Council to vote tonight on referendum policy

January 26, 1995|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

The Columbia Council is scheduled to vote tonight on guidelines that would control the Columbia Association's new nonbinding referendum, or "advisory vote" policy, which lets citizens petition certain issues to a Columbia-wide vote.

The wide-ranging agenda for tonight's meeting also includes discussion of plans to improve Symphony Woods park, to institute a competitive bidding policy for construction projects and to sponsor a forum on governance.

The council is also asking residents to comment on CA's proposed $1.4 million recreational vehicle storage facility, although the issue is not on the formal agenda.

The council sets policy and the budget for the Columbia Association (CA), which imposes an annual levy on Columbia property owners to fund operation of recreational facilities, community services and parkland maintenance.

Several members have said they believe the provision allowing residents to petition certain issues to referendum could be unworkable and create dissension.

One member, Michael Rethman, who represents Hickory Ridge Village, said he would propose rescinding the new community voting right.

Other council members say the board has made a commitment to allow nonbinding referendums and should go forward with the rules.

On Symphony Woods, the council has proposed a $600,000 improvement project over several years, designed to make Columbia's 38-acre downtown park more attractive.

Councilwoman Norma Rose of Wilde Lake Village has proposed a new policy requiring three bids for all construction-related projects and requiring the council to approve all contracts of more than $15,000.

In addition, the council plans to sponsor three symposiums in March and April featuring as many as nine guest speakers to discuss the pros and cons of turning Columbia, an unincorporated community, into a city with a government.

The council hasn't settled on speakers yet.

The council meets at 8 p.m. at the Columbia Association Building, 10221 Wincopin Circle in Town Center.

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