The over 500 Calvert Marine Museum Volunteers were honored Tuesday at the Calvert County Board of County Commissioner’s meeting.

“We do appreciate all that you volunteers do. You’re a gem.” Commissioner Catherine Grasso said.

“These people are there every day just like a job. Thank you so much for what you do. Tomorrow night at the dinner you’ll hear about the thousands of hours the volunteers put in each year.” Commissioner President Earl F.  Hance stated.

Commissioner Mike Hart will be taking part in a worthy fundraiser Sunday at the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Prince Frederick. Residents can go on the Recreation and Parks website for more information. Plastic ducks can be purchased, and a duck race will begin at 3:30 p.m. Prices range from $5-$6 and those sponsoring a duck do not need to be present at the day of the race. Sponsors can purchase ducks straight from the website.

“I predict record ratings for this one.” Hart said.

All proceeds from this event will go towards the Therapeutic Recreation Scholarship Fund which provides financial assistance to individuals with special needs to attend life-enriching Therapeutic Recreation programs, as stated on the website. 

Director of Finance and Budget Sharon Strand presented information on a slight increase for property owners who split their yearly payments into two installments.

“In the past we’ve sent out two tax bills. About six years ago we started sending out one bill,” Strand said. “We still do receive checks and those come through the treasury’s office. It does take time to process those.

“As we see interest rates rise, it’s a positive for the county. We’re trying to account for that three month period where we don’t see that interest rate rise. We only send out the one tax bill now for the primary [residence]. There are two coupons on the annual bill. Most do take advantage of the two installments.”

“I don’t like putting my cost on someone else but there’s no getting around those property taxes.” Commissioner Mike Hart stated from the panel.

Hart made a motion to approve the service charge rate. It will impact each the Calvert County property tax payer by $.21 cents to the second installment. Overall, the fees will generate $5,688 for the county.

Grasso was opposed to the adjustment.

A Consolidated Transportation Priorities slide was presented by Jessica Gaetano, Acting Planner III. The request is for over $5 million dollars for the fiscal year 2024-2029.

It’s been requested that planning and design continue to plan to work on the Thomas Johnson Bridge.

“Do you ever get a reason why they’re not moving on this, because there are safety concerns.” Grasso said.

Hart said he had heard that there was talk about it becoming a toll bridge.

“Maryland will tell you as they’ve told us that it’s not a priority.” Hance said. “The problem is the roads on the other side [St. Mary’s].”

“We were actually asked to remove it from our list.” Gaetano said.

The commissioner’s quickly advised Gaetano not to remove the Thomas Johnson Bridge project.

State highway and MDOT is taking the initiative to put up traffic lights along Calvert County. Minor priorities include shoulder improvements on MD 258 and MD 4 intersection, Lusby Town Center Streetscape, cross walk installation at MD 2/4 and Sherry Land and the MD 765 sidewalk extensions.

The project at Mount Harmony Road does not yet have a clear-cut end date in sight.

Public Comment

Stacy Tayman presented an inspiring summary of just how important the education support professionals are to the county, stating that “the school day doesn’t happen without us.”

“Most of us make less than 30 thousand [dollars] a year,” Tayman said. “The current budget threatens the future of our staff. The board of county commissioner’s budget has caused anxiety. I would urge you to go with the proposed budget that Dr. Townsel has put forth.”  

Calvert resident, Joseph Cormier called in to encourage the commissioners to “invest in our students, in education.”

“There have been meetings for over a year now,” Cormier stated. “I would encourage you to invest in our students. We invest in trees [and such], let’s invest in education.”  

Comments can still be voiced. April 4th is the deadline for written comments on the Board of Education budget.

“We won’t adopt the final budget until June,” Hance reminded the room. “Tonight we will take comments. The next public hearing is scheduled for May 16th. That will be your opportunity to comment on the budget as we propose it. There can be major changes from what staff proposes to where it ends up. The history of this board is we try to be fair. We’re asking you to be patience as we work through it.”

The final adoption of FY2024 budget is tentatively set for Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

The commissioners ended the meeting as they always do – with unique comings and goings for the weekend. Some attended the soil conservation 75th anniversary dinner and recognized James and Jennifer Dowell for the wonderful job they’re doing.

Grasso recognized Whole Soul Wellness Studio, a new therapeutic and wellness center owner and operated by Registered Massage Therapist, Jennifer Garner. It’s located at 14350 Solomons Island Road, Suite 202-B. Grasso also wished the Loveless family sincere condolences at the loss of Richard Loveless.

Commissioner Mark C. Cox Sr. and Commissioner Todd Ireland spent some time at with the Lions Club and Ireland also shared the remarkable recovery of Calvert County retired school teacher Cindy Horsman, who recently underwent brain surgery and was back home within 48 hours.

“I was shocked when Todd [Ireland] shared that with me,” Hance stated. “I’m amazed by modern medicine. We want to send her our thoughts and a speedy recovery.”

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