In the Maryland Independent Aug. 7 appears an article by Paul Lagasse, “County sues over property dispute.”
The headline should have been titled, “County screws up again and spends over a million dollars of our tax money acquiring property without knowing where the right of way to it was located.”
Anyone that pays real estate taxes in Charles County should know the circumstances of how and why the county commissioners committed us to the acquisition of this property. And at what cost to all of us.
After the passing of one of the previous owners, this property was deeded on May 20, 2004, to James D. and Jill S. Kirby. The almost 34 acres, for over 40 years prior, had been mined for sand and gravel. An old house and some out buildings remained. The Kirbys destroyed the old house and buildings and built the house pictured in the Maryland Independent article. While the now deceased previous owners of the property were living, there was a verbal agreement for two homes located on the property to use a short easement across the property now owned by Bobby Mills and his daughter, Melissa. This verbal agreement occurred long before the Millses ever acquired their property. There was never a recorded easement in the land records for Charles County across the property now owned by the Millses.
If it’s not recorded on deeds and land records, it’s not an easement or right of way. You never assume anything when dealing with real estate when you are spending your own money. Our county officials should know this; obviously they don’t.
When this property was previously mined, there was an existing road easement from this property to Demarr Road. All the 10-wheel dump trucks traveled over this road loaded with aggregate. Years after the mining of the property was completed, the previous owners continued to use the same roadway to Demarr Road. After the death of one of the previous owners, the road was not maintained after the washout of a broken culvert. They still had the verbal agreement to cross the property now owned by the Millses.
A preliminary plan for light rail to White Plains gets the Charles County Government ad our unlimited tax dollars involved. They must have really thought they needed this property. On Nov. 23, 2009, the Charles County Board of Commissioners purchased this property from the Kirby’s for $856,000. The assessed value for this property in 2009 was $486,300. There went an extra $369,700 of our tax dollars.
Since 2009, the county has owned this property and has lost out on tax payments. There goes at least $6,059 (real estate taxes being paid by the Kirbys in 2009) per year for nine years and counting for a total of $54,530 in lost revenue.
The county spent all this tax money, lost all this tax revenue, find out they don’t have a recorded easement or right of way across the Mills’ property and the light rail plans to White Plains have now changed. This leaves the taxpayers with an expenditure of well over $1 million and still counting. This has been a money pit since the beginning of the county’s involvement.
What group of morons would make these kinds of decisions with our tax money? Is it any wonder to anyone why our taxes have risen so much? With these patients are running the asylum, we are all going to be broke. What a bargain piece of real estate these simpletons have acquired for us.
Bobby J. Wallace, White Plains