The Calvert County Department of Finance and Budget gave the county commissioners an overview of the latest capital improvement plan (CIP) for fiscal years 2015 through 2020. The CIP work session was conducted Tuesday, Feb. 25. The six-year plan, which covers construction, renovations and essential maintenance of various county facilities; totals over $241 million over six years.

Department of Finance and Budget Director Tim Hayden said the current plan fits within county government’s debt affordability model. The general obligation debt service as a percentage of general fund revenue has a threshold of 9.5 percent. A graph provided by the department shows the general obligation debt service peaking at 9.2 percent in fiscal year (FY) 2019.

“Staff prioritized the projects requested for the six-year plan and deferred $65.6 million worth of capital projects,” stated Capital Projects Analyst Julie Paluda.

The FY 2015 CIP staff is recommending totals $31.3 million, a $1 million decrease from what was previously proposed. The project list includes $9.3 million for public safety, $7.5 million for public works utilities, $6.6 million for education and $6.3 million for public works transportation. Most of the funding—64 percent—is from bond financing and 23 percent is from the state.

Project deferrals in the next fiscal year include $342,500 for the detention center, $490,000 for Technology Service’s Enterprise System Project and $298,700 in projects at the county-owned Chesapeake Hills Golf Course.

The presence of the latter facility, including the future plan to spend $1.3 million in renovations, prompted some lengthy discussion between staff and the county commissioners.

“I hate to bring this up,” said Commissioner Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R], who confessed the idea of the county spending big sums on the golf course “gives me indigestion. Is it ever going to end?”

In 2008 the county commissioners voted 3-to-2 to purchase Chesapeake Hills Golf Course from the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO). Clark and Commissioner Susan Shaw [R] were the two board members voting against the approximately $3 million purchase. The three commissioners who voted in favor of the transaction were not re-elected in 2010.

“I know we bought a pig in a poke,” said Clark, who added later he was mostly opposed to the selling price a majority of the board members approved.

Clark opined that he didn’t believe a lot of golf courses spend a quarter of a million dollars on addressing drainage issues.

Parks and Recreation Div