more money for career development and improved compensation for teachers.

Hearings will be held on Feb. 19 and 25 at 7 p.m. at the Sasscer Building in Upper Marlboro. Anyone interested in speaking is asked to call 301-952-6115 by 4:30 p.m. on hearing day. Speakers are limited to three minutes.

On the county’s website, last year’s Council Chair Andrea C. Harrison urged residents in 2014 to get involved in the budget process.

“The enduring legacy of a democracy is shaped by the key contributions of the people,” she wrote. “Council budget processes and decisions should reflect the will of the people we serve in Prince George’s County, making your participation as citizens vitally important.”

Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer