Last week the Dunkirk Area Concerned Citizens Association (DACCA) met to discuss recent developments that impact the area. First, law enforcement from the Calvert County sheriff's office came in to do some active shooter training. The training was informative and gave good advice about what to do in various scenarios.
Following the law enforcement presentation, County Commissioner Evan Slaughenhoupt, spoke about a variety of issues of concern. His first talking point was in regards to the historic Flag Barn that is located along Route 4 in Owings. The land that the barn currently sits on is in the process of being developed for commercial use, so the barn needs to go. As the barn is an important landmark in the county, local artist Terry Quinn, has offered to raise money to have the barn moved to property that has been donated to the county so the barn can have a new home along Route 4. If you would like to help in this endeavor to save a Calvert landmark you may go to http://www.rt4barn.com/
Next on the agenda was an update to the Ward Road park that is in development. The park will be located on 200 acres and will include trails, a dog park, and a variety of ball fields. The project will be completed in phases and the first phase will include roads, bathroom facilities, and the trails. The Commissioner said this portion of the project would be finished in a few years.
Then there was an explanation of the communications towers that would be built in the county. The Commissioner explained that these towers are a matter of public safety and need to be installed to assist law enforcement making calls. He explained that there are currently areas of the county that when the police need backup assistance they simply don't have radio contact because of a lack of communications towers, which is unacceptable. The additional benefit of these towers is they will be county owned and will generate income for the county.
Finally, he discussed the tax increase to county residents. He explained that the county has been struggling to make ends meet since the Great Recession occurred in 2008. At the time of the recession the county had a surplus of funds to draw from previous years but these funds are dwindling. In addition to the still sluggish economy, the state has taken away nearly 10 million dollars in funding during those years and the county has to make up for the cuts to the budget. The last time taxes were raised was in 1992 and in order to continue to provide the services our citizens need the taxes had to be raised.