County to seek aid on zoning confusion

January 14, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

County commissioners intend to ask the University of Maryland to help clear up confusion between their duties and those of the Planning and Zoning Board, Commissioner Donald I. Dell yesterday told a group of government and business leaders yesterday.

A study and workshop presented by UM's Institute for Government Services should help the problem, Mr. Dell said during remarks at the Chamber of Commerce's State of the County luncheon.

Mr. Dell and Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy each spoke at the annual event at Martin's Westminster. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge was unable to attend after falling on a patch of ice near her home, striking her head and back.

Ms. Gouge's daughter, Jill Gebhardt, read her mother's address to the crowd.

"I'm hoping we can get some people from the University of Maryland to do a workshop for us after they've done research on [state] Article 66B [on zoning] so that each group can have a realistic understanding of what our duties are," Mr. Dell said. He noted that community growth was considered the second-most critical issue facing the county -- behind crime -- in a recent survey by WTTR radio.

"It's a complicated and complex article, and I don't have a good understanding of it," Mr. Dell said. "I think this will be helpful to all of us and Carroll County as well."

Citing crime as the issue business leaders said was most critical, Mr. Dell said residents need to support the Carroll County Drug Task Force.

A comprehensive plan clearly designating the responsibilities of task force members and the commissioners is being written, he said.

"The use of drugs is prevalent and is responsible for much of the crime, anywhere from breaking and entering to more serious crimes, such as brutal murder," Mr. Dell said.

"The task force has taken some criticism by our media and, right or wrong, this criticism has impact on the men who are at risk trying to protect our citizens."

Mr. Dell also unveiled a blue-and-white sign reading "Carroll County working together" that will be placed around the county to encourage residents to help maintain water quality.

During his talk, Mr. Lippy attempted to make county spending more clear by dividing the annual county budget by the Carroll County population.

"We don't do it that way, but if we did, that would mean [each of] you would be responsible for $986.71," he said.

The commissioner then explained that 50 percent of that money came from property taxes, 29 percent from income taxes, 7 percent from "sin" taxes on cigarettes and liquor and the rest from items such as fees, grants and interest earnings.

"How are you going to spend your $987?" Mr. Lippy asked. "You will spend $573 for educational pursuits including public schools, the community college and libraries."

Other expenditures would be $102 toward public safety, $34 for health and social welfare, $80 for public works, $14 for cultural and recreational activities and $7 to conserve natural resources, he said. Citizens would spend $3 to attract new businesses and $92 on government functions.

"The final $82 will go for things like debt service, transfers to capital, intergovernmental transfers and a mandated reserve fund," Mr. Lippy said.

"You will spend your $987 on items and issues that benefit you here in Carroll County," he said.

The speech that Ms. Gebhardt read for her mother described how issues that Ms. Gouge spoke about in her first State of the County address in 1987 have primarily remained the same.

During the speech seven years ago, Ms. Gouge addressed water quality, the need for municipal and county government to work together, economic development and the need to involve more citizens in the governmental process.

"What about 1993 and into the future?" Ms. Gouge asked. "The issues are the same as they were in 1987. As I look back, I have JTC touched on all of those issues in some form in each of my State of the County addresses."

"Our tenure as a board has been made easier by the prudent spending of earlier boards," Ms. Gouge said.

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