Garrett County Gazette, June 2023

Welcome to the current issue of the Garrett County Gazette. I’m Chris Nichols, your guide to helping you find out what’s going on, what’s coming up and interesting tidbits from the area. Let’s jump right in!
Commissioners Adopt FY2024 Budget (with effective tax increase)
The Commissioners have approved a $100M operating budget for Garrett County for Fiscal Year 2024 and kept the property tax rate constant, effectively raising the tax amount for about of a third of property owners.  Readers of last month’s column will know that I don’t think this is a bad decision, but one that County stakeholders should be aware of.I think they are probably setting the stage to hold the property tax rate constant for the next two years as well.  This will almost surely have the same impact of increasing the total revenue, since the rest of the County will have their assessments refreshed based on the increasing property values of the past years. Again, I don’t think that’s a bad thing, considering the scale of potential costs facing the Board of Education over the coming years. We just need to do our jobs as citizens to keep an eye on where this extra money goes.
Above is the percentage breakout of the County expenditures, and really, 70-80% of it is untouchable in my mind.  Public Education, Infrastructure and Safety are all things I think we want to spend MORE on if anything.  You can start to quibble with some of the expenses down in the details (I plan to ask about a $1M increase in an Economic Development line item for example) but it seems they are doing a good job keeping expenses under control.In fact, there are a couple of increases I think are good things:It looks like there is a new position under the “Municipal Parks” budget line. If that means we are working towards a County Parks and Rec Dept, or even just a more coordinated effort for the development and maintenance of public recreational assets, then I’m all for it.The budget for the Pathway to Homeownership Program has doubled since last year.  This provides $5,500 to qualifying homebuyers towards down payment and closing costs, helping to mitigate the affordable housing problem in the CountyYou can check out the FY24 budget here. I encourage you to take a look and pose your own questions.
The Ultimate Deep Creek Lake Adventure Map – NOW available!
Discover and plan your next Deep Creek Lake adventure with my new map! The Ultimate Deep Creek Lake Adventure map is a fold-up, full color, double sided map printed on tear/water resistant material. Trails around the lake, fishing info,  boat launches, lake depth, cove names, local communities and more are on this map.Check out our video tour of the map here for all the amazing detail: when you’re ready to order, get them online hereYou should also visit these local retailers to buy one in person! 
New video trail tours
I’ve added a couple of new trail tours over the past month.  I’m at 31 tours and there are 40-ish trail areas in the County, so I’m hopeful that I’ll meet my goal of visiting them all by the end of the year. Here are the two most recent ones:Poplar Lick Run trail. About 5 miles, this circuit trail follows an old CCC road that was built along Poplar Lick Run in Savage River State Forest. Since it follows an old road, the trail is wide and level, and the elevation change is gradual but there are 8 “wet” crossings of Poplar Lick Run so be ready to get your feet wet!Savage River Bridge Loop – Built for the 1989 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in order to provide room for spectators, there are two suspension bridges about a quarter mile apart across the river, with trails on both banks of the river connecting them. The bridges are still here and stable, and thanks to a project spearheaded by Garrett Trails the trails along both sides of the river have been cleaned up, making it possible to do the full loop! The trail is wide and level, and the total length is about 0.6 miles. It’s a great trail to for variety of ability levels to be able to experience the Savage River! Below, Deekie is hanging out on one of the bridges, taking in the view!
History nook – The Secret History of Swallow Falls State Park
Did you know that Muddy Creek Falls used to be owned by the Freemasons? (is there secret gold stashed behind the falls?) How about the fact that there was an electric rail line planned to pass by Swallow Falls, with a resort and amusement park, all powered by tapping off the Youghiogheny River?Check out my history of Swallow Falls State Park – “Freemason Gold and Ferris Wheels“. It tells the tale of how this special spot in the wilderness was under threats of logging then damming until it became protected by the state and is now one of the “must see” spots in Maryland! 
Narrated video here:
Local events
Jun 24-25Grantsville Days: celebration of the town of Grantsville: food, music and fun!
Jul 1 — Boat Parade on Deep Creek Lake: a procession of decorated boats on Deep Creek Lake
Jul 4 – Accident Homecoming: parade through town with food, vendors and fun
Jul 4 — Fire on the Mountain @ Deep Creek Lake: a grand fireworks display over McHenry Cove in Deep Creek Lake
Jul 8-9— Victorian Chautauqua @Mtn Lake Park: performances, lectures, live music, and activities relive a bygone era
Real Estate Corner
“Where’s the peak?” Usually this time of year, the number of active listings starts to build to a peak, but that does not seem to be the case for 2023. It’s not that the number of sales or new listings is going down, but that once a good property goes on the market, it sells very quickly.What this means for sellers: prices are still high and time on market is low for good properties that are properly priced.What this means for buyers: know what you’re looking for and be ready to buy it when it hits the market! Whatever side you’re on, let me help you to meet your real estate goals and bring home the bacon (or beef)! 
Check out my real estate website as well for more information on what’s out there, or call or email me anytime to chat about what’s going on in the market and how to build a strategy to meet your real estate goals!
Mobile: 301 616-7881
Office: 301 387-4700
Chris Nichols, real estate agent

Published by Narrows Hill

Explore and connect with where you live. Some mapping, history and community service organization stuff related to Garrett County, Deep Creek Lake and the surrounding area. I'm Chris - welcome to my online attic!

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