Panel to study charging fees for counseling Service is free to Crofton residents WEST COUNTY--Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

February 09, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

The Crofton Civic Association last night decided to let a committee study whether residents of the special tax district should pay for psychological counseling.

The service, which is now provided free to Crofton's 10,000 residents, costs about $48,000 a year, more than half of which is for the salary for the counselor, Linda R. Smith.

Crofton has a $558,000 budget for fiscal 1994, which begins July 1.

At a general membership meeting several weeks ago, three residents said they opposed paying for the services, which include drug and alcohol counseling and help for dysfunctional families.

They proposed making people pay for the service. "Somebody who is earning $150,000 a year can afford to pay," said Joe Green, who along with his wife, Ann, wants the current policy reviewed.

But other residents and many board members said the issue had been put to rest four years ago, when the board proposed eliminating the service and hiring a private contractor.

That action was met with a barrage of criticism from residents, who picketed a board meeting and overwhelmingly voted the proposal down at a special meeting.

Crofton resident Judy Kelly wrote a letter to the board asserting that most people who live in the community don't want the service to end.

"Contrary to the opinion expressed at the general meeting, those of us supporting the community counselor have not moved away," the letter says. "We're still here and still committed."

But Mrs. Green said she has every right to revisit the issue. "Just because three years ago the community voted to continue it doesn't mean it is cast in stone," she said.

Edwin F. Dosek, president of the Crofton Civic Association, said the committee will only discuss whether people should be charged for using the counseling service.

"We are not going to open up the issue of whether there will be a community counselor," he said.

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