Record Observer - - Opinion -

Last week’s heavy rains brought a sigh of re­lief to a few farm­ers in Queen Anne’s County. But farmer Jeff Clark, who stands to lose as much as 80 acres of corn out of 140 af­fected by the drought, said the rains are just too lit­tle and too late.

Univer­sity of Mary­land Agri­cul­ture Ex­ten­sion Agent Paul Gun­ther said that Clark isn’t the only one suf­fer­ing. “We are pre­dict­ing a 34 per­cent loss this year,” he said. He said Church Hill is the worst area.

Farm­ers here can’t re­ceive any disas­ter aid be­cause they are only 6 per­cent short of the state’s 40 per­cent min­i­mum level of loss to qual­ify for state aid. Gun­ther said the re­cent rains are only a cos­metic im­prove­ment.

••• Be­cause one Queen Anne’s County depart­ment spent very lit­tle of its bud­get dur­ing the first 11 months of last fis­cal year, the county com­mis­sion­ers are won­der­ing whether other de­part­ments need all of the money for which they are bud­geted.

By the end of May, 43 of those de­part­ments had only spent an av­er­age of about 75 per­cent of their to­tal bud­get with less than a month re­main­ing in the bud­get year. Five other de­part­ments had al­ready over­spent their bud­gets.

Most county depart­ment heads are now work­ing with the same amount of money they had this time last year, and all em­ploy­ees, as well as county teach­ers, are not ex­pect­ing to see a pay raise this year be­cause of the re­ces­sion.

• • • The Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved a new trash fee last Tues­day that will al­low county res­i­dents to dump their garbage only when needed.

Home­own­ers will now have the op­tion of pay­ing a $3 fee each time they drop off their trash, ac­cord­ing to Gary Trouba, di­rec­tor of the county’ solid waste depart­ment. Com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, such as land­scap­ers, will be charged $10 each time they drop off trash.

The new fees are nec­es­sary be­cause the county is faced with haul­ing trash to the new land­fill in Eas­ton for the first time, which is ex­pected to cost the county about $250,000 a year in dumping fees, county of­fi­cials have main­tained.

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