Friday, March 24, 2006

Fire Dept. Poised to Blow Its Overtime Budget....Again

The County Fire Department is projected to spend more that $5 million over what it was budgeted for overtime this year.


Blue Crab Bounceback

Today's Post describes the slow rebound of the blue crab in the Chesapeake, but unfortunately it's still lower than it was 10 years ago.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Spring CLSI Poll Released

The spring 2006 version of the Center for Local Issues biennial poll has been released. According to those surveyed, "growth and overpopulation" is still the most pressing issue in the county. Yet, almost none of our local legislators are doing anything to seriously rein in "growth and overpopulation."


Fire Near Severn Run

Today's Sun reports that firefighters are battling a 60-acre blaze near the Severn Run Natural Environment Area west of Interstate 97. The fact that it has been so dry lately has dramatically increased the incidence of brush fires. If you happen to smoke, please don't throw cigarette butts out the window of your car, where they can easily ignite these difficult to control infernos.


Insult to Injury

Many people have come to know that one of the ironies of residential growth in the County is that the more you have of it, the more the County's tax base is drained. There are a couple of reasons for that, but foremost among them is simply the fact that when it comes to new development, it doesn't pay its own way. Sure, the County has some meager impact fees in place, but they cover only a fraction of the real cost of accomodating new development.

Did you know that in 1999, the County Executive brought in an impact fee expert from Florida, and appointed a Committee to study raising impact fees? Did you know that he recommended that the County raise its impact fees to $10,518 to cover the real costs of new roads, school space, libraries, parks, and public safety service increases (his recommendation made no mention of increased stormwater costs)? What did the Owens' administration choose to do? It chose to set it at less than half that much, $4,069. Translated, that means that in 2000, roughly, for every new home built in the County, existing residents were subsidizing it to the tune of about $6,000. The failure of this Administration to take leadership on this issue has cost the County millions of dollars, and promises to cost it tens of millions more in the future.

Just imagine, as 5 to 10 thousand more homes are built in west county, what sort of unpaid bills that saddles existing Anne Arundel County residents with. Which of our candidates running for Executive and County Council, will make this important issue a keystone of their campaign?

[Wednesday's Sun reported that Director of Planning & Zoning, Joe Rutter is concerned about the costs of new west county development, and has recommended going to the feds for help. Perhaps he should approach his boss about the shortfall on the County's end to assist the process.]


Monday, March 13, 2006

Who Puts the "Boom" in Boomtown

A good piece in the Post about the coming explosion of growth and population in west county.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

911 Disconnect?

An astute reader recently turned me on to a disturbing series of events. Yvette Beakes, a Glen Burnie resident, was abducted and murdered in 2001. A witness to the abduction called 911, but miscommunication by the County call center resulted in the information never making its way to police. The County's defense? "As harsh as it may be, the Constitution simply doesn't impose on government a duty to provide any sort of minimal service to its citizens," offered Assistant County Attorney Andrew J. Murray. That's right, according to the County, a police officer witnessing a crime in progress has no obligation to assist a victim unless s/he has actually agreed to help.

Faced with the County's preposterous defense, the judge hearing the case put it best, "I don't want to go to Anne Arundel County anymore. I'm afraid to go to Anne Arundel County." Does the Administration think this ridiculous legal strategy is good for the morale of our men and women in blue, or the sense of security of our citizenry?


Thursday, March 02, 2006

County Executive News

Apparently, County Councilwoman Barbara Samorajczyk (D) has thrown her support behind George Johnson (D) in the County Executive race, declining to enter the race herself.

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The Tale of Annapolis Middle School

Recently, the Post did a piece on Annapolis Middle School, an institution so underutilized that it's currently at about 1/3 capacity. The article talks about possibly bringing a college-preparatory program offered by International Baccalaureate to the school in an effort to attract the children of affluent Annapolitans, who can now most often be found at St. Mary's, Key, Severn, Spalding, Annapolis Area Christian, or some other private college-prep school.

There's another opportunity to Cheer students at Annapolis Middle on March 15th. Join Head Cheerleader Jennifer Reed and other supportive Annapolitans in cheering on students as they head into the first of 4 days of Maryland State Assessment testing. The event begins at 7:30am, and will last until 8:05. For more information, contact Jennifer at 410-279-6688.

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