MANCHESTER — The taxman cometh, and, last week, the taxman soldeth away.
In its annual auction of properties with unpaid county taxes, Carroll sold46 parcels with back taxes totaling $70,204 Friday morning, said Karen Fisher, the tax collections office supervisor. Ten people purchased the properties; Fisher declined to identify the buyers.
The number of properties sold always is much lower than the amount of properties whose taxes are delinquent; a month ago, 492 of the county's 47,138 properties had unpaid 1991 taxes. More than 100 properties were in tax arrears before 10 a.m. Friday, the time of the sale.
The number of properties sold last year also was 46; in 1989 26 properties were sold.
Carroll had faced its highest delinquency rate in years this year, officials said.
But its delinquency rate -- less than 1 percent of all property owned in the county had late taxes -- remains the lowest of the surrounding counties.
If a propertyis sold at tax auction, the owners who are late on their taxes have six months to pay the taxes plus 14 percent in penalties and late fees. If the taxes remain unpaid after six months, the new owner has a right to begin foreclosure proceedings.
Last year, two out of the 46 sold properties were foreclosed.
WATER RESTRICTIONS ON
The recent hot weather has caused a surge in water use here, and the Town Council wants to curb non-essential use over the next few weeks.
The council, during its regular meeting last week, called on residents to voluntarily stop watering their lawns.
Councilman John A. Riley reported that water use was up 30 percent this month. The town used 330,000 gallons of water over the last two weeks.
The council has not yet called on a ban on car washing.
Council members said they would monitor water usage for the next week. If consumption does not decrease, they said they would consider imposing mandatory water restrictions.
In other business, the council:
* Received a 50-page report from Police Chief Donald M. Myers outlining proposals for providing legal protection for the town and its police officers. The council might adopt the report at its meeting July 9.
* Directed the town's trash hauler not to take away dirt and stonesleft in curbside containers. The move, done in response to a letter asking about the matter, clarified the town's position to spend as little as possible in landfill tipping fees.
A meeting between the County Commissioners and a top official in the governor's cabinet was closed to the press and public lastweek.
When commissioners Donald I. Dell, Elmer C. Lippy Jr. and Julia W. Gouge traveled here to discuss jump-starting the county's $2 million, 1,200-acre Gillis Falls Reservoir project, they had expectedthe meeting to be open to the press.
However, less than an hour before the meeting with Gov. William Donald Schaefer's executive chiefof administration, the meeting was closed.
Through his secretary,Mark L. Wasserman told a Carroll County Sun reporter that the meeting was limited only to those who were invited earlier.
The commissioners said they were surprised by the closing. They also said the meeting made little progress toward getting the reservoir project any closer to state approval. The project has been on the county's books for more than 20 years.
Under state law, whenever a public body is meeting to discuss public business, it is supposed to be open to the public. However, a public body may close a meeting for 14 different reasons.
BOARD MEMBERS PICKED
Four countians have been appointed to the County Elections Board by Gov. William DonaldSchaefer.
Those appointed were Leo F. Kuhn, president; G. Melvin Mills Jr., vice president; Elmer L. Martin, member; and Florence H. Kersey, substitute.
The board meetings are open to the public the second Tuesday of the month in Suite 207 of the Winchester Building, 125 N. Court St., Westminster.
The Elections staff includes Rosemary L. McCloskey, chief clerk II; Pauline L. Kram, chief clerk I; DellaL. Dell and Gail A. Carter, registrars; Patricia C. Matsko, electionclerk; Elizabeth R. Griffin, clerk.
The elections office is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays for residents to register to vote or make changes in their records.
Information: 857-2080 or 857-2081.
PLANNING MEETING SET
The Planning and Zoning Commission will hear from Landscape Planner Neil Ridgely on the county'slandscaping ordinance at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Town House, 7547 Main St.
The town is considering passing its own landscaping ordinance and wants to know more about the county's regulations.
Ridgely also will discuss the Forest Conservation Act with commission members.
The commission will hear a status report on theproposed county storm water management ordinance and fees from Kristin Barmoy, Bureau of Stormwater Management and Sediment Control.