Baltimore County bond issues

October 23, 1992

On Nov. 3, Baltimore County voters will get to play budget yea-sayers or nay-sayers as they pull levers for or against 10 bond issue questions totaling $118 million.

Of those 10 questions, the three that concern the county's public schools, community colleges and public libraries account for $50.4 million in potential funds. (An upcoming editorial will address the remaining bond questions.)

The bulk of that $50.4 million can be found in Question A, which would allow the use of $46.1 million for the building of new schools, improvements at existing sites and the purchase of properties for future school construction. Only the $47.4 million public works borrowing ordinance, Question D, packs more dollar power.

Among the new construction projects would be Jacksonville and Mays Chapel Elementary Schools and Nottingham Middle School. Also, additions would be made to Hereford Middle School and Perry Hall High School. Roof repairs ($13.7 million) and asbestos removal ($8 million) at various schools, a dire need much documented in recent years by the media, are the other major components of Question A.

Up to $3.3 million for new construction, building renovations and maintenance at the three Baltimore County community colleges -- in Essex, Dundalk and Catonsville -- would be provided if voters give their OK to Question C. Once approved, these bonds would be bolstered with matching funds from the state.

Question J would authorize spending $1 million to renovate and maintain the buildings and grounds of the county's 25 public library branches.

Some not-so-trivial bond issue trivia: This year's public school bond issue is for $6 million more than in the 1990 election. Yet the amount is still only half of what the county school board had requested.

In fact, the total of $118 million for 1992 bond questions is a little more than half of the 1990 total. It's the wish of County Executive Roger B. Hayden to hold borrowing down, thus minimizing interest payments as the recession and state aid cuts deliver one financial blow after another to the county.

This year's total of $118 million is still the second highest bond issue in county history, topping by $8 million the total from bond questions proposed four years ago. Give credit to the Hayden administration for coming up with a list of borrowing ordinances that takes care of urgent needs while heeding recessionary restraints.

We urge Baltimore County residents to vote FOR Questions A, C and J on Nov.

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