2 in Carroll balk at bay cleanup cost

January 05, 1994|By Staff Report

Two of Carroll's three commissioners are holding off endorsing a proposed outline of how the county will help to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Julia W. Gouge declined Monday to sign a letter to the Department of the Environment, after the commissioners' executive assistant warned that their signatures could be interpreted as a commitment to spend local money on the cleanup.

Mrs. Gouge started a sentence, "If we send this in, my concern is . . . "

" . . . that we're supporting the program," Robert "Max" Bair, the assistant, finished for her. Mr. Bair said Department of the Environment officials might interpret the signatures to mean Carroll County would help pay to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus, which stimulate algae blooms, in the bay.

Commissioner Elmer Lippy favored signing the letter. He said he could find nothing in it that mandated spending county money.

K. Marlene Conaway, assistant director of planning and an author of the proposal, said it did not obligate the county financially.

"Our letter says, 'We need grant funds for anything you do. Otherwise we can't make a commitment,' " she told the commissioners.

The commissioners signed a memorandum last fall agreeing to cooperate in a state effort to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the bay by 40 percent below 1987 levels.

State officials want to achieve the reduction by 2000.

The state agency's approach to achieving that goal has generated some disagreement with county governments in the Patapsco River basin, Ms. Conaway said.

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