WESTMINSTER — Dennis Cardiff, program coordinator for Maryland's Parents Anonymousorganization, told the Carroll County Children's Council Wednesday about the importance of the self-help group and the need for council members to promote the PA concept and make parent referrals when necessary.
"Our primary focus is prevention," he said. "We want parentsin our group before they take the first swing or hit at their children."
The recently formed Parents Anonymous group in Carroll County hasonly one parent attending its weekly meetings.
Cardiff asked members of the council to take a "proactive role" by initiating the contact and making it easy for parents in need to seek assistance.
"This is your county, your families and your children. You work and live here. I am asking you to get the word out," Cardiff said.
The Carroll chapter meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the YWCA, at 95 Carroll St. Free child care is provided at the free meetings. Information: Marilyn Wanda at 848-0783.
The council also discussed:
* The Children's Fair scheduled for April 25.
Now in its fourth year,the fair will feature displays of non-profit county organizations that serve children. Approximately 30 agencies will participate in the fair.
The fair will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cranberry Mall.
* A fall workshop (no date yet) on child abuse and neglect.
Emily Ferren, secretary for the Children's Council, said the workshopwould benefit the county.
"This is one of the issues that we haveidentified as being a need in Carroll County," said Ferren. "We decided that it was important.
TOWN PROPOSES BUDGET
DATELINE: NEW WINDSOR
NEW WINDSOR -- Town Clerk Richard M. Warehime introduced a proposed budget that will leave the town's tax rate at 45 cents per $100 ofassessed value.
"This is the toughest guestimate we have ever had," he told council members at Wednesday's session. "We have so many variables this year."
The proposal calls for $202,729 in operating money, up nearly $5,000 from last year. The town has to hire a water and sewer operator and rework its police protection program in the upcoming year.
The council will vote on the budget at its next session, May 6. Mayor James C. Carlisle said he hoped to have the county'sproposal for an operator soon. The town and neighboring Union Bridgealso should finalize plans for the police protection they share.
Council also heard a presentation of the New Windsor Service Center'sproposal to build a three-story retirement home on its Springdale Road property. The center is asking for annexation and access to town water and sewer facilities.
D. Miller Davis, director of operationsfor the center, also asked for a variance for the center's Heifer Project and rezoning the five-acre property.
Members all opposed thevariance, which would allow farm animals to be kept within the town,and asked for special zoning for the site.
Town Attorney Marker Lovell said the town could proceed with annexation, making it contingent on available water and sewer.
Council opted to turn the proposal over to the Planning Commission and wait for its recommendation.
In other news, a public hearing on a zoning variance for the Hoke Orchard property, at Springdale and Rowe roads, will be at 7 p.m. April13 at Town Hall.
PHASED RAISE PROPOSED
County officials, responding to residents' concerns raised at a recent public hearing, have proposed a phase-in of water and sewer rate increases.
Under the proposal, residents would see their sewer and water rates increase by $79each of the next three years instead of by an initial 85 percent boost, according to county Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman.
The county currently charges $13.21 quarterly for water and 25 cents per 1,000 gallons. Residences use an average of about 27,000 gallons quarterly. The average quarterly bill is about $20.
Sewer rates are $19.17 quarterly, with $1 charged per 1,000 gallons treated. The average quarterly sewer bill is about $44.
Some 5,100 water and sewer customersof the county's two treatment plans in Hampstead and South Carroll would be affected by the rate increases. Initially, county officials planned to raise the rates by about 85 percent.
Residents who attended a public hearing last month in Hampstead objected to the substantial rate increase. The county's water and sewer rates have remained unchanged for years.
The increases, expected to become effective July 1, are being sought to cover operating expenses. The treatment plants have operated in the red for years, county officials said.
Although a phase-in of the rate increase would help residents, it would still leave the county's treatment plans operating at a deficit for the next two years. Curfman estimated an $800,000 loss next year and a$400,000 loss the following year.
Even with the phase-in, residents in the Freedom District would still be required to pay an annual debt service fee, he said.
Commissioners said they would wait to act on the proposal until after hearing from residents in South Carroll. Public hearings will take place Tuesday in Eldersburg, April 22 in Hampstead, and April 29 in Eldersburg.