Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Talk at Garrett prelegislative meeting focuses on lake

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — A majority of requests and discussion during the annual prelegislative meeting on Saturday  at Garrett College centered around issues at Deep Creek Lake.

Resident Ralph Schmidt asked why the state of Maryland wasn’t allocating funds to preserve the lake.

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners and the Deep Creek Lake Policy and Review Board are looking into the issue of funds to preserve the lake, said Delegate Wendell Beitzel. Beitzel said the commission has provided $95,000 for Phase II of the sediment plan.

“I  think it’s pretty clear they (commissioners) are hearing what people are saying and are concerned about the future of Deep Creek Lake,” said Beitzel, who noted that he and Edwards would continue to work with the commissioners and the Department of Natural Resources to address lake issues.

Sen. George Edwards said the Waterway Improvement Fund could be utilized for certain things at the lake.

“The department will tell you that they don’t have much money in there but they will get several millions of dollars,” said Edwards. “They are the ones that set the priority on where that money is spent.”

The fund provides money for dredging channels that are critical to heavy commercial boat traffic, of which there is none in the lake, said Barbara Beelar, executive director of Friends of Deep Creek Lake. Beelar questioned whether the fund excluded funding for the lake and suggested looking into obtaining other watershed restoration funds.

“I sort of sense it might,” said Beelar. “If in fact Deep Creek Lake is excluded, then we would rely on you for the best avenue,” said Beelar, who suggested an ammendment or something similar to the flush tax. “We really need you to help put Deep Creek Lake back on the agenda.”

Dock fees that are collected from property owners go to the Department of Natural Resources, which are primarly used for to manage the recreational needs of the lake, according to Beitzel.

“Garrett County gets 25 percent of those dock fees. That was part of the deal when the county approved the purchase of Deep Creek Lake,” said Beitzel. “Unfortunately, Gov. (Martin) O’Malley’s budget has been seeking to take those fees away from the county. We have been fighting vigorously and fortunately we were able to hold those fees.”

Beitzel said dock fees could be raised.

“Most of the dock fees that we collect go to maintain the office of Deep Creek Lake management at the state park,” he said. “There is indication that the fees that are currently being paid are not adequate to continue to pay the total expense of that office and there has been some discussion of a need to raise those fees in the future.”

The Friends of Deep Creek Lake is circulating a petition with more than 1,300 signatures asking the state to provide funds for the preservation of the lake and surrounding watershed, according to Beelar.

“We anticipate by the opening of the General Assembly (in January) we may have 2,000,” said Beelar. “Over 35 percent of those signatures are from Garrett County residents. It isn’t just lake people wanting money.”

Bob Hoffman, representing the Deep Creek Lake Property Owner’s Association requested three changes to legislative statutes pertaining to the Policy and Review Board. Hoffman suggested that the Maryland Department of Environment have a seat on board, that the board have the authority to advise the secretary of MDE on lake related matters and noted that it should be codified in the statute that the DNR provides administrative assistance to the board. Beitzel suggested that Hoffman put those issues in writing. Edwards introduced the previous legislation that put the board in place to ensure local control of the lake and to provide a check and balance, said Beitzel. Both Edwards and Beitzel sit on the board.

Beitzel suggested that the residents should travel to Annapolis to attend committee meetings to voice their concerns or to show their support of any of bills that will be addressed during the legislative session.

“Quite frankly, I think a lot of issues that we are dealing with here in the county with funding for Deep Creek Lake, with drilling and with anything we deal with legislation we are really outgunned,” said Beitzel. “We do appreciate the support when people come down.”

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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Jay Ferguson

Who I Am My name is Jay Ferguson, and I am a lifelong resident of the Deep Creek Lake area. I am also co-owner of the real estate side of Taylor Made. I have been in the real estate business for 21+ years now and I LOVE what I do! I have to say, my career really took off when I co-founded the real estate side of Taylor Made in 2014. Its been an amazing experience, building a real estate company from the ground up and achieving so much so quickly! In August 2016, we purchased Long & Foster Real Estate Deep Creek, where I had started my career in 2000. In 2018, we on-boarded virtually every agent from Coldwell Banker Deep Creek Realty as they closed up shop and the real estate family grew even more! We now have over 40 sales agents and have expanded to West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well. Taylor Made is the #1 vacation rental company at Deep Creek with over 475 vacation rental homes, and over one hundred thousand yearly visitors. Its amazing what we have accomplished using the principles of honesty, teamwork and customer service! Personally, my wife Jessica and I enjoy traveling and especially spending time in the outdoors, hiking and exploring the many diverse areas that Garrett County is naturally blessed with. We have raised two wonderful children here, Kayleah (22) and Noah (13). In the summer, we love spending time on the water with friends & family and enjoying the lake life! We are both active in our church, our community & local school activities, and we fill our schedule with plenty of volunteer efforts. I currently serve on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity. I am proud to say that I was named Deep Creek Time’s Favorite ‘Community Champion’ in 2019. I was also named Garrett County Realtor of the Year in 2018-19, as well. I really enjoy promoting my hometown. I am very proud of the resort area that has developed over my lifetime and look forward to growing the area even more! Deep Creek Lake has been described as ‘The Lake Tahoe of the east', and I think that speaks volumes about the potential to own property here! Deep Creek Lake isn't really a town or city by itself; it's comprised of three towns: Oakland, Swanton & McHenry, Maryland. I am very passionate about my hometown and am impressed with how many people know about it as we travel around the country. Deep Creek Lake is an amazing place to visit and even better place to live! During the pandemic in 2020, our market exploded and more and more people left their primary residence in the city to live here permanently. With distance learning in schools and tele-commuting becoming the ‘norm’, many more people were drawn to the area to ‘live where they love to play’. Why You Want Me Working for You: In addition to being an owner, I am consistently one of the top-producing agents in the entire area and the Associate Broker of record for Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I have 21+ years of experience and I am a problem solver. There aren’t many situations that I have not encountered and I have a strategy for almost every scenario that you may encounter. I have extensively trained in all areas of real estate & emerging technologies, and also have trained as an appraiser, as well as served as a full-time Broker. I have a strong knowledge of the industry, as well as many trusted local contacts & affiliations that allow me to perform at a very high level and deliver results. I have a great deal of respect for my peers in this industry and have strong working relationships that I would love to put to work for you. Call me to discuss your situation - I know I can be of great service to you & others you care about! Honesty. Integrity. Results.