Neall Finds Report On Crofton Incorporation Lacking

More Data On Proposal Needed, Executive's Office Says

March 31, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

A report that says Crofton's special tax district would enjoy a financial windfall by incorporating lacks information needed to judge theproposal, the county executive's office said yesterday.

"There are many more issues that need to be considered," said Louise Hayman, County Executive Robert R. Neall's press secretary. "It will take timefor the county to gather all the information and assess the proposal."

Hayman said work on the fiscal 1993 budget has consumed much of Neall's time, delaying his analysis of the report issued last week by the Institute of Governmental Affairs at the University of Maryland at College Park. She said Neall's first reaction to the document is that more government is not necessarily a solution.

"The county executive is not in favor of enlarging government or adding another layerto government. On the surface, that is what this proposal would do."

Annapolis and Highland Beach are the only two incorporated areas in the county.

The Crofton Civic Association may schedule public hearings on the incorporation proposal next month. The board has not taken a position on whether Crofton should change its form of government.

Some Crofton leaders are interested in studying incorporation because it would give them more control, especially in terms of land-use issues.

Should the community of 10,000 residents incorporate, the report said, it would be eligible to receive at least $700,000 from its share of the state income tax. The community could get an additional $100,000 from other state and local revenue, such as the amusement tax and state grants.

That would allow the community to nearly eliminate its property tax, currently 29 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, and still bring in more than $800,000 in revenue. It's current budget is $550,000.

The extra money, however, would come from county coffers, which have been greatly reduced by recent state budget cuts.

The report assumes Crofton would not offer any more services as an incorporated municipality than it does now as a tax district. But selling that assumption to the county wouldn't be easy, the report says. The county would be faced with losing nearly $1 million in revenue while still providing Crofton with such services as trash pickup.

County Council members are taking a cautious stance on the report, saying they, too, want to see more information.

"I'm always skeptical when you are going to add another level of government," Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, D-Severn, said. "It may save them money in the short run, but in the long run, it may end up costing the taxpayers more."

Councilwoman Virginia P. Clagett, D-West River, who represents Crofton, also said she wants to study the report more.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions," she said.

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