Council to consider measure on Crofton community counselor

January 03, 1995|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

The effort to keep a community counselor in Crofton will wind up in front of the County Council tonight when the council considers a measure to keep the job in the civic association's budget until Jan. 31, when a petition drive is to be complete.

The petition drive started last year after County Attorney Judson P. Garrett Jr. questioned whether the charter of the Crofton special tax district allows tax money to be spent for a counselor program.

County Executive Robert R. Neall, who oversees the tax district's budget, said he would cut the program's funding Jan. 31 unless Crofton's charter was amended to give it that authority.

The petition drive is not going well, said Councilman John J. Klocko III, who represents Crofton.

"This is not going to pass," Mr. Klocko told fellow council members during a work session last week. "It's almost an impossibility for them to get the numbers" they need for passage at this point, he said of the drive's organizers.

The bill spells out the timetable for cutting off funding if the petition fails and extends funding if a petition is submitted to the county for certification.

Under the measure, funding for the position would expire Jan. 31, when the current Crofton budget expires, if no petition was submitted.

If the petition was submitted to the county, funding would continue while the Office of Budget and Finance checked the signatures to certify their validity. If the petitions contained fewer signatures than required, the funding would cease 31 days after that determination.

If the petition drive is successful, the council must amend the county code to allow for a community counselor program in the Crofton Special Benefits District by May 1.

If such a bill was not passed by May 1, funding for the counselor position would end June 1.

Mr. Klocko said the bill the council will hear tonight "doesn't give them additional time" to collect signatures.

"It defines the end point, where before it was not defined."

The civic association's board of directors already has approved two versions of the tax district's budget, one with the counselor position included and one that excludes it.

There are three other bills on the council's agenda:

* An additional appropriation to the current budget of $442,840 the county received from the Maryland Department of Transportation to pay for county police officers to patrol the Central Light Rail Line. The additional patrols were started after reports of increased crime at light rail stations in the northern part of the county over the summer.

* A transfer of $65,000 from the completed Bestgate Road project to repair sidewalks, curbs and gutters in Ferndale Farms.

* A transfer of $170,000 from three storm drain projects to pay for storm drain construction in Cape St. Claire.

The council also will interview applicants for the seven-member Board of Appeals.

More than 70 applications have been received.

The council meeting is to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

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