Once again, a Finksburg community group has given Carroll's commissioners abysmal marks in 13 areas that affect the county's quality of life, including the environment, road signs and watershed protection.
Released yesterday, the twice-yearly report card grades the commissioners' performance from April through September on issues ranging from the three-member board's responsiveness to the Finksburg Planning Area Council to the county's master plan to public schools.
With failures in four areas: watershed protection, road signs, open government and zoning, and borderline grades in three others, the council thinks its political leaders need its help.
"It appears that the commissioners are not really concerned with the quality of life issues for the majority of Carroll countians," said Neil Ridgely, communications director for the organization. The group serves as a liaison to county government and calls its community "the gateway to the county."
The only major difference in the latest of four report cards is that this one offers suggestions for how the commissioners can improve their performance.
The council called for more open government that responds to its constituents in a timely manner and criticized several recent decisions on land use. The commissioners should consult with the council on issues that are germane to its area, members said.
Members urged the commissioners to safeguard the environment, paying particular attention to the Liberty Reservoir watershed in which Finksburg is located, and to preserve area farmland.
They also asked officials to reinstate Carroll's Department of Environmental Protection and to abandon plans for a $14 million water treatment plant at Piney Run Lake in Sykesville.
The highest grades were two B's in parks and land preservation. The board won average marks in responsiveness, schools, roads and planning.
"That's our way of trying to recognize their conscientious efforts in those areas," Ridgely said. "As far as roads, generally they do a good job. Repeatedly we have asked for attention to roads in some older communities, and that hasn't been paid attention to."
The commissioners received a D- in library. The group has been lobbying the county for a public library branch in Finksburg.
"We've gotten it on the commissioners' radar screen, but that's about it," Ridgely said.
The commissioners are attending the 2001 Maryland Rural Summit in Rocky Gap and were unavailable for comment yesterday.