Opinions On Tax Increase

Letters to the editor

May 12, 1991

Editor's note: Rising costs, fewer state and federal dollars, and falling county revenue have pushed Carroll's deficit over $5 million, spurring immediate cutbacks, reduced work forces and, for the first time, talk of possible layoffs. The Budget Office has directed all county agencies to cut their budgets by 1 percent for fiscal 1991, which ends June 30, and by 2 percent for fiscal 1992. For the first time inmore than a decade, Carroll will experience actual cuts in programs.We have been asking readers where cuts should be made, whether taxesshould be increased, and related questions. Here are some of the replies we received:

From: Patricia Wall

Manchester

The question once again facing the county government is whether a pay increase be granted to Carroll County teachers.

We must certainly pause a second to pay homage to the bureaucracy ofthe educational system for refusing their cost of living increase this year to do their part to balance the budget.

But since administrative salaries fall in the $58,000 to $100,000 price range, the point of refusing this year's administrative increase is moot.

If a classroom teacher with a master's degree and 30 graduate credits teaches for 24 years in the Carroll County school system, his or her base salary will be $47,519.

The inequity of a system that chooses to reward some of its professionals and ignore others prevents us from achieving a level of educational excellence.

Each year county taxes are raised, in part, to "improve the quality of education." What actually seems to improve is the administrative standard of living.

If the Board of Education is willing to financially reward itself each fiscal year for a job not even remotely satisfactory, then it must also financially reward classroom teachers for a job well done.

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From: Jeffrey Ballentine

Sykesville

Realistic spending and down-sized government, along with business incentives/growth are necessary.

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From: Diane Scott

Millers

Tighten your belts and take drastic measures -- if private enterprise must do it to survive, government must also.

I do not support any increase in the tax rate because we're being taxed to death. Increasing taxes is not the answer.

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From: Edmund Berman

Westminster

Our taxes are very low compared to our neighbors in the Baltimore area.

They should beraised only to a slight degree due to the recession.

I reject theidea that a tax increase must "be used for" a certain program, but in general the most crying need for extra funds is in the area of education.

We need more school buildings and higher salaries for teachers (though not administrators).

County employees in general should be spared the Draconian talk of layoffs, pay cuts or no raises -- we must remember that we get the government we pay for.

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From: R. G. Hooper

Westminster

Budget cutting in the area of perks has not really taken place in Carroll County.

Modern pay for poor service.

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From: Mary V. Bollinger

Westminster

We need to cut spending.

Listen to what (Mayor W. Benjamin) Brown is saying. We senior citizens have paid our way, now we can only do so much.

TOWNGROWTH EXPLAINED

From: C. Clinton Becker

Hampstead councilman

Residential growth: It is something we see every day in and aroundHampstead, although not as much lately due to the difficult economictimes.

Does it just happen? Who lets it happen? Can it be controlled or managed? Can we see where developments will be built in the coming years? If so, can we predict how many houses will be in the development? Will there be public facilities in place to accommodate thisgrowth?

Land is zoned by and in accordance with a Comprehensive Plan as set forth in Article 66B of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The Comprehensive Plan for Hampstead and Environs was developed in November 1986 through the cooperative efforts of Carroll County and Hampstead, with input from citizens via public meetings.

This plan effectively controls what type of development we will allow in our community. The zoning options include: business, industrial, agriculture, conservation and residential.

Within each of these broad classifications are subclassifications. For example, in the residential classification, density is also specified, ranging from six homes per acre to two homes per acre.

Property that is within the town limits, orannexed into the town limits, comes under the jurisdiction of the town of Hampstead Planning and Zoning Commission, the Hampstead Town Council and the Hampstead Board of Zoning Appeals.

If no zoning changes are made to the Comprehensive Plan, it is easy to predict where growth will occur and to what extent. The only unknown is when.

Sooner or later residentially zoned land that is now farmed, and borders the town, will probably be annexed and developed. Generally, annexation does not change the zoning, only which governing entity (the county or the town) has jurisdiction over the property.

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