Letter to Editor - Commissioners have failed us

To the Editor:

Sadly, our county commissioners are not doing the job their positions stipulate. They are not acting in the best interest of Calvert County's citizens, who elected them in office. Many of their decisions and behaviors draw the suspicion that they act only as agents for the government itself, or that of financiers on Wall Street, who are trying to take advantage of Calvert County's citizens. What makes it worse, is that these commissioners seem to dishonor the very citizens, the actual producers of wealth, who work, provide, sacrifice, and toil their lives for their families and fund the government through their taxes, but seem only to honor, protect and reward the county government.

They have failed us with a complete lack of leadership by providing only one proposed budget with property tax and income tax increases. They have failed us by not fighting for us, the people, by bringing new, or old, ideas to the table to reduce spending. Such as arguing to reduce the health care subsidy we pay for county employees, which stands currently at 80% of the heath care premium. To also argue to reduce the level of pension contributions and have the employee bear more of their retirement burden, as do those in the private sector.

To put this into focus, as an example, let's say a county employee has a family of four and the health care plan cost is $1000 per month. The county pays $800 for that employee, the employee pays only $200 while a majority in the private sector would have to budget and pay maybe $600, or up to the entire $1000. Yet there has been no discussion to reduce the current subsidy level.

There are also the non-county agency expenditures. As the name implies these are not government agencies, rather, private organizations. It is proposed, this fiscal year, to give away over $1.1 million to organizations outside of government, such as $352,850 to Annmarie Garden. Solomons Annual Events get $9630. Saint Mary's College receives $7000 from us. And the ARC of Southern Maryland gets $332,222, just to name a few of the twenty-nine private organizations listed. Yet, no mention of greatly reducing or eliminating these expenditures, laudable as they may said to be.

Regardless of political fault, the private sector working people in this country have seen their wages decrease and living expenses increase, benefits reduced or terminated, or their jobs completely eliminated. Many of these people, in order to survive, must seek out a second, sometimes a third job in order to make ends meet. Calvert County is not immune from these harsh economic realities. Yet our county commissioners seem not to care or are oblivious. Government must grow, seems the rallying cry.

Next fiscal year, the property taxes from Dominion Cove Point LNG will start to be realized. Calvert County is expecting about $25 million in new additional yearly taxes, revenue. So with this fiscal year's property tax and income tax increases instituted, next fiscal year, with all things being the same, Calvert County will have excess revenue of over $25 million. There is absolutely no logic to have passed a tax increase this fiscal year when there will be more than enough additional tax revenue coming in next fiscal year. In fact, a discussion of reducing the constant yield tax rate next fiscal year could actually be a real possibility because of all that new tax revenue from Dominion Cove Point LNG.

If the job of County Commissioner to too hard for these individuals currently in office, then maybe they should resign their post. It has recently been written that for 22 years, Delegate Tony O'Donnell has been a great "Citizen Legislator". And true it is. He has accomplished many great things fighting for the citizens in his district and represented them with honor and vigor. But where are Calvert County's "citizen" commissioners? Where are the individuals that will fight for Calvert County’s citizens? Not in Prince Frederick.

Patrick Flaherty

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