Association's 1994-1995 budget on council agenda tonight

November 23, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The Columbia Council plans to discuss the Columbia Association's 1994-95 budget tonight, possibly including a proposal for a 1.5-cent reduction in the unincorporated city's property charge rate.

Councilman Mike Rethman of Hickory Ridge Village recommended at the Nov. 11 council meeting that the association prepare several budget versions, including one assuming the reduction in the association's current charge of 73 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

Councilman David Berson of River Hill Village said that the proposal could accomplish several purposes, including fostering "a much broader discussion of budget items" rather than concentrating on a few big-ticket projects, and focusing debate on whether to increase spending or reduce the annual charge.

The council sets policy and the budget for the private, nonprofit association, which runs the city's recreational facilities and community programs and maintains open space areas.

The 8 p.m. meeting is at the Columbia Association Building, 10221 Wincopin Circle.

A 1.5-cent reduction in the association lien would translate to about $345,000 in income in the current year's budget, said Robert Krawczak, association director of administrative services.

"We'd have to identify areas where we could either reduce expenses or increase income to make up the difference," he said.

A 1.5-cent reduction in the rate would translate to savings in the annual fee ranging from $7.50 for properties valued at $100,000 to $15 for properties valued at $200,000 to $22.50 for properties valued at $300,000. Under the current 73-cent levy, those properties would have annual charges of $365, $730 and $1,095, respectively.

The council is also set to hear a proposal by Councilwoman Norma Rose of Wilde Lake for creating summer camps for middle school students.

The council also plans to consider Long Reach Village's request for a $24,923 budget supplement to cover legal fees the village incurred defending a court challenge of a disputed election.

Village officials have argued that a court decision clarified election rules for all of Columbia, and that the Columbia Association should bear the costs.

Several council members have contended that the village has accumulated a revenue reserve, including money from association grants, which is large enough to cover the costs.

The council also will discuss issuing bonds to finance capital projects. The last association bond issue was for $5 million at 8.8 percent interest in fiscal 1993.

The association has about $74 million outstanding in long-term debt.

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