Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown is an activist politician.
Hefrequently comes up with proposals to benefit the city's residents, aid needy people and encourage business.
On occasion, he has found himself criticized for those ideas and for his outspokenness -- sometimes rightly, other times not.
But you always know the mayor is working -- and you always know where he stands on the issues.
Brown's latest proposal is for a tax-deferralprogram for the city's elderly residents. His requested legislation was sent to the Carroll County delegation.
The law would allow cities to defer any increases in elderly residents' municipal taxes until they either sell their homes or die. At the time of any transaction, the city would collect the money, compounded with interest.
The bill would grant municipalities the same tax-deferal power that counties were granted by the General Assembly in 1988.
If enacted, Brown estimates about 800 of the city's 1,800 residents over age 65 couldapply to take advantage of the tax deferral.
In reviewing the legislation, the county delegation questioned the idea. Lawmakers deferred action on the proposal, asking Brown to offer it to the Maryland Municipal League for possible submission next session.
But a funny thing happened: The MML took one look at the tax-deferral program andgave it four stars.
"It seems like an equitable means of dealing with those tax issues," MML spokesman Jim Peck said.
So the proposal quickly is back before the county delegation.
Del. Richard C. Matthews, R-Carroll, said it may be too late to get the measure through the General Assembly. Even so, he said he plans to talk to other county delegates about the MML's endorsement.
Brown, who had called the delegation's failure to introduce the bill "disconcerting," was pleased with the MML's quick response.
"I never felt they would notwholeheartedly support it," the mayor said. "The benefits of it are very clear."
This is one proposal that deserves to see the light of day -- and in the current session. It would not cost the taxpayers in the long run, because while municipalities wouldn't receive the taxes immediately, they would collect in the end -- with interest.
With apologies to McDonald's, Carroll's elderly population "deserves abreak today."