WASHINGTON — At a Thursday morning news conference on the Capitol grounds, Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, along with a dozen other members ofCongress, said that for the first time a majority of members were backing a single legislative initiative to correct the Social Security 'notch' inequity.
The bill, which was introduced Feb. 6 as H.R. 917, provides for a 10-year transition to the lower replacement rates that were passed into law as part of the 1977 Social Security reform package. Retroactive benefits are not included in this year's bill.
An estimated 12 million Americans born between 1917 and 1926 are receiving Social Security benefits that in many cases are as much as 20 percent lower because of the 1972 decision by Congress to have benefits rise as wages and prices increased. High inflation of the mid-1970s led to fears that the change would produce benefits too generousfor the system to support and caused Congress to revise the benefitsformula.
"I wasn't a member at the time the benefits formula was revised, but I think it's clear that Congress had only the best intentions when it inadvertently created the 'notch' disparity," Byron said. "Legislation to correct the inequity has been around since 1983, but a solution to undoing it has proven to be very contentious.
"That's why we've never had a bill with the kind of consensus needed to leave any hopes that it would pass the House, much less the Senate. The fact that we now have a majority of members backing a single bill to redress the notch problem is very encouraging, but we have to waitand see."
WATER USAGE STABILIZES
A decline inwater usage has convinced even the town's most vocal conservation advocate that a ban on outdoor watering isn't necessary yet.
But Councilman William S. Pearson said that if usage goes up again, the council should implement a ban and increase fines for wasting water.
Water usage had shot up to high of 394,000 gallons a day during June, mostly because of outdoor use such as watering lawns, Town Manager John A. Riley said. Average usage last month was 339,000 gallons a day,Pearson said.
News of higher water rates beginning July 1 may have prompted the recent decline in use, Riley said. Since July 2, he said, usage has hovered at or under 300,000 gallons a day.
Pearson, a retired engineer, has spent much of his time on the council monitoring the town's limited water supply.
Had usage not gone down, he said, he was planning to suggest that the council create a $100 fine for letting a lawn sprinkler run unattended.
"Water in Hampstead isvery shallow," Pearson said. "All we have is a very thin aquifer that doesn't hold much water."
Pearson said it is a challenge for Hampstead to provide enough water for its rapid growth and development over the last few years, but that the town does well with what little water it has naturally available.
But despite a scolding for homeowners who over-water their lawns, the town will be installing a waterline to the War Memorial Park to keep the newly planted flowers and shrubs growing.
After two years of vacancies, the Planning and Zoning Commission has a full board with the appointment of Bankim Vaishnav.
Vaishnav, 54, lives in the 4000 block of Highfield Court. He works as an engineer at Westinghouse Defense Center in Anne Arundel County. He was selected by MayorC. Clinton Becker and approved unanimously by the Town Council at its meeting Monday.
He joins board chairman and Councilman Arthur H.Moler, Oden Kemp, Charles Walter and Terry Becker. Becker was appointed in April.
The board meets at 7 p.m. on the last Monday of every month in the Town Hall, at 1034 S. Carroll St.
RECYCLE PHONE BOOKS
As part of a countywide effort to recycle outdated phone directories, the town will place a special collection bin next to the existing red recycling bins.
Both bins will be at the town parking lot on West Street, next to the post office.
The telephone book bin will be in the parking lot through Aug. 2. Other townsalso will be collecting the books.
Before placing their old directories in the bin, residents should tear them in half by opening the books to the center and pulling apart the bound spine.
The town isapplying to a state program to collect and recycle anti-freeze, Councilman Gary W. Bauer said. Anti-freeze, when allowed to run out onto the ground, can be poisonous to pets and harmful to streams, he said.
SCHOOL PROJECT APPROVED
The County Commissioners have approved a second Manchester elementary school project, which will be financed with or without state assistance.
The Manchester Town Council had written to the commissioners and the Board of Education urging them tomove a second Manchester elementary higher on the construction priority list to alleviate school overcrowding in that district.
A second Manchester elementary wasn't scheduled for construction until around the year 2000, said council members.