On September 16, the Calvert Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and Sheriff Mike Evans met at Asbury’s Riverfront Restaurant for breakfast with the Calvert county Chamber of Commerce. Questions proffered by the Chamber centered on what the commissioners were doing to help spur the economy and get the budget back in balance.
Commissioner President Steve Weems said changes to the TDR’s (transferable development rights) are in the process of being changed to help with residential growth.
Commissioner Pat Nutter wished that the government wouldn’t move so slow, but sometimes it is necessary because you have to have time to study the subject and get all the facts, which can take more than a week.
Commissioner Mike Hart spoke on what will help business growth is residential development. Businesses want to see a certain population base. And Pat Nutter added that this could pave the way for more affordable housing in Calvert.
Commissioner Slaughenhoupt said work is underway to develop Armory Square into a mixed use, walkable area, with a community center and other amenities. The county has come up with business incentives that will need approval by the state legislature before they can be instituted. He also said the BOCC is under tremendous pressure to raise taxes.
Commissioner Pat Nutter said the county is under a lot of pressure to fulfill the state mandates with taxes and Slaughenhoupt added that the commissioners sent a letter to the state delegation detailing the pressures from the state.
The BOCC will be working with the Governor’s Office in the coming months on unfunded mandates from Annapolis. They are also working on text amendments to make it easier for businesses to locate in the county. Parking regulations are also being reworked to make it easier for businesses coming to Calvert.
Commissioner Hart remarked that the good schools in Calvert are now less of a selling point since nearby school districts have improved.
Regarding declining public school enrollment and how you can keep young people here in the county, Commissioner Tom Hejl said some years Calvert has seen no growth, which is not good. We have to change that direction. We have started moving in that direction but it won’t happen overnight. He said young people can’t live in Calvert County because housing is too expensive.
Commissioner Pat Nutter alluded to the fact that society has also changed. Young people want to locate in more urban areas like Annapolis and Alexandria, rather than rural ones like Calvert County.
Sheriff Evans was asked what his Office was doing to better inform businesses in the county regarding what was happening. He said his office has taken to Facebook, Twitter and Nixle. For anyone with a cell phone, the Nixle Alerts come in to the phone, when the person signs up for the service. The service is free. He added if anyone has any other ideas, please let the Sheriff’s Office know.
Margit Miller / Calvert Beacon