Nothing Constant About This YieldWe recently our annual...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 07, 1994

Nothing Constant About This Yield

We recently our annual property tax bill, which increased 4.8 percent over last year and cumulatively 26 percent since 1990. Supposedly, property values on older homes (ours is 23 years old) in Columbia have declined since 1990 but not on our block. Why?

We now have Route 29 several yards closer to us and an increase in the noise with the increased traffic and speed levels. . . . We have new, more expensive homes within several blocks of our street. Do they enhance the value of our property? We think not. We have robberies and assaults near the walkover that is closer than many of these new homes. Does that increase the value of our property? We think not. We are denied a fence to keep the pedestrian traffic to the mall from crossing our properties or the highway perverts from the tot lot. Do the discarded beer cans left by strangers at the back of our lot increase the property's value? We think not. Other streets in Columbia enjoy sweeper service but not us. . . .

You point with pride to the level tax yield Howard countians have enjoyed or its minor increase. Since our taxes have steadily gone up, somebody else's must have gone down to give this constant yield. . . . The trend in government and industry is to retire people early at lower pensions to save jobs for the younger workers. That's fine, but let's stop putting the whole load on our ++ lower incomes. It's time for some of the rest of Howard County to enjoy the other end of the constant yield.

Lloyd W. Wood

Columbia

No Nest-Feathering

Your July 13 editorial entitled "To Pay or Not to Pay Village Directors" included an error and a less-than-accurate word. The term "discount" is misleading.

We have no authority to discount Columbia Association rates. Our village board members receive a reimbursement for fees they pay for CA programs or facilities. As you correctly reported, each director may accrue up to $300 reimbursement per year at a rate of $15 per meeting attended. Our association encourages its directors to use CA facilities, because the association reviews the CA operatng and capital budgets and testifies at the annual hearings.

The most bothersome statement was, "The biggest problem with the Hickory Ridge program is the board's decision to compensate itself. The board should only approve changes in compensation to future boards so it does not end up feathering ZTC its own nest."

In December 1991, after advertising the proposed policy five times in our village newsletter, the board voted to implement the reimbursement policy beginning May '92 with the newly elected directors. They added a two-year sunset provision. At the end of the two years, it was advertised in the newsletter that the policy would be reconsidered for future years. In April of this year, before the April 23 village elections, the seated board voted to extend the policy for future directors.

Our directors serve one-year terms and must face annual elections. They cannot assume that they will have a nest to feather.

Jane Parrish

Columbia

Pro-Education

In response to R. D. Bush's letter "Teacher Unions or PACs" (July 10), I would like to point out that I am a teacher in Howard County and a proud member of the Howard County Education Association.

I was a member of the government relations committee which recommended pro-education candidates. We endorsed candidates based on their past records, written questionnaires and personal interviews. Pro-education means candidates who support adequate finding for the full education budget, not just higher salaries. We want every student to have a textbook. We want technological equity among schools. We need training and instructional assistants to help us make inclusion successful. The current education budget was cut by more than $4 million and the reduction will adversely affect our students.

I don't see how Ms. Bush manages to link PAC with what she alludes to as "passing inadequate teachers around the system." The vast majority of teachers are dedicated, well-educated professionals who want to be held to the highest standards. We want the best for our students. That is why we feel it is vital to endorse the candidates who support Howard County educators and our students.

Geri Willis

Columbia

Atkinson-Stewart

In Melody Higgins' letter regarding the Columbia Democratic Club's recent election of officers (June 19), she does not mention the fact that she is supporting two people who are opposing Pearl Atkinson-Stewart. This may have some relevance.

Vivian C. Bailey

Columbia

Hickey's Reign

The editorial about the possible reappointment of Michael Hickey as superintendent of the Howard County school system (June 29) reminds me of The Sun's support for Sen. Paul Sarbanes. We get vague generalities about achievements and then a little warning at the end that "stronger leadership" will be needed in the future, year after year, election after election.

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