Commissioners hear residents' priorities

April 28, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County residents shouldn't leave all the decisions about how to spend their tax money to the politicians -- or let them carry the burden of tax increases, two county commissioners said last night.

The commissioners need advice about what services government should offer in the next 10 years and how they should be financed, Commissioner Donald I. Dell told 54 residents who attended the first meeting of what Mr. Dell called "A Vision for the Future."

About 40 Carroll civic groups, plus government officials, were invited to the meeting. It also was open to the public. Mr. Dell said he came up with the idea as a way to get citizens involved in county decision-making.

"Please give it your best shot. A lot of the future of Carroll County hinges on you here tonight," Mr. Dell said.

"I hope people won't think these two commissioners are just grandstanding," he said.

He and Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy presided over the 45-minute meeting at the County Office Building. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge was on her way to a wedding in North Carolina. The commissioners had invited representatives from almost 40 community organizations and government agencies.

Mr. Dell, who is running for a second term this year, said it was his idea to form the committee. He said he wants residents to rate the importance of issues such as education, roads, crime, recreation and environmental protection. He has asked staff members to do the same.

Tax increases should not be subject to the whim of politics, he said, and county officials should have a schedule that dictates when increases in taxes and fees are needed.

Westminster resident Arthur B. Lego of the Carroll County Taxpayers Association urged residents to consider what effect their suggestions would have on taxes.

Bill Drumm, who lives near Eldersburg and is president of the taxpayers association, said, "I'd like to see Carroll County run like a business."

Paul Denton, president of Maryland Midland Railway Co. and chairman of the county's Economic Development Commission, said, "We firmly believe economic development is the way to fund these things we want."

Carroll County Chamber of Commerce member Wayne Barnes said industries lighten the tax burden on residents.

Westminster landscaper J. Christopher Batten said he supports "sensible land development and sensible environmental protection."

Realtor Lou Scharon, a former county commissioner, called Carroll "a darned nice place to live. With controlled growth, we can keep it that way."

The commissioners asked residents, regardless of whether they attended last night's meeting, to submit their lists of priorities by July 1. Staff members will compile a master list, and the commissioners plan to meet again with residents in October, Mr. Dell said.

For information, call Micki Smith at 857-8103.

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