In the mid-1960s, residents of the then-isolated Anne Arundel community of Crofton set up a special tax district to pay for extra police. Now, faced with rampant development, Croftonites are looking at the possibility of becoming an incorporated city.
Crofton is not alone. The notion of greater governance at the community level is picking up steam in the wake of explosive growth and financial problems in county governments. In Anne Arundel alone, the number of special tax districts has risen nearly 25 percent since 1985.
In Crofton, a mostly affluent community of over 10,000, the central issue is growth. Rapid residential and commercial development has overburdened existing roads. Building now under way promises to strain schools, sewer systems and other infrastructure. Incorporation would give Crofton some control over its destiny, allowing it to enact and enforce ordinances, control land use and stand in line for state and federal funds. "It's a way for the community to express itself and reach its goals without depending on a higher level of government and competing for funds with other communities," said town manager Jordan Harding.