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Ballot Question Raises Eyebrows

In tomorrow’s election, county voters will be asked to give their opinions on 6 ballot questions on borrowing to fund future developments.  You will get a chance to approve or disapprove these borrowings by the county.

However, most seem have no clue on the details of one of these questions – Question F.  Thanks to a local environmental group, who after some digging, found that Question F misleadingly refers to “Environmental Facilities Bonds”, when it is in fact for a dump near the Jug Bay Natural Area on the Patuxent River. You may want to take a second look allowing the county to spend $34M on a dump, in the name of environmental spending.

Here is what the group found..

The Prince George’s County web site has some information on ballot questions, but the information is deeply buried, hard to identify, conflicting, possibly out of date, and certainly incomplete.

The county ballot questions (A-F) would enable the county to sell bonds to finance various Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects. The questions cite county bills (CB49 – CB54) which include project CIP-IDs and vague descriptions. the group figured the CIP budget would explain what the projects were and would be readily accessible. However, the county’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) web site only has information on the PROPOSED CIP budget, despite being approved in May. OMB has not placed the updated budget online, or even distributed hard copies.

From that page, click the “Environmental Resources” link goes to a scanned-in printout of the CIP budget for the Department of Environmental Resources. Five projects are listed, one of which is the subject of Question F:

CIP-ID: NX-548925
Project name: Waste transfer station
Address: Location not determined
Planning Area: Not application
Project Class: New construction
Cost: $33,775,000
Completion date: 06/2011

The last page of the document has some detail on the project, including the expenditure schedule and funding schedules, and the following:

DESCRIPTION: This project includes the design and construction of a solid waste transfer station to serve the future solid waste disposal needs of the County. The facility will supplement and replace the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill. The facility will be constructed at the Western Branch Composting Facility site.
JUSTIFICATION: This project will provide waste disposal services to the County.

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