SYKESVILLE — Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. opened Monday's special Town Council meetingby welcoming three new members with a broad smile and handshake.
Jonathan Herman, William R. Hall Jr. and Walter R. White took the oath of office for council, then settled in to take care of business.
First on the agenda was the election, by secret ballot, of a council president. Councilman Kenneth W. Clark won the office with five votes to Councilman Eugene E. Johnson's one.
In brief remarks, Clark "challenged the council to maintain a forum of open communication between the council, mayor, each other and the town."
"That doesn'tmean agreeing all the time, but listening to all points of view and debating them with an open mind," he said.
The new council will get its first test at a budget workshop at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Town House. Following Herman's motion and Councilman Wiley Purkey's second, the council voted unanimously to introduce the budget Monday.
The $677,707 fiscal 1992 budget calls for a 5-cent property tax increase, to 73 cents per $100 of assessed value. If approved, the tax onthe average $134,000 home would rise by $26 to $391. County taxes onsuch a home would add $1,260.
This is the same budget that the previous council, on a 3-3 vote, failed to introduce May 13. But Helt went ahead and advertised it, knowing the new council was to be sworn in. Budget highlights include a 4 percent cost-of-living increase forthe town's 12 employees and $53,402 for capital outlay.
Before introducing the budget, Helt read a letter from former Councilman Richard W. Doxzen urging passage of the budget with the property tax increase to maintain town services.
A public hearing is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Town House, when residents may voice their opinionson the proposed budget.
In other business Monday:
* The council discussed the proposed sale of 0.6 acre adjacent to the Amoco station on Sandosky Road.
Amoco station owner Allen Gillis offered the town $2,000 for the property last year. Because of financial troublesand maintenance problems, the town accepted the offer last November.
But because of misunderstandings over how the property is to be maintained as a buffer zone between business and residential development, the town rejected Gillis's check for payment this month. Gillis' attorney, Roland Bounds, told the council that despite whatever misunderstandings there were, "Gillis is ready, willing and able to pursuethe deal."
Helt said he was prepared to sign the deed if the council approved the sale. During a closed session, the council and town attorney, Dennis Hoover, redefined what the buffer zone would consistof and approved the sale.
"There were two things they did in response to residents' concerns last November at the public hearing," Town Manager James L. Schumacher said. "One was to make sure certain trees would remain and be saved, and secondly, that the property not be used as an additional setback to the current property."
* The council deferred until Tuesday a motion to accept one of two offers to lease the old town maintenance building. Some council members questioned whether the town may need the building for storage.
* Helt announced his intention of reactivating committees that have died out and promoting current volunteer committees to work on various programs inthe town.
"The committees include Parks and Recreation, Planning and Zoning, the Historic Commission, a budget committee and facilities committee, (the latter would) be chaired by Walter White," he said.
Each committee would have five to seven members, including a council member, who would act as liaison between the town and the committee.