Crofton voters rejected sweeping changes Monday in bylaws that govern the way budgets are computed and measures that would have allowed non-resident property owners to vote and hold office.
"There is no way any one person is going to concur with every provision in this document," said Dennis Robin, a member of the Rules Committee, which has worked for more than a year to revise the bylaws. "We don't. The question is whether this document is better than you had before."
While a majority of voters were in favor of accepting the bylaw revisions, their numbers fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.Sixty-eight voted in favor of the new document and 52 voted against.Eighty votes were needed to pass the measure.
"It is very difficult to change," said David Lombardo, another member of the Rules Committee. "People inherently don't like change."
The budget proposal would have established a "budget base" computed by the amount of new construction. A 5 percent annual tax cap would have been applied to that base, instead of to the previous year's budget, as is done now.
"No one likes tax increases," Robin said. "We haven't dictated an increase. We have allowed the board to make an increase based on new growth. It is unrealistic to think we can grow as we have and maintain services."
Some residents voiced concern about giving non-residentproperty owners -- including business people and developers -- a sayand possible position on the board.
"Non-residents should not be voting members," said Jack Zwirn, a Crofton Orchards resident.
Robin said Crofton is unique in that it allows all residents -- even those who rent -- to vote, while prohibiting property owners who don't live in Crofton from casting a ballot.
"There are a lot of absenteelandlords and there is a prejudice against them," he said. "But theyare the ones who own property and they are the taxpayers."