Commissioners' law ideas praised

September 28, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The county commissioners heard only praise for a package of laws they want to introduce in the upcoming session of the General Assembly, including one that would let them veto specific spending plans of the school board.

Nine residents attended the morning public meeting Saturday at the County Office Building, the first the county has sponsored to get public input on proposed legislation.

The commissioners could revise the proposals before meeting with the county delegation on Dec. 1.

Romeo L. Valianti was the only person to speak about a measure that would give the commissioners line-item veto power over the Board of Education budget and allow the commissioners to audit the board's management practices.

As a former assistant state controller, Mr. Valianti said he thought the proposals should have been implemented earlier.

In lean budget times, every agency must justify its actions to the public, he said, adding that the commissioners aren't doing their job unless they examine how the school board spends its money.

No school board members attended the meeting, but some have said they oppose the legislation, saying a system of checks and balances already is in place.

Other topics discussed included:

* Recycling

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy proposed an additional piece of legislation that would help Carroll meet a state law that says the county must recycle 15 percent of its waste by 1994.

He said burning operations that convert waste to energy should be counted toward the county's 15 percent. For example, if Lehigh Portland Cement Co. in Union Bridge is allowed to burn tires as fuel, that should be counted as part of Carroll's recycling effort, Mr. Lippy said.

In July, Lehigh applied to the state to burn 2 million tires a year to help reduce its fuel costs. The company would be participating in a tire-recycling program sponsored by the Maryland Environmental Service. The company has not heard whether its application has been approved.

If Lehigh's burning and any other mass burning is counted, the county could surpass the 15 percent goal, Mr. Lippy said.

* Massage parlors

Vickii Engel Thomas, a massage therapist at the Center for Healing Arts in Westminster, supports proposed legislation to license massage parlors, but said her profession should be exempt.

"My work is health-care oriented," she said.

The legislation is designed to stop businesses that offer "sexual services" at massage parlors.

Jeff Young, president of the Maryland Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association, said the state has about 800 massage therapists who work in the health-care field.

* Child support

Elaine Fromm of Finksburg, president of the Organization for the Enforcement of Child Support, said she supports proposed legislation to allow the county to collect administrative fees for child-support enforcement from absent parents. Such fees should not be deducted from support payments, she said.

But she suggested the legislation be amended so that parents who regularly pay child support should not have to pay administrative fees.

* County police force

Morris L. Krome, a former state trooper and past chairman of a Carroll committee that studied establishing a county police force, said he was pleased with legislation that would allow the county to start a capital fund for a county police force if the resident-trooper program is discontinued.

He suggested that legislation also be introduced that would require the state to give the county three years' notice before it stopped funding the resident-trooper program.

Assistant County Attorney Michelle Ostrander said that the county is currently drafting such legislation.

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