Poor Sportsmanship

Readers write

March 11, 1992

From: Maureen Chryssikos

Columbia

What better way to promote poor sportsmanship and negative behavior than to glorify it in a full-blown, color, front-page picture (TheHoward County Sun, "Fightin' words," Feb. 26).

BUDGET DISPUTE CLEARED

From: D. Ray Wilkerson

Savage

The volunteer fire departments in Howard County agree with firefighters' union president Sean Kelly (The Howard County Sun, Readers write, "Fire budget dispute," March 1) that the public deserves to know what happens to their tax dollars -- no matter who is responsible.

What Mr. Kelly did not know isthat we are working with the county executive and the director of fire and rescue to develop new budget guidelines that would effectivelyaddress any concerns about funds management.

We rejected the proposed guidelines because they would have blurred the distinction between the private corporations, which we operate, and the county govern

ment.

They would have burdened us with paperwork, forced us to hire additional staff, and, we believe in many cases, increased costs.

Funds administered by the volunteer fire departments have paid for our operations, and we have decades of service to prove it.

Thecounty auditor's report on the Savage Fire Department found no misappropriation, only record-keeping problems and lax procedures on the part of both volunteers and the county officials responsible. The problems on both sides were corrected nearly a year ago. (The auditor's report covered the fiscal year ending June 30, 1991.)

We welcome any member of the public with questions about our operations or administration.

Come to the fire house and talk to us. If you want to learn even more, we invite you to join one of our volunteer companies.

(The letter also was signed by Douglas A. Levy, president, Savage Volunteer Fire Co.; Nick Cellini, president, Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department; Merritt Pumphrey, president, Ellicott City Volunteer Firemen's Association; William Saunders, president, West Friendship Volunteer Firemen's Association; Ken Phebus, president, Lisbon Volunteer Fire Co.; and Andrew Bennett, president, 5th District Volunteer Fire Department.)

VIOLATING COMMITMENTS

From: L. Scott Muller

EllicottCity

You recently published a cartoon in your paper (The Howard County Sun, March 1) depicting the county government forcing the expansion of the Alpha Ridge landfill on residents of western Howard County.

I assure you my neighbors and I find no humor in the situation,be it a cartoon or Dr. (Charles) Ecker's own words.

How can he, in all good conscience, make the statement that: "I have searched the records and found nothing in writing that said the landfill would be closed or converted to a recreational area."

I have also searched the records and, without too much effort, found the following in writing:

* Written statements in all planning documents and permits that the fill area would be limited to 200 acres of the 600-acre site.

* Written statements in the planning documents, solid waste plans,and elsewhere that filling operations at Alpha Ridge would be completed by the year 2000.

* Legislation from 1980 establishing the future use of Alpha Ridge as a park and recreation area.

* The 1990 General Plan, which establishes the Alpha Ridge Park and surrounding areas as a "greenbelt" to be preserved as a buffer between the county's developed east and rural west.

If the county has misplaced any of these documents, I would be more than willing to provide copies to them.

Ecker also has questioned the availability of other sites inthe county for a landfill. There are several available sites, including one examined as a potential site when Alpha Ridge was selected. That site is a 600-acre parcel, known as the Chase property, which lies between Routes 1 and 95.

Ground water pollution at Alpha Ridge is already a problem, according to the Department of Public Works. The1976 planning document said the potential for ground water pollutionwas low (oops!), but cited plans to bring water into the area as an ameliorating factor with regard to this possibility.

That documentindicated that public water would be available to the area east of the landfill by 1982 and the area surrounding the entire landfill between 1986 and 1996.

The 1993 capital budget brings water and sewer to the areas east of the landfill (about 11 years late) and there areno plans to bring public water to the other areas surrounding the landfill, as this is part of the "greenbelt."

We are told the pollution has not moved off the site. This is little comfort, since the pollution will only continue to leach for decades into the future.

Ecker claims that this is a matter of economics. What price does the county place on the health of the residents? What price does the countyplace on the destruction of the environment?

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