Westminster studies council reimbursement

March 07, 1993

HAGERSTOWN — A Westminster city government committee plans to recommend that the City Council reimburse its members for car and other expenses incurred on city business.

The recommendation is scheduled for consideration at tomorrow's City Council meeting at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

If the council approves the recommendation, elected officials will be reimbursed for mileage at 28 cents a mile, 7 cents a mile more than city employees currently receive for using their cars on government business.

Councilman Stephen R. Chapin Sr., the finance committee chairman, would approve requests for compensation for expenses. The 28-cents-per-mile rate is the current Internal Revenue Service allowance rate.

City employees who use their cars for government business are compensated at 21 cents a mile. The personnel handbook says the reimbursement rate "may be changed as necessary."

Personnel Director Karen K. Blandford said she does not believe has been updated since the handbook was written in 1987.

The council asked City Clerk John D. Dudderar and Finance Director Stephen V. Dutterer to form a committee to study the reimbursement issue after the Jan. 25 council meeting. At that meeting, council members voted down a proposal to study an increase in their $2,400 annual pay, but indicated that they would consider reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses on city business.

Mr. Dudderar said the committee plans to recommend that "any reasonable expenses in connection with official duties should be submitted for reimbursement."

Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein, who chairs the personnel committee, said she would like to see reimbursement for city employees "brought up to current and fair standards."

Taneytown Council to discuss lot sizes

At its meeting tomorrow night, the Taneytown City Council will discuss an ordinance that would permit owners to build on lots considered too small under city regulations.

The current law says any lot smaller than 7,500 square feet cannot be developed, but there are several lots in town that were established before the restriction was put in place.

A person who owns a property smaller than the minimum lot size brought the matter before the council in an earlier meeting.

City officials asked their lawyer to draw up a new ordinance.

Structures built on the smaller lots still would have to meet the same requirements on setback from streets as those built on larger lots.

An ordinance regulating solicitors -- minus the controversial restrictions on yard sales -- also will be on the agenda for passage.

References to yard sales were removed after residents complained that the restrictions were unfair and council members said the wording was confusing.

Zoning panel considers gas station proposal

The Mount Airy Planning and Zoning Commission will consider an exception for a gas station at its meeting tomorrow night.

The station, to be owned by Ewing Oil Co., would be on the proposed extension of East Ridgeville Boulevard off Route 27.

In a joint public-private sector venture, the station also would serve as a tourism center. It would be stocked with brochures and information on Carroll, Frederick, Montgomery and Howard counties.

Senior centers would likely staff the center, and the owners could sell souvenirs because it is a private business. The station's location off Route 27 is easily accessible to Interstate 70, and Carroll and Frederick tourism officials have expressed enthusiasm for the proposal.

The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall, 2 Park Ave.

Bartlett wants his pay tied to deficit reduction

HAGERSTOWN -- Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett wants his colleague's pay tied to their track record on dealing with the federal budget deficit.

"My [bill] allows members to put their money where their mouth has been when it comes to cutting the deficit," Mr. Bartlett said.

The freshman lawmaker plans to find co-sponsors for his "Congressional Pay for Performance" bill, according to Jim Lafferty, a spokesman for Mr. Bartlett.

Under Mr. Bartlett's bill, congressional pay would be cut 2 percent for every $100 billion of the deficit. Since the deficit is at $300 billion, current congressional salaries of $133,600 would be cut by 6 percent.

Mr. Bartlett's bill raises the percentage cut in salaries to 4 percent in the second year and to 8 percent in the third year. It also includes a provision that would allow congressional salaries to double if the budget is balanced.

Mr. Lafferty said that while some members of the House leadership have expressed an interest in co-sponsoring the bill, it isn't expected to be too popular with many lawmakers.

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