Crofton gets deadline on counselor

May 03, 1994

Crofton officials have until Jan. 31, 1995, to obtain legal authority to spend tax money on its controversial community counselor program.

County Executive Robert R. Neall's budget bill, submitted yesterday, includes $563,979 for the Crofton special tax district, on the condition that none of the money is used for the counselor after Jan. 31, unless the County Code is amended to specifically authorize the program.

The community counselor provides free psychological help to Crofton residents. The program has narrowly survived several attempts at its abolition by Crofton Civic Association board members and others.

Mr. Neall's decision satisfied Martin A. Szostek, who threatened last month to sue if Mr. Neall granted unconditional approval to the Crofton budget for fiscal year 1995.

Mr. Szostek, association secretary and candidate for president of the organization, believes Crofton taxpayers should have a say in whether the program is continued.

The legislation that established the Crofton special tax district gave the Crofton Civic Association, which administers the district, specific authority to spend tax money on certain programs, such as the community police force. It also gave the association broad budgeting powers under a catch-all clause that has been used to justify the counselor program.

For the program to continue, a majority of Crofton homeowners must petition the county to grant the tax district the authority to spend money on a counselor. The County Council and the county executive would have to approve the change.

Pair arrested on drug charges

A Crownsville man and and Odenton woman were arrested Saturday morning and charged with possession of narcotics after a police officer stopped their car at Blue Water and Town Center boulevards, county police said.

A county officer stopped a 1988 Ford truck at 2:30 a.m. because it was being driven erratically, police said. As he got out of his car, the truck's driver dropped a bag containing a substance that field tested positive for crack cocaine, police said. The passenger also dropped a bag that contained crack cocaine, police said.

Police found a substance believed to be PCP in one of driver's pockets, police said.

Raymond Shanks, 27, of the 1400 block of Hoppa Road was charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession of PCP ** and several traffic violations, police said. Roxanne Vennik, 29, of the 1400 block of Hale St. was charged with possession of crack cocaine.

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