A study conducted by a group of residents in southern Calvert County predicts that if growth goes unchecked, a large population increase will create pockets of poverty, push taxes higher and further strain emergency services.
Donald Randall, chairman of the Federation of Southern Calvert Communities, spent four months meticulously researching the effects of growth in southern Calvert. The 66-year-old Drum Point resident -- a retired lawyer and lobbyist -- compiled 11 pages of statistics into a tidy report, which he mailed to federal, state and local elected officials, the media and anyone else who would read it.
But Calvert County commissioners and other officials said they haven't read the study, which Randall sent out Sept. 11. One holdup may be the maelstrom of disagreement sparked by the report and its 15 recommendations. It seems that several other Calvert residents have suspicions about just who the Federation of Southern Calvert Communities represents.
"We didn't even know the federation existed," said Sharon Dryman, a Drum Point resident who, along with her husband, Daniel, has canvassed 120 other households there to find that the federation was just as mysterious to her neighbors.
"We don't even know who's in the federation except Mr. Randall," Dryman said. "It's a strange, strange thing."
Randall said the federation is a group of 11 communities, including Chesapeake Ranch Estates and White Sands, and that it meets only when issues arise that affect most of southern Calvert. Dryman said the federation appears to comprise Randall and about 16 of his friends who support turning the area's remaining private communities into incorporated municipalities.
"He speaks like he's speaking for us," Dryman said. "He's really only getting opinions from his friends, his inner circle."
Max Munger, president of the Drum Point Property Owners Association, attributes some of the controversy to the "negative attitudes of some people in the community."
As for the study, he said, "I am in positive agreement with most of the findings."
Hurricane Aid Centers Opening
Residents and business operators in all three Southern Maryland counties became eligible this week to seek federal disaster assistance for damage related to Hurricane Floyd. Officials announced Monday that President Clinton had authorized aid to 11 counties in the state.
Individuals seeking aid should contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency immediately at 1-800-462-9029. TTY service is available at 1-800-462-7585. Anyone seeking aid must register with FEMA to get a determination of eligibility for federal or state assistance.
Calvert County officials already have set up two disaster relief centers and have scheduled times beginning today when residents can pick up information or apply for aid.
One center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at the North Beach Fire Department community hall. Another center will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. tomorrow and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Solomons Fire Department.
Yesterday, state emergency officials announced aid centers would be open today and tomorrow in St. Mary's County and next week in Charles County. The St. Mary's center will be open at the Carter State Office Building in Leonardtown from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow. The Charles center will be at the Bel Alton Fire House from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, state Sen. Roy P. Dyson (D-St. Mary's and Calvert) said St. Mary's County initially had been left out of aid consideration. Dyson said he asked state and federal officials to tour areas of St. Mary's that sustained damage. After the inspections, St. Mary's was added to the list.
Power Restored, Slowly for Some
Speaking of the hurricane, comments this week by Baltimore Gas & Electric officials won't be much comfort to the 300 or so Calvert County electricity customers who went without power for the better part of a week after the storm.
Company officials said they restored service first to lines that served the most people, and that wasn't in Calvert County.
"I don't mean to sound flip, but it takes just as long to remove a tree that has knocked down a power line that supplies one customer as one that supplies 100 customers," said Richard Chambliss, manager of electric system operations and planning for BGE. "We have to re-energize the lines that serve the most people first."
"Rural areas have a lower concentration of large circuits," he said, in response to questions about outages in neighboring Anne Arundel. "So there may be customers who say they're always the last ones restored, and they probably are."
Staff writer Jefferson Morley contributed to this report.