Parr's Ridge Shouldn't Pay for What It Can't GetYour March...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 10, 1994

Parr's Ridge Shouldn't Pay for What It Can't Get

Your March 21 editorial of Del. Richard Dixon's H.B. 703 is fundamentally flawed. When you suggest its intent is not good public policy because taxes were never intended to be user fees, you demonstrate a lack of understanding of the entire issue.

While most of us understand that tax money does and should pay for services which not everyone uses, I should hope all of us might agree that services for which we are taxed ought not be denied us. Such is the case of the homeowners living at Parr's Ridge.

Parr's Ridge homeowners' city taxes support such services as trash collection, snow removal and street lighting for all Westminster city homeowners except those of Parr's Ridge. Delegate Dixon's bill would enable either the provision of such services to the condominium homeowners or an adjustment of city real estate taxes for the proportion of expenses these services cost. Are the taxpayers of Parr's Ridge entitled to anything less?. . . .

You state that Parr's Ridge homeowners should have known that they would be paying condominium fees as well as city taxes. We agree. Condominium homeowners everywhere pay condominium fees for non-city services -- and we shall do so regardless of the enactment of H.B. 703.

What condominium owners may not have to do is to pay twice for street services, once to the city and again via increased condominium fees. The enactment of H.B. 703 will permit the city to be fair by providing equal services or alternatively providing a reimbursement for the denied services.

Does The Sun know of another Maryland municipality that denies city services to condominium homeowners? I don't. In this regard, I had a condominium home in Ocean City on Ninth Street; Mayor Roland "Fish" Powell has an individual home three blocks away. We both received the same city services from Ocean City government, as we should.

Condominium homeowners in other states (i.e., Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey) have faced Parr's Ridge homeowners' dilemma and have sought relief both in their legislatures and in their courts.

I hope that court action such as was recently successful in New Jersey will be unnecessary in Maryland given the enactment of Delegate Dixon's bill.

R. Kenneth Barnes

Westminster

Keep Springfield

As a task force considers closing one of the three metropolitan state hospitals, Springfield Hospital Center will need the support of the population of Carroll County in order to remain open.

This is highly desirable. Springfield is a very good hospital and an important landmark in the history of Carroll County. It has a long tradition of compassionate care of persons with persistent and severe mental disorders.

Residents of Carroll County have worked at Springfield from generation to generation, developing considerable skills in dealing with this very disabled segment of the population. Springfield is also an important component of the network of services for the mentally ill in the geographic areas it serves. . . .

We hope that the task force will opt for keeping Springfield opened (and the other two hospitals too), with the understanding that the hospital will downsize naturally (as it has been doing in the past years) as it becomes less necessary due to more and better community programs.

To do violence to this natural process, even if fiscally sound, will jeopardize good patient care.

Marcio V. Pinheiro, M.D.

Eldersburg

Drug Task Force

In his somewhat lengthy and rambling response to criticism of his scandalous drug task force (and by extension his office), Thomas Hickman, state's attorney for Carroll County, states that he and six others should have come away from a two-hour meeting with the auditor understanding what was needed. They didn't.

It occurs to me Hickman should have paid more attention to what was requested and less time trying to evade providing data that would have completed the audit.

As a Republican, I have had it with Hickman's lack of positive leadership in this office, which seems to always work under a cloud. There were problems with family members, the debacle involving Jeff Griffith and the outlandish tactics of the drug task force itself. . . .

Hickman and Barton Walker are the beneficiaries of the outrageous behavior used by the task force, so it's no wonder they regularly rise to defend it. The rest of us are the losers as the framers of the Constitution watch their hard work go down in political flames.

Gene Edwards

Eldersburg

Schmitt's, Sun Patronize the Disabled

I enjoyed reading Tom Keyser's story of an old Westminster institution, Schmitt's Drug Store on Main Street ("Drug store served fountain of goodwill," March 15). The message of "goodwill" was disaffirmed, however, by the irony inherent in the photograph accompanying the story. Since the five-inch step at the store's entrance precludes wheelchair access, the photo showed owner Dennis Rosenbloom providing "curbside service" to a customer in a wheelchair.

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