Poll shows residents are unclear on plans Countians split on reorganization

March 21, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

County residents don't seem to know just what to make of County Executive Robert R. Neall's reorganization plans.

About 42 percent of the 485 county residents polled by Anne Arundel Community College recently said they favored the executive's decision to reduce administrative costs by reorganizing county departments. But 41.9 percent were against Neall's plan.

And 15.9 percent said they have no opinion on the issue.

Elizabeth Kessel, director of the college's Center for the Study of Local Issues, said the high rate of uncertainty is probably because residents don't know whether the plan would result in diminished services.

On national issues, county residents were somewhat pessimistic about the Clinton administration's chances of resolving national problems, including reducing the deficit.

The poll, conducted March 8-11, showed 43 percent of county residents who participated in the survey think it's very unlikely President Clinton will be able to reduce the deficit.

About 18 percent thought the president had a likely chance of success.

At the local level, the survey shows the issues at the top of Anne Arundel County residents' list are economic problems (24 percent), taxes (16.7 percent) and county growth (11.8 percent).

The poll showed housing was viewed as the least of county problems, with 0.3 percent citing that as a major concern.

Concerns about the budget fell fifth on the list of survey respondents' concerns, despite the fact that layoffs of county employees are imminent.

Mr. Neall's reorganization and consolidation plan is expected to result in more than 100 layoffs and save $10 million; the actual number of layoffs won't be known until the county budget is submitted to the County Council in May.

But county residents did express concern about the business climate in the county.

More than 42 percent felt that the conditions were the same as a year ago (when 46 percent said conditions were worse), while 35.7 percent said they were worse now than a year ago.

A minority, 16.7 percent, said business conditions were better.

But there was some guarded optimism about the future economic and financial conditions, Ms. Kessel noted.

About 46 percent of the respondents said that, in general, county residents will be better off by the year 2000, compared to 21 percent who said they'd be "worse off."

"Clearly residents, as in our October 1992 survey, remain concerned and anxious, but they haven't given up hope," Ms. Kessel said.

The survey, conducted twice a year by the Center for the Study of Local Issues at the college, has a 5 percent margin of error.

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