Calvert County Times May 18, 2017 - Page 5

Thursday, May 18, 2017 The Calvert County Times E diblE G ardEninG … Report: Patuxent River Health Still Poor By Guy Leonard Staff Writer While portions of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have showed improvement in the health of the ecosystem, the Patux- ent River remains among the worst local waterways, a recent study from the Uni- versity of Maryland’s Center for Environ- mental Science reports. The report card on the bay watershed gave the Patuxent River a grade of D+, based on a broad range of indicators in- cluding dissolved oxygen, total phospho- rus, water clarity, total nitrogen and the health of aquatic grasses that act as food source and habitat for critical bay species. The river shared by both St. Mary’s and Calvert counties showed “poor ecosystem health,” according to the report. “Overall health improved due to in- creases in total phosphorus, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll a scores.” The report showed that the health of the Patuxent River so far has not changed while some other rivers and waterways that received a grade of D showed sig- 5 Local News G row Y our o wn ! Blueberries nifi cant improvement such as the Patapsco and Back rivers farther north. The overall health of the watershed is a grade of C. “The overall score of the Chesapeake Bay Health Index for 2016 was 54 percent, compared with 53 percent in 2015,” the re- port stated. “While this is only a slight im- provement it is encouraging to see health remaining steady despite many pressures on the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. “Overall bay health shows no signifi - cant change over time [from 1986 to 2016 neither improving or declining.” The larger Potomac River, fared better in the report with a grade of C-, effectively showing no change from prior years. “Moderately poor ecosystem health” was how the report described the Potomac. “Health remained steady. Improvements in total phosphorus and water clarity were offset by declines in other indicators.” Many varieties available. Special 3 gal. size Vegetables 4-Packs - Singles - Gallon Size 100’s of varieties to choose. 2 for $ 49 50 Fruit Trees Herbs, Herbs & More Herbs Save up to 25% Off Buy 100’s to choose from including your favorite cooking herbs. 3 Get 4 th FREE P ErmanEnt C olor S hrubS F or C ontainErS or i n -G round guyleonard@countytimes.net Butterfly Bush School Board Approves Funding Formula Standard, full size varieties only. Many colors. Only 19 88 $ Spirea Knockout Roses Golden Princess, Little Prince or Anthony Waterer. Special Only Hydrangea Pink & red varieties. 1 gal size. 21 88 $ Special Traditional old fashioned varieties. Nikko Blue, Lanarth White, Pennymac, Carnival. 14 88 $ Your Choice 22 88 $ P ErEnnialS F or Y Ear a FtEr Y Ear C olor By Dick Myers Staff Writer The Calvert County Board of Education has unanimously approved a school fund- ing formula hammered out by their staff and the staff of the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The BOCC has already signed the agreement. The funding formula sets the coming year’s amount and how to come up with future years’ funding levels. The proposed formula impacts next year’s school board funding request by adding $791,000 to the proposed $119.8 million presented at the public hearing on the BOCC’s staff recommended budget. That amount was $5.5 million more than the state-required maintenance of effort funding. It included $3 million to cover the cost of a STEP increase granted school employees during the current fi scal year using school board budget surplus mon- ies. The county will be picking up that cost next fi scal year. With the additional school system fund- ing, County Finance and Budget Director Tim Hayden said the school board should have enough monies to provide the extra make-up step increase for school system employees that is included in their negoti- ated agreement. The proposed formula takes the prior years per pupil appropriation, which is them multiplied by enrollment (although there is no penalty for a decline), Consum- er Price Index and an adjustment factor for new initiatives. The agreement also calls for a one-time additional appropriation to the school system of $2 million in Fiscal 2019. If the school system’s budget fund balance goes over $5 million the overage would be applied to OPEB (Other Post- Employment Benefi ts). With the county commissioners’ earlier unanimous approval of the funding for- mula, the extra funding will be included in the budget presented at the May 23 rd public hearing for the commissioners’ rec- ommended budget. That hearing will be at 7 p.m. at the Calvert Pines Senior Center. The school board approved the formula without comment at their regular May 11 meeting. 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