Increased funding for schools gains backing at budget hearing

May 13, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Youth was given more support than age last night as loud applause followed several requests to increase funding for school building projects during the annual hearing on the Carroll County budget and tax rate.

In contrast, boos and hisses greeted suggestions from the Carroll County Taxpayers Association, a group of mostly senior citizens that favors cuts in the budget and tax rate.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please," county Budget Director Steven D. Powell chided as parents responded to Burt Lego's suggestion that the county schools' budget be trimmed first.

"The school budget takes well over 50 percent of the money, it's the likely candidate," Mr. Lego said. "You folks up there represent the whole county. You don't just represent the school board and not just people with children in school."

On the school building front, northwestern Carroll County residents turned out in force, requesting money to renovate Francis Scott Key High, Taneytown Elementary and Elmer Wolfe Elementary.

Eight rows of Westminster High's auditorium were filled with parents, teachers and business leaders sporting Elmer Wolfe buttons with green ribbons. The county commissioners have pledged $200,000 to plan renovations, but school officials say an additional $50,000 is needed to properly complete this phase of the project.

"The future of our county and business in this area resides at this school," said David H. Roush, plant manager of Lehigh Portland Cement in Union Bridge. "The library is appalling. It barely qualifies as a library, much less a media center."

Debbie Doxon, a parent in Union Bridge, said many children in that area have the distinction of attending the three most antiquated schools in the Carroll system -- Elmer Wolfe, New Windsor Middle and Francis Scott Key.

"These schools are not just not up to par," she said. "They are obsolete."

Also playing on the child-welfare issue, the Maryland State Police presented a case for an additional $75,000 to pay for training, equipment and clerical staff in the Westminster barracks' criminal investigation division.

"I remember a time as a child when I could ride two to three miles away from home and I was OK," said Cpl. Doug Wehland. He is a 32-year resident of Carroll County.

"Now, when my child is in the yard, someone is always watching her," he said. "Society is ever changing and it doesn't take too long to see where the problems are."

Carroll County's property tax rate for the 1995 fiscal year is $2.35 per $100 of assessed value, Mr. Powell said when the hearing began.

Increases in assessments will cause tax bills to rise an average 4.4 percent, he said.

The county budget will be approved during a public meeting at 3 p.m. May 26 in the Carroll County Commissioners office of the county office building, Mr. Powell said.

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