From: Dennis D'Adamo
County Executive Ecker double dips while teachers get zip!
This should be the headline after hearing that the Republican Delegationto the General Assembly successfully passed legislation to allow County Executive Charles Ecker to receive a $40,000 pension from his Board of Education position while collecting an $80,000 salary as CountyExecutive.
And yet, while Howard County teachers have contracted for a 6 percent raise, Mr. Ecker, along with Councilman Darrel Drown (R-2d), bemoan the possibility of honoring a contract negotiated in good faith.
The teachers are professionals who on-average work overtime to prepare and grade class materials. They are not asking for a 50 percent increase like Mr. Ecker. Howard County teachers deserve their raise!
Editor's note: The writer serves on the Howard County Democratic Central Committee.
THANKS, MERRIWEATHER POST
From: PattiPape Vierkant
Public Information Officer
Howard County Public Schools
With the official announcement of this year's graduation dates, we would like to publicly thank Merriweather Post Pavilion for committing two dates to the school system which will make it possiblefor three high school graduating classes to hold their ceremonies atthe pavilion.
Due to the good will of the Merriweather management, many family members and friends will be able to attend the ceremonies who might have been excluded if graduations had been held in the schools' auditoriums.
It is understandable that many students and parents were concerned, when up until April 15, firm dates for the Atholton, Mount Hebron and Oakland Mills ceremonies could not be confirmed.
Our agreement with Merriweather Post is that they will hold two dates for us during the first week in June.
Until they set theirconcert schedule for that week, they cannot confirm the exact dates with us, but we have their committment to two dates.
On or before April 15, we are given the exact dates which are then announced.
Even if Merriweather has an opportunity to book a concert for either of the committed dates after April 15, they must decline.
The staffat Merriweather deserve much credit for their community spirit and willingness to accommodate the school system's graduation schedule.
Editor's note: Please see graduation and prom schedule, Page 9.
LIVEWITHIN YOUR MEANS
From: Margaret Ann Stromberg
Open letter to Darrel Drown, County Council:
The people of Howard County voted in Nov. 1990 to elect new officials who would listen to votes -- not who showed up and protested at meetings. The people voted for no new taxes.
Our constant-yield tax rate is supposed to be the basis for our budget in Howard County.
This year the county is so far over budget that the council talks about raising the property tax 14 cents more than the current tax rate -- but this makes it 27 cents over the constant yield rate that is being generated this year with the new assessments.
That should make our property tax rateonly $2.32 instead of the $2.59 that the council is proposing. This is 11.6 percent higher than the constant yield rate -- which the county budget should be based on. (See the notice in the Howard County papers.)
There are retired, unemployed and even the working people in Howard County who have to live within their budget. They have no place to go for a raise to pay extra taxes. I say the county has to learn to live within a budget and stop raising property taxes.
I'm tired of hearing people say "I expected a raise"; "I want more services"; "This is a rich county"; "This is the fault of the present county executive."
This over budget has come about due to the overspending of the past executives and the past county councils approving what was put before them.
Remember -- the voters will vote again in 1994.
Somehow, between now and then, the present county executive andthe council better learn to live in a budget that reflects the constant yield tax rate. The people of Howard County expect this.
From: Edward B. Rogers
I would like tothank Patrick McCuan and The Howard County Sun for another Supreme Moment in Unintentional Developer Irony on Pages 12 and 13 of the April 28 issue.
On Page 12, an article states that "before the recession . . . short-term loans such as the $10.85 million, $9.5 million and $850,000 loans McCuan took in 1989 and 1990 . . . were routinely renewed at maturity," referring to his part ownership of two Columbia office buildings.
On the opposite page, Mr. McCuan states, "the thing that makes me sad is that when we are in desperate need of revenue, local politics have caused us to lose millions of dollars in tax revenues."
Though Mr. McCuan is referring to the county as being in need of revenue, I think he may have his own plight and that of the public somewhat confounded.
According to the story on Page 12, lawyers for the limited partnership of which Mr. McCuan is a member, owners of both buildings, recently forestalled a county tax sale intendedto collect $265,864.56 in unpaid property taxes on the two buildings.
If any of your readers find this juxtaposition of information confusing, let me just restate it briefly. Mr. McCuan is quoted as saying that local politics have caused the county to lose millions of dollars in tax revenues, and he is a member of the limited partnership that has prevented the county from selling two buildings owned by them for more than a quarter million dollars in unpaid property taxes.
There it is, as they used to say, black and white and read all over.