Proposals to privatize Anne Arundel County's Division of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Economic Development will be considered at public hearings tonight before the county council.
Privatization of the two offices is part of County Executive Robert R. Neall's plan to downsize government by turning many services now performed by county employees over to private contractors.
Once the ordinances are approved by the council, the two agencies would become nonprofit corporations. The Office of Economic Development had been part of the County Executive Office. The Housing and Community Development Division was under the Department of Planning and Zoning.
Three other county agencies, the London Town Publik House and Gardens, the Commission on Culture and the Arts and the Office of Manpower, have gone through similar privatization.
The two county agencies would be abolished once the nonprofit corporations are formed on July 1. The county would transfer equipment and supplies used by the old offices to the new corporations.
The new Anne Arundel Economic Development Program would continue to administer the county's incentive loan program, which provides financing assistance to businesses to start, expand, retain or relocate in Anne Arundel County. It also would continue to recruit new business to the county. The Housing and Community Development Program would solicit and administer public and private grants that provide for housing and public facilities for low- and moderate-income county residents.
Officials said the county would initially subsidize the ventures through grants and any savings would come in the long run, as they raise their own private funds.
The council will also hold public hearings on a bill that will set charges and requirements at county-owned sanitary landfills; a bill that establishes a Solid Waste Financial Assistance Fund, that will fulfill a federal requirement that landfills provide financial assurance for the cost of landfill closure and post-closure care; and a bill that will establish fees for the review of grading and sediment control plans by the Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District.
The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.