Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

WEST COUNTY --

September 20, 1993

Crofton board to discuss 1995 budget

The Crofton Civic Association will hold a general membership meeting tonight to solicit opinions on the community's budget for fiscal year 1995.

While there are no specific recommendations yet -- the comptroller will not submit a proposed plan to the board until next month -- community leaders hope to hear what residents have to say on how their money should be spent.

Last year, the special tax district, which has about 10,000 residents, approved a $559,000 budget that included a 2.4 percent cost of living raise for the community's nine full-time employees. About half the budget is spent to maintain a five-member police force.

Crofton's tax rate of 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value was maintained. The 13-member board usually discusses the budget during November and December and votes toward the end of the year.

Last year, the board shot down virtually all employee benefits requested by Town Manager Jordan Harding, who resigned several months ago for personal reasons.

The most controversial of Mr. Harding's proposals was an 8.1 percent raise for the community counselor, Linda R. Smith, who assists residents with personal problems. The board rejected the proposal and gave her the cost of living increase instead.

The counseling service, which is free to residents and costs $48,000 a year to maintain, has always been a controversial topic in the community, especially around budget time.

Several board members have proposed revamping the counselor system by requiring users to pay for sessions. But that proposal was criticized two weeks ago by lawyers who said residents should not have to pay for a service they pay taxes to maintain.

The meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Crofton Elementary School on Duke of Kent Street, near Town Hall.

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