- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
It has been a discouraging few weeks to be a senior constituent of our county commissioners.
First, several St. Mary’s County commissioners tried to further unfairly decrease the tax base by lowering property taxes for those 65 and older. What in the world were they thinking? Why try to drive a wedge through our community? No one would consider lowering property taxes for young property owners who are struggling in the current economy.
Older taxpayers (like me) are only old; we are not weak or self-centered. We have as strong a stake in this community as anyone else. I benefit when the children and grandchildren of the community are educated and cared for. I benefit when the hungry are fed, or the homeless are sheltered. I benefit when everyone has access to one of our vibrant libraries or local cultural groups.
Second, our commissioners actively discarded an offer by a soil conservation group to take steps to gain knowledge about our shoreline. Consider this — the commissioners, our government representatives charged with protecting the environmental heritage we share and will transfer on to the next generation, chose to willfully remain ignorant.
Rather than gain facts about the shoreline that could be used by future commissioners to make informed decisions to protect our soil and water, the commissioners chose the path of continued ignorance. Decisions will still need to be made, but now they will continue to be based on folklore and hunches instead of organized, objective information.
This situation reminds me of our two commissioners who apparently continue to believe in “nitrogen fairies” that will remove the pollution from our soil and bay while they resist efforts to improve sewage treatment.
One of the commissioners attempted to justify his pandering tax break for geezers by saying he wanted more retirees to settle in St. Mary’s County. I have an alternative view. How about making the county more attractive by making sound, informed decisions to maintain this land for the long term? Make decisions so our farmers have soil to plant in, and our watermen can harvest healthy food from a clean bay. Make decisions not to save a few pennies on the next tax bill, but to invest in the future.
I am happy to be getting older (considering the alternative) but I do not think this is a license to consume and waste and pass the bill on to my grandchildren.
Commissioners, listen up. Stop taking counsel from your fears of a few IRS bureaucrats with computers or professors with cameras and boats. The government is us.
Michael Hallett, Piney Point