LETTER TO THE EDITOR
As then President of the Drum Point Property Owners Association (DPPOA), I signed and forwarded a petition for Special Tax District (STD) IV to the BOCC in the spring of 2009. More than 20 volunteers spent over 4 months preparing that petition. On June 16, a public hearing was held so the Drum Point community could make comments to the BOCC on the proposed projects and expenses of a new STD IV. On June 23, at its regular meeting, the BOCC voted unanimously to amend the expiring STD III, extending it three years and reducing the annual levy to just $50 per lot per year. I have some questions the community might like answered.
Why did the BOCC vote for the STD III amendment instead of the petitioned STD IV which was presented and discussed at the meeting? Why was DPPOA and the community not notified of the changed proposal to be voted? There was no budget or use of funding to accompany the STD III amendment. Why was there no public hearing for the voted STD III amendment?
The June 23 resolution called for a new operating agreement between DPPOA and the county within 60 days. The existing STD III agreement expired December 31, 2009. Why is there still no new agreement? There is no STD III budget. There is no STD III projects list. Why did the BOCC wait until December to meet with DPPOA to begin discussions on an agreement?
Between June and November the BOCC dictated several spending decisions through its staff, but refused to discuss the matter directly with members of the Board of DPPOA. These arbitrary decisions were never justified as to reason. DPPOA has not been accused of any wrong doing—Nor did it commit any. Why is the BOCC now micro-managing each expenditure of the STD after 12 years of cooperative and (more than) effective use of STD funds?
One of the staff dictates was to limit STD "administration expenses" to just 15% of the total STD budget. This was said to be "normal" for a grant program. The Maryland Code providing for STDs is not a grant program, but is a tax levy initiated by the community for the benefit of the community. WHY should STDs be treated like a grant program? There are other STDs in Calvert County; are they also being treated like grants now?
DPPOA has shown 12 years of continued and excellent STD community asset maintenance, storm and hurricane repair and many improvement expenses, all budgeted and approved by the proper county departments of Public Works and Finance. Why does the BOCC now believe that STD money cannot be spent on anything but roads (and now storm water management) projects? The Maryland Code Title 4 clearly states that the tax levy may be used for "other community wide amenities and other special privileges or benefits." Why won't the BOCC allow repairs to our storm damaged beach?
The STD III Contract/Agreement signed 11 January 2005 "applies the (STD) revenue to improvements of roads and other amenities in the subdivision." These same basic terms have been in place and approved by the BOCC for three consecutive STDS for over 12 years with all proposed expenditures shown in the petition exhibits. Why is DPPOA unjustifiably restricted from repairing its lake access, boat ramp and other common properties (amenities) which are allowed by state law and by contract?
I have just reviewed a draft of the county's proposed STD III (amended) agreement with DPPOA. It includes a new section IV, mandate to bring some selected Drum Point roads up to county standards and to turn them over to Calvert County. There is nothing stated as to how DPPOA will provide for the remainder of roads that BOCC does not want. BOCC just wants the best apples of the tree. The Drum Point community has consistently voted over many years to retain ownership and maintenance of its own roads. Why does the BOCC think it has the power to mandate turnover of private property to government ownership against the much documented will of the community?
Drum Point roads are among the best private roads in the county. Compare them to the county built "district" roads in White Sands or the STD funded roads in CRE. All construction and paving of DPPOA roads were accomplished under county Dept. of Public Works standards and inspections. Guard rails and other safety features are installed per Board of Education guidelines. Dry hydrants were recently installed for use by and under the direction of the local fire departments. Why should Drum Point property owners be forced into a new "road district" costing upwards of $2 million to finance upgrades to roads that already comply with 12 years of standardizing?
I do not understand the BOCC stance against DPPOA. They have reversed a 12 year relationship with the Drum Point community. Is the CRE next on their STD hit list? After just reducing our STD the BOCC wants to add over $2 million to our burden. The BOCC wants to take our roads at our expense. I am a taxpayer and a registered voter. This is an election year. The BOCC is not explaining its actions. The BOCC is unjustified in its treatment of DPPOA. Why would any Drum Point property owner vote for any of the sitting Board of County Commissioners?
Drum Point, Md.