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Nonprofit organizations that provide essential county services are under attack by three of our five St. Mary’s County commissioners. Some of these 26 organizations, like Three Oaks Men Shelter, St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen, Walden Sierra and The Arc of Southern Maryland, provide a vital safety net for county residents in need. Other organizations, like Greenwell Foundation, Historic Sotterley, Historic St. Mary’s City Foundation and the St. Mary’s County Historical Society preserve our cultural past and promote tourism to the county. The River Concert Series and the oyster festival are attended by thousands of county and noncounty residents and make our area unique. The Southern Maryland Higher Education Center allows county residents to acquire advanced degrees or improve their work skills without having to leave the county. Enhancing the quality of life in St. Mary’s County, promotes the recruitment and retention of those working for our defense companies. It also encourages individuals to retire in this beautiful county.

These nonprofit organizations receive only a small portion of their budgets from the county. However, they use these fund to show our government’s support so they can apply for other noncounty funding. All of these nonprofits are generously supported by county individuals and groups who contribute both financially and by volunteering their time.

Last year St. Mary’s County had a $30 million budget surplus. Commissioners Larry Jarboe, Cindy Jones and Dan Morris have started the process to stop all funding of these agencies even though these funds are a minimal percentage of the overall county budget.

These public tax funds belong to all of us and not to the county commissioners. They were elected to make St. Mary’s County a better place to live and not to promote their personal political philosophies that are out of step with our generous community. Once our community can organize and vote them out of power, the damage will already be done.

If you are a nonprofit organization’s financial supporter, volunteer or just a concerned county resident, please contact Commissioners Jarboe, Jones and Morris and express your dissatisfaction with their actions and tell them to restore and increase funding to these essential county organizations.

James S. Bershon, Leonardtown