By KEN ROSSIGNOL
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Never let it be said that a Republican politician will turn down country club Republicans who want to have their turn in tapping the public dole while at the same time bemoaning government giveaways. That is precisely the case of Senator Jack Bailey (Republican, St. Mary’s) and a $500,000 giveaway to the Breton Bay Country Club located near Leonardtown.
The Breton Bay Country Club has a pond that collects water from runoff from its fields, fairways and parking lots, and hundreds of nearby homes. The justification for hitting up the taxpayers of Maryland for a half-million bucks to repair the dam that holds back the water in the retention pond and keeps the water and soil sediment from pouring into Cherry Cove and Breton Bay is one of protecting the environment. Save the Bay! Like we have never heard that one before.
What else does the pond do? The pond that needs more than a million dollars to fix the damn dam wall also provides the water for the golf course’s irrigation. That means that the water is essential to keep the greens green and the cash register for tee times ringing out the Caching!
Senator Bailey’s bond bill for the pond dam repair will also hit the taxpayers of St. Mary’s as the bill anticipates that the fools of the St. Mary’s Board of County Commissioners will cough up the balance needed. Apparently, the all-Republican Commissioner board is ready to approve the local tax dollars if the bond bill is passed.
THE BAILEY BOND BILL ADMITS THE REAL DEAL IS FOR IRRIGATION OF PRIVATE GOLF COURSE
“Repair and Restoration of the reservoir dam that is central to the golf course’s irrigation. This dam serves as channel protection for Cherry Cove and Breton Bay. The reservoir provides for stormwater runoff and management for the surrounding community.”
HANDOUT TO GOLFERS’ LOOMS IN ST. MARY’S COUNTY COMMISSIONER’S BUDGET
The cost to repair the dam is estimated to be $1,3 million with the proposal pending with the St. Mary’s Commissioners, as explained in the Bailey Bond Bill pending in Annapolis as stated below:
“We are providing you with this information to support our request for state funding to repair a dam/reservoir on our golf course property. $750,000 has been requested and is pending before the County Commissioners as they review and approve their upcoming budget. These supplemental funds from the county in addition to the funding from this LBI would cover the cost of the repair almost in its entirety.”
SEN. BAILEY SAYS TAXPAYERS MUST BE ROBBED, OR THE AREA WILL SPIN INTO DEPRESSION
The supporting statements in the bond bill proposal for the gift to the country club so it won’t have to raise membership fees or green fees threaten that if the funds are stolen from the public treasury, then the golf club could close down tighter than a spinster’s purse in church and cause a calamity of never-before-seen economic disaster. Property values will drop in the area if the golf course shuts down, which will have a dire impact on property values and then cause taxes from real estate to drop like a rock, thereby sinking the St. Mary’s County economy.
The Bailey Golf Course Bond Bill also cites the failure of the St. Mary’s County good old boy commissioners over the years to address stormwater runoff as new homes were built correctly. In actuality, the statement by Bailey is false on its face, as the pond collection system was precisely the proper way to retain stormwater runoff from surrounding homes. The problem is that fixing the dam is maintenance, and no adequate method of providing funds for the maintenance of the pond and dam was offered by way of setting up a homeowner’s association.
BAILEY BOND BILL IS NO REMEDY FOR FAILING TO ESTABLISH A SPECIAL TAXING DISTRICT
In other areas where roads, seawalls, or other community-wide projects are deemed needed, the St. Mary’s Board of Commissioners set up Special Taxing Districts. The district defined the area served and established the rate paid by homeowners in the district until the cost was paid. The justification in the Bailey Bond Bill falsely states that there were no homes built near the golf course when in reality, the golf course and dozens of homes were built at the same time in the Society Hill community.
“The reservoir and ponds on the golf course currently provide stormwater management and channel protection for Cherry Cove and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The reservoir accepts substantial stormwater runoff from the surrounding community, which has contributed to the dam’s failure. When the golf course was developed over 50 years ago, there were no homes adjacent to it.”
According to sales ads for the Breton Bay community placed in local newspapers by the Waring Associates, the golf course was built along with waterfront access and boat ramps as part of the sales of building lots and new homes in the Society Hill subdivision of Breton Bay. Additional lots on Cherry Cove and new sections of Breton Bay were approved over the past fifty years by St. Mary’s County. The St. Mary’s Board has formed special taxing districts to build seawalls, finish roads that the county allowed builders to get away with failing to complete, and extend sewer lines.
When most residents in a proposed taxing district sign up for the county to approve the project, the cost is repaid by an annual assessment in the real estate property tax of each property owner.
The existence of a debt for the special taxing district is revealed to a new owner of a property at settlement and stated in a title examination.
Examples of Special Taxing Districts are those for the revetment at Breton Beach, Jefferson Island, and Tall Timbers, along with Special Taxing Districts to fix roads in the Spring Valley in 1978; and others in Longview Beach and Mulberry South Taxing District at Breton Bay, which was approved in 1995.
The St. Mary’s Commissioners established a Special Taxing District for Rosebank Village to pave Rosebank Court in 1995 at the cost of $106,000.
A Special Taxing District was established to control erosion at Hollywood Shores and completed in 1996.
On March 18, 1995, the St. Mary’s Board of County Commissioners approved the establishment of a Special Taxing District to construct and improve Golf Course Drive of Wicomico Shores Subdivision from the intersection with Golf Course Drive to the intersection of Lake Drive North, a distance of approximately 2,700 feet.