Tax Credit Proposed For Landfill Neighbors

Relief Would Offset Lowerproperty Values

January 26, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

Living next to a sanitary landfill definitely has its downsides -- dust, dirt, noise and smell.

But a county councilman has an idea toprovide at least one benefit.

Barry T. Glassman, R-District D, is proposing property tax credits for the owners of homes near an open garbage landfill, such as the county-owned Scarboro Landfill near Dublin.

"I live within a couple hundred yards of Scarboro. I'd be for that," said Shirley Deckman, who said she is concerned that living near the landfill has lowered the value of her home. "We have polluted water. We had our home on themarket a few years ago, but we had to take it off. Nobody's going tobuy a home with polluted water."

Deckman said when she and her husband bought their home 20 years ago, county administrators said the Scarboro Landfill would be capped in a few years. Last year, the county opened three new cells for garbage.

Glassman hasn't proposed how much the credit would be worth, and it's uncertain whether the county will receive permission from the General Assembly to grant the credit.

The proposal would not apply to people who live near open or closed rubble dumps or closed garbage landfills, Glassman said.

Hehas proposed paying the property tax credits out of the $4.6 millionexpected in new revenue from a $35-per-ton tipping fee to be chargedtrash haulers starting in July would generate.

George Harrison, aspokesman for the county administration, said they had not seen the proposal and would not comment. Harrison did say, however, that the administration plans to spend the $4.6 million generated by the tipping fee on educational programs to promote recycling, construction of atransfer station for recyclable materials and transportation to a materials recovery facility.

Glassman's plan hinges on whether the General Assembly approves. If Glassman obtains approval, he would haveto introduce a bill to the County Council setting the credit.

Sen. Habern W. Freeman, D-District 34, however, opposes the idea.

"It's absurd. People should not be given property tax credits unless some kind of damage has been done," said Freeman. "Now if we have indeedcontaminated someone's property, then we probably owe them more thana property tax credit."

Del. Donald C. Fry, D-District 35A, chairman of the county's legislative delegation, said he and other northern county legislators are concerned about how many people would receive the credit.

"We've tried to define a little more just who would be eligible," said Fry.

Fry said he, Del. James M. Harkins, R-District 35A, and Sen. William H. Amoss Jr., D-District 35A, are proposing amendments to Glassman's draft. They include restricting property tax credits to properties within 500 feet of an active sanitary landfill and to properties purchased before July 1, 1988.

Amoss wants the credits ended once a landfill has been capped.

Fry said the delegation plans to wait to make a final decision on whether to introducethe property tax credit bill until county administrators have determined the fiscal effect.

Glassman said his idea just expands on suggestions made by area residents.

"Some of the citizens have been asking for relief for a while," said Glassman. "Being close to a sanitary landfill certainly has an effect on property values."

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