Board Approves Drum Point Budget Request

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Board Approves Drum Point Budget Request

Prince Frederick, MD - 7/13/2011

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By Marty Madden

A request for modifications in a spending plan submitted by the board of directors of the Drum Point Property Owners Association (DPPOA) was unanimously approved July 12 by the Calvert County Commissioners. Since the Drum Point community has Special Taxing District (STD) status, the commissioners, who granted DPPOA authority to levy an annual tax to pay for infrastructure improvements, must OK changes in the budget.

“The district’s budget is broken into three categories—administration, maintenance and capital,” Department of Finance and Budget Accountant Robin M. Jones explained in a memo to the commissioners. “In prior years the board of county commissioners had a goal to phase down the administrative costs associated with the district to about 15 percent of the annual budget. Although administration is increasing under this plan, the more significant changes of increased snow removal and project inspection funding should improve the ability of DPPOA to accomplish their mission.”

The Drum Point STD has long been a thorny issue among some of the bayside community’s residents who feel it gives government authority to DPPOA’s board of directors.

“We have reviewed this budget,” said Commissioner Evan K. Slaughenhoupt [R]. “There will always be differences with how the funds are spent.”

In his review of the budget modifications, Slaughenhoupt indicated he found less than $2,000 in line item changes.

The board of directors has been using the STD funds to make needed road and stormwater management changes within Drum Point. When the current STD was approved the county commissioners mandated the drawing down of a hefty reserve fund from previous STDs.

“Although the reserve has been drawn down, DPPOA strongly feels that the reserve needs to be maintained to fund future repaving and stormwater management projects,” Board of Directors President Gary Heal stated in a letter to the county commissioners. “DPPOA intends to bring the planned reserve forward in our next STD submission in 2012.”

“I’d like to see that administrative percentage work its way down,” said Commissioner Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R]. “You’re moving in the right direction.”

Clark, a former Drum Point resident reminded Heal and other DPPOA board members in the hearing room that his (Clark’s) philosophy on the STD is that the funds are used for road and amenities, not the administration of a “quasi government.”

Recalling some of the rancor of past STD proposals, Clark deadpanned, “you’re public hearings are such a joy.”

“You have a beautiful community,” said Commissioners’ President Susan Shaw [R]. “It has good roads and stormwater management.”

“The STD has improved the roads,” Clark added. “There always seems to be some contention, try to keep the information correct. For the most part you all do a tremendous job.”

Not everyone attending the commissioners’ meeting was pleased with the Drum Point situation. After the DPPOA directors had left the hearing room, during the meeting’s public comment segment, Drum Point resident Maria Miller expressed concerns about the autonomy the STD gives DPPOA’s board of directors.

“Not everybody has a say,” said Miller, explaining that many of the subdivision’s residents must pay the levy but cannot vote in the board of directors’ elections. “They [board of directors] control the STD money.”

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