Mayor Gullo versus the Schools? CARROLL COUNTY

September 23, 1993

Some people may have thought that New Windsor Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. has been attempting to extort $183,600 from the Carroll County school board. They are mistaken.

New Windsor's new, young mayor was simply trying to ensure that the school system pays its rightful share for the costs associated with hooking up the proposed New Windsor Middle School to the town's water and sewer systems.

The impasse between the town and school system that dragged on all summer has apparently been resolved; the county government has agreed to forgive a previous $75,000 loan it made to the town, and to pay New Windsor a lump sum of $108,600 to cover the balance of the water-sewer hook-up costs for the new school. Construction of the $7.5 million project should start shortly.

This messy dispute wouldn't have occurred at all had the school been, say, a residential subdivision or an industrial plant. The hook-up fees would have been taken for granted. But in battling to get the school to pay, Mr. Gullo came off as the unfortunate heavy.

His premise was sound, however: New Windsor has determined that the town's current residents should not bear the costs of adding to the town's infrastructure; future developments will bear the costs of upgrading the town's water and wastewater treatment systems. The town council adopted this policy before Mr. Gullo was elected last May. Now, he feels obligated to enforce it.

Moreover, the new middle school will serve families who live outside the town proper. The financial base and responsibility for funding new schools belongs to the county, not to individual municipalities.

vTC The hook-up fee of $183,600 may sound like highway robbery, but it's in line with charges levied on other developers. Mr. Gullo and school officials agree that the new school's water and sewer demands will be the equivalent of adding nearly 46 homes to the town's systems. Multiplied by a charge of $4,000 per house, the cost comes to $183,600.

As the fee burden has been resolved and the school is about to be built, we're glad that education and county officials saw the sense of Mayor Gullo's position and did not unfairly burden the townspeople of New Windsor with costs that all Carroll residents should bear.

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