WESTMINSTER — Mayor W. Benjamin Brown continued his one-man lobbying effort Wednesday against the City Council's desire for $1.3 million in the coming year's budget for new city office space.
At a City Hall press conference, Brown derided the council for forging ahead with money for the project before determining how much space is needed or how much theproject ultimately will cost.
"The council has in its mind what it wants to do and is proceeding accordingly," Brown said.
Brown also was critical of a $35,000 consultant's study of city government space needs because the final report is not due until mid-May, after the council is scheduled to voteon the budget.
"I think it's ridiculous," he said. "It should've been before the public long ago."
Council members and city administrators have said they are unwilling to estimate the final cost of the project until the study comes back. Brown said he thinks the project will cost more than $3 million.
On Wednesday, the mayor called for debate at the May 6 public budget on the project and on its financing.
The council has proposed paying for the project with money collected from city impact fees on new development. Brown counters thata bond issue would be more appropriate because it would spread the financial burden over more than one generation of taxpayers.
The council said a bond issue would double the final cost of the project.
The current year's budget includes $270,000 for the project.
Thepublic hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 6 at City Hall.
PLANNERS TO MEET
DATELINE: MOUNT AIRY
MOUNT AIRY -- Town planners will take a second look at plans for a 41-home development north of town tomorrow.
The Planning Commission will review revised sketch plans for Nottingham Village, a single-family home development planned near the intersection of Route 27 and Watersville Road.
The commission also will discuss a revised plan for the proposed Twin Arch Business Park, planned near Route 27 and Twin Arch Road.
The meeting beginsat 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.
CHURCH ENTRANCE CLOSED
WESTMINSTER -- County building inspectors have closed the entrance to the Church of the Open Door's Downtown Chapel because of loose bricks near the roof of the West Main Street building.
Although warning notices have been placed on the building, the main part of the structure is safe to inhabit, county building code officials said.
Church officials have said the problem should be solved soon.
Formerly the Carroll Theatre, the building has been owned by the Church of the Open Door for the past two years.
DECISION DUE IN MAY
TheMaryland Board of Education will decide next month whether to overturn the Carroll school board's refusal to grant an Eldersburg parent awaiver to the district's bus-stop switching policy.
Susan Ballas,a nurse, sought the waiver so her third-grade daughter could get offat a different stop, 1 mile from their home, twice a week.
LIBRARY CONSIDERS FEE
GREENMOUNT -- The Carroll County Board of Trustees considered a fee for book reserves during its monthly meeting Wednesday at the North Carroll Library.
Patrons would pay 30 cents to cover postage for the notices sent out when the materials come into the branch.
Other library systems that charge reserve fees are Howard County, 35 cents; Enoch Pratt, Frederick, Harford, Montgomery and Prince George's, 50 cents; and Baltimore County, 55 cents.
In other library news:
* Board members tabled a proposed employee furlough policy, created in case state budget cuts are more severe next year.
The policy, which is expected to be considered and adopted at the May meeting, would specifically outline how layoffs -- if necessary -- would occur.
* Members discussed state legislation that would allow the state to take Social Security money from public schools and libraries, reallocating it to the Schools for Successprogram.
Library director Martha M. Makosky was unsure whether this would affect the Carroll system.
WIDERMAN PLAN RETURNS
HAMPSTEAD -- A proposal to build 290 homes near HighfieldEstates again will dominate the agenda of the Planning and Zoning Commission at 7 p.m. Monday in the Town Hall.
The plan had come before the commission at the last meeting, but members wanted time to examine it and to get recommendations from county planners and engineers.
The commission rejected an earlier version that had 308 homes onthe 127 acres off Sunset Road. Members asked the developers, Claude B. and Katherine Widerman and Newman M. and Marie Marsilius, to come back with a plan that had fewer units overall and only single-family houses and duplexes.
The new plan includes wells prepared by the developers that would be hooked into the town water supply. It also calls for the developers to turn over to the town a historic cemetery on the property.
In past meetings, several residents of the Highfield area have told commission members they fear the increased trafficthat a development of that size would bring.