'95 budget wish list is lengthy

December 08, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

Public health, safety, education and transportation should receive major funding in the next county government budget, residents and civic leaders told officials last night.

Water-quality conditions at the Alpha Ridge and Carrs Mill landfills have deteriorated so rapidly that Howard County needs to bring public water there immediately, said Marriottsville resident Donald Gill.

Mr. Gill, a professor of biological chemistry at the University of Maryland, said the latest results from test wells on the landfill sites show that the number of cancer-causing contaminants there is increasing.

Although no contaminants have turned up in residential wells, the county should treat the landfill pollution as an emergency situation and put enough money in the fiscal 1995 budget to bring public water to 1,000 residents in the Marriottsville area within two years and to assure Carrs Mill residents that they will FTC receive clean water if their wells fail, Dr. Gill said.

Dr. Gill was one of 16 people who shared with county officials their budget priorities for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Herb Watchinski Jr., chairman of the Police Department's citizens advisory council, said the county needs to add police officers and to hire civilian workers to do administrative tasks now being handled by uniformed officers.

Mr. Watchinski said he had taken some scary rides in patrol cars. "The scary part was not the crime," he said, "but the fact that we were riding in cars many, many thousands of miles over 100,000 [on their odometers]."

Ruth Chase, chairwoman of the animal matters hearing board, said the animal control office is suffering a severe shortage of office and kennel personnel and must hire new employees.

"Officers are pulled from the field to do kennel work and office work," she said, "and that affects the health and safety of the county. We need adequate field personnel particularly because we seem to have a rabies epidemic in this part of the country. . . . We've got good quality people, we just don't have enough of them."

Suezenette McDonald-Gordon said that despite having severe learning disabilities, she has a 4.0 grade point average at Howard Community College, thanks to student-support services there. The college is helping her fulfill her dream of getting a college degree and becoming a motivational speaker, she said, and she urged the county to continue to support the college.

Sherry Wainger of the PTA Council made a similar request on behalf of the Board of Education. She said the school system has suffered because of past budget cuts and that must end. She said the board's capital and operating budgets must be fully funded in the coming fiscal year.

More public transportation money was a request often repeated by representatives of social service agencies. "Transportation is the single most critical issue for seniors, people with disabilities and low income families," said Jane Walker of the Association of Community Services. "Money must be set aside for the implementation of the county's master transportation plan."

The master plan is being drawn up and is expected to be aired next year.

Other requests last night were for an emergency motel shelter program, services for the homeless, program support for residents who don't speak English, two new public golf courses, repair of county ball fields and support funding for mental health services until a nonprofit agency can become fully operational.

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