Two Bids Are Awarded

Carroll capsule

March 18, 1992

The Board of Education last Wednesday awarded bids to:

* Westminster Auto Parts, for $8,495 for a diagnostic refrigerant reclamation center for the automotive shop at South Carroll High.

* Basically Computers, for $11,780 for two computer-assisted drafting systems for South Carroll.

LWV MEETS FOR BREAKFAST

Over breakfast Saturday, the Carroll County League of Women Voters discussed education and charter government with County Commissioners Donald Dell and Elmer Lippy.

About 18 league members, including men and women,attended the morning program at Reunion's restaurant on Route 140 inWestminster.

In addition to concerns about education funding, thegroup talked about charter government, solid waste and the resident trooper program.

"It was a nice, informal sit-down breakfast with the commissioners," said Rosemary Hanger, league president.

FEE RULEDILLEGAL

The county has suspended collecting environmental review fees from developers until legal concerns are ironed out, commissioners said.

The county is temporarily complying with an opinion issued in December by the state Attorney General's Office that stated the county did not have the authority to collect the fees, which are usedto offset costs associated with staff review of development projects.

Reviewing that opinion, county attorneys Charles W. Thompson Jr.and Michelle M. Ostrander concluded that the environmental review fees are not allowed as currently charged.

The county has been collecting the fees since July.

The county attorneys, however, also wrote that "these charges, if reasonable (which they appear to be), may be included as part of building permits for projects that benefit from the review or, perhaps, included as a universal charge on all building permits to the extent doing so is regulatory as opposed to a tax measure."

The county charges a $50 fee for review of residential plans and $100 for review of commercial plans.

Commissioner Elmer Lippy said yesterday that the commissioners and staff are reviewing the possibility of refunding fees already collected.

"That issue hasn't been decided yet," he said.

Lippy also apologized for the commissioners' delay in responding to concerns raised about the fees by aWestminster resident several months ago.

He said he and other commissioners had received the report from the State's Attorney's Officebut had inadvertently overlooked it among their paperwork.

WATER HEARINGS PLANNED

The county commissioners will have public hearings, beginning later this month, on proposed increases in sewer and water fees.

The proposed increase would raise current quarterly water fees from $13.21 to $20.35 and from 25 cents to $1.30 per 1,000 gallons. Residences use an average of about 27,000 gallons quarterly. The average quarterly bill now is about $20.

Quarterly sewer fees would rise from $19.17 to $24.42 under the proposed fee plan. In addition, the $1 fee charged per 1,000 gallons treated would increase to $2.46,according to county Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman.

Curfman told the commissioners last fall that the county systems are operating at an $850,000 deficit. Current rates are not sufficient to pay for operating, upgrading and expanding the systems.

The first two hearings will be March 27 at North Carroll Middle School and April 7 at Eldersburg Elementary to discuss the reasons behind the fee increases, Curfman said.

Additional hearings will be April 22 at North Carroll Middle School and April 29 at Eldersburg Elementary for public comment.

TREE MONEY NEEDED

HAMPSTEAD -- In order to gain status as a "TreeCity," the town must set aside $2 per resident in its 1993 budget, said Councilwoman Jacqueline J. Hyatt.

Hyatt told fellow council members at their meeting Monday that the state has set the $2 per resident as a guideline. Hampstead has a population of about 2,760.

Being a Tree City will give the town a better chance when the state offers a chance to compete for grants to plant or maintain trees, Hyatt said.

Another requirement of a Tree City is some sort of tree ordinance to address the planting and maintenance of trees on town property. The council has not yet drafted such an ordinance.

The council will meet for its first workshop on the budget at 7 p.m. April 6 at the town hall.

Town Manager John A. Riley, who was not at Monday night's meeting, has warned the council that several thousand dollars in state money will not be available this year, but he has not yet developed firm projections.

In other business, the council voted to adopt a deferred compensation plan for the nine town employees. The plan allows employees to have retirement savings deducted from their pay before taxes, at no cost to the town.

REZONING RECOMMENDED

The county Planning Commission yesterday voted to recommend that 5 acres on Route 97 at Krider's Church Road be rezoned from residential to industrial.

The land owner, James P. Ryan Jr., owner of Rylea Homes Inc. of Westminster, requested the change.

Ryan said he has an option to sell the land to the county.

The property is near the countyairport.

County planning staff recommended the change because there has been "a substantial change in the neighborhood," planner SteveHorn said.

A state highway maintenance center built across the road from Rylea's property changed the immediate neighborhood, he said.

Property may be rezoned if the neighborhood has changed or a mistake was made in the original zoning.

No mistake was made in the original zoning, Horn said.

The county commissioners have the final say about whether the land is rezoned.

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