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From the Desk of
County Councilman Kirby Delauter

(9/2017) Recently the State of Maryland and Governor Larry Hogan announced that they were looking to private industry to assist in solving the problem of sedimentation overflowing from the Conowingo Dam in Pennsylvania downstream which eventually ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. This sedimentation that spills over the dam is so large after extreme rain events that it can be seen by satellite photos. The US Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that it will cost $3 Billion to remove excess sediment from the Dam which is far too much for the state of Maryland to assume alone. My question would be, if the dam is in Pennsylvania, why would Maryland taxpayers pay anything to have it cleaned up and sediment removed? Shouldn’t the State of Pennsylvania along with Exelon Energy ( that operates the hydroelectric plant ) assume this cost? Why Maryland?

Now if you recall, when I was a Frederick County Commissioner from 2010 – 2014 we were dealing with what was known as " The Rain Tax" from the then Governor Martin O’Malley administration. The Rain Tax was supposed to cure all issues with the Bay, IFF the state treasury could just get their hands on the excessive taxation that Gov. O’Malley and the Democrats in Annapolis were proposing. They promised if they could just get a few billion dollars out of unsuspecting Marylanders, that they would clean up the Bay once and for all. We knew that was a boldfaced lie then and with Governor Hogan now addressing the real issue, the Conowingo dam, we were correct in our justification of $0.01 fee. In Frederick county they wanted to tax you as much as $1.88 Billion over 20 years to pay for this nonsense. What did this mean for county taxpayers who own property? It meant that your tax bills would have at least tripled had this egregious unnecessary taxation taken place. So for example if your property tax bill is $3000, you could have faced a minimum of $9000 in property taxes alone right here in Frederick County. Had that happened, it would have decimated the real estate market as well as the existing home values. Those who have been lucky enough to get out at the onset would see the rest who remained watch their property values plummet due to the fact that the taxes would be unaffordable for the majority of buyers in this area. Plummeting property values would mean plummeting tax revenues for the County treasury. The economic impact of this bad proposal would have been devastating to Frederick County. The state went ahead and mandated that all counties participate in this fraud.

As a Commissioner I asked what would be the minimal amount we could impose on our property owners to comply with the state mandated fraud of the Rain Tax? The answer came from then Delegate Galen Claggett who stated, $0.01 was the minimum and that is exactly what we imposed, the bare minimum allowed by law or $0.01 one penny. Our BoCC knew this was nonsense back in 2010, seven years ago. We asked the questions for the scientific data to show that by taxing our residents into financial ruin what would be the benefit to not only Frederick County, but the Chesapeake Bay as well? The answer, nothing! The state just wanted your money, they had no solution and we knew it.

Glad to see Governor Hogan talking this issue from the point of the problem rather than trying to impose a ruse on our residents in order to collect more taxes.

On another note I’d like to congratulate the Thurmont Little League for their run at the regional Mid Atlantic World Series title. This team showed incredible character in their wins as well as their losses. Great job by the coaches, parents and the players as they represented Thurmont and Frederick County Maryland in their efforts. They reminded us that character does count.

Read other articles from Frederick County Government Officials