Cape St. Claire Approves $150,000 Budget

Property Tax Lowered By 2 Cents To $29.95

January 28, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

Without one word of discussion, Cape St. Claire residents approved anew budget Saturday night allowing the improvement association to build a maintenance shed and giving the administrative assistant a raise.

The 60 residents listened quietly as Budget Committee Chairman Tom DeMunda read through the numbers and what they meant.

They asked no questions and offered no comments.

"You will make my last meeting real quick here," said outgoing Board of Governors President Lou Biondi. "Thank you."

The only dissent came when the ballots were counted: 23 against the budget, 95 for it. About 60 people mailed in ballots.

The budget reduces by 2 cents -- to $29.95 per homeowner -- the property tax for the special tax district of 2,200 homes.

Cape St. Claire does not base taxes on assessed values ofhomes but instead charges a set rate on each property, regardless ofvalue.

The community's budget for the 1990-1991 fiscal year is $150,000, or $6,000 less than last year.

The big spending item this year is the $15,000 maintenance shed. "It is to store equipment and flammable materials that right now we store in (the club house)," DeMunda said.

The 24-by-24-foot shed will be behind the clubhouse.

Residents also approved raising the salary for Julie Brady, the administrative assistant, from $17,400 to $25,000 a year.

DeMunda also said the community has about $7,000 left over from last year, money that will be used to renovate the clubhouse and build a meeting room.

Biondi said he was not surprised by the lack of debate.

"We started doing the budget process in October in a totally open meeting," he said. "We started getting input on the budget last June.

"We had ideas that ran the gamut. We worked to whittle them down to those which had the most community support," Biondi said.

"If you run a tight ship, people don't get nervous about how you spend their money."

The president, however, expressed some regrets about stepping down as association president.

Bylaws allow only two one-year terms. He will continue to serve on the Board of Governors.

"When I movedhere 12 years ago and people asked where someone lived, they would say, 'Yea, Cape St. Claire,' and be very apologetic about it," Biondi said.

"We all have worked to make this an activist community. I amvery proud that when people ask where do you live, I say, 'Cape St. Claire.' "

In other action, residents approved amending the bylawsso a budget can be approved on a plurality vote, instead of mandating a majority vote.

Association Vice President Gretel Derby said that many times, the budget committee will offer residents three or more options, and there always is the danger the vote will split, with no option receiving more than the required 50 percent of the vote.

She said the change gives residents more spending choices and does not force them to choose between an unpalatable budget or no budget at all.

Residents also elected four residents to the 12-member Board of Governors.

Zelda Abercrombie, Carl Eberline, Sy Kotler and Bev Mather won seats.

Jeff McGaughey lost his bid, but can be appointed to the board if there is a vacancy.

The board will vote on new officers in February.

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