CUMBERLAND — Allegany County officials signed a contract Thursday with racing promoter Todd Brode, which will keep dirt track auto racing in Cumberland for three more years.
Brode’s group, The Greater Cumberland Raceway, managed dirt track racing at the Allegany County Fairgrounds since the 2017 season under a three-year deal that expired in October.
At Thursday’s regular Allegany County meeting, the board of commissioners voted unanimously to extend Brode’s group another three-year contract. The county opened the promoter’s position for bid but ultimately decided to retain Brode’s services.
“We did a request for proposals and had an incumbent race team apply,” said Brandon Butler, county administrator. “We entered into contract negotiations and it will be for three racing seasons with a number of options thereafter with Mr. Todd Brode as promoter and operator.”
County Commission President Jake Shade said, “We are happy to be having racing back at the fairgrounds. Thank you, Mr. Brode, for all your work and involvement over the last three years.”
Brode spoke to the Times-News after the meeting.
“We’re happy to be back,” said Brode. “I thank the county.
“You will see good racing in a family atmosphere. This year will probably have one of the most aggressive schedules we’ve ever did. We got seven or eight different touring series that are going to come starting with our first race on April 4 and we will run until the end of October.”
Brode said there have been numerous equipment purchases as well as repair and upgrades at the fairgrounds designed to improve the fan experience.
“I see it growing,” said Brode. “We see a lot of younger kids coming out. We want kids to get involved with racing and keep them off the streets. It’s all about the kids.
“We are trying to get more series in and bigger paying races where the guys based around the country can come to Cumberland and race like they did 15 to 20 years ago.”
In other news from Thursday’s meeting, a two-year labor agreement was reached between the county and the 911 communications staff, who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees trade union local 1521 which has approximately 24 members.
“This contract is a good start,” said Matt Ross, local 1521 president, after the meeting. “The county will be conducting a wage study and we will come back and look at (the results) and in two years we will see where we are at.”
The county commissioners voted Thursday to issue a request for proposal for a “classification and compensation study for Allegany County government.” The study will compare county employee salaries and benefits to other government workers in Maryland and the surrounding region to determine how they contrast with their counterparts.
Follow staff writer Greg Larry on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.