Could Calvert’s new government administrative building look like this?
Prince Frederick, MD – A request for $67 million on bonding authority submitted late last year by the Calvert County Commissioners to the Calvert County Delegation to Annapolis has been drastically pared down by the chairman of the delegation. The lion’s share of the requested bonding authority–$41.9 million—is for the eventual construction of a new county administration building. That request was scuttled by Delegate Mark N. Fisher [R – District 27C] (picture, below). Also deleted from the requested bonding authority was $8.4 million for the construction of the Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter.
“The county has raised taxes twice—first on property taxes and then a second time on income taxes,” Fisher stated in a press release. “Additionally, housing values in Calvert County have steadily increased, resulting in high assessments and higher property tax bills. I simply cannot support the high level of spending in light of the tax hikes.”
Fisher has introduced House Bill (HB) 1354, Calvert County – Bonding Authority. The measure will be the subject of a hearing Tuesday, March 6 at 1 p.m. before the Maryland House Appropriations Committee.
The other members of Calvert’s delegation support the commissioners’ request.
During the commissioners’ reports segment of the board’s Feb. 27 meeting, three of the commissioners were critical of Fisher, voicing their displeasure without once mentioning him by name.
Commissioner Pat Nutter [R – District 2] pictured, left) stated he was taken aback by criticism on social media that “the county is building a ‘Taj Mahal’ and raising taxes.” Nutter, who is not seeking a third term, noted that county government needs to get out of the county courthouse will need to build new office space. He conceded he does not necessarily agree with the proposed location—Armory Square. The commissioner thanked delegates Jerry Clark [R-District 29C] and Michael Jackson [D- District 27B], who Nutter said, “had the courtesy to call” and consider the board’s request.
“We are overcrowded, we are running out of room,” declared Commissioners’ President Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. [R – District 3], adding that county government is spending $300,000 annually to lease office space. “There are better ways to do this.” Slaughenhoupt contended that county employees would work more efficiently if there was one large building for most local government operations. He added the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office also needs larger office space. “I certainly respect anyone who disagrees with that location [Armory Square]. But show me a better location.” Slaughenhoupt also commended Clark and Jackson responsiveness, observing that both have experience in local government. “This [local government] is where the rubber meets the road,” he said.
“I almost feel betrayed by one of the delegates and that’s not a good feeling,” said Commissioners’ Vice President Tom Hejl [R – At large] (pictured, right). “Sometimes others sitting in Annapolis take us lightly. I’m almost at a loss for words for what is occurring with our bond bill.
”Projects that have found favor with the delegation chairman include the Ward Park Recreation and Nature Master Plan plus several infrastructure projects in Solomons and Prince Frederick.
Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com