Candidate wants to help police and business if elected to Westminster council

March 09, 1995|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

The newest entrant in this year's Westminster City Council race would loosen the purse strings for city police and might offer breaks to businesses that owe back taxes.

Robert D. Ballinger is the third candidate to announce that he will run for one of the three council seats open in the May 8 city election. Mr. Ballinger, 28, lives on Doral Court and is a district executive with the York-Adams Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.

The other declared candidates are incumbent Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein and Willis Street resident Suzanne W. Albert.

Efforts by the EnterTRAINment line's owners to win an exemption from more than $300,000 in back admissions and amusement taxes led Mr. Ballinger to ask whether the Westminster council is involved in the business community to the extent he thinks it should be.

In Mr. Ballinger's view, "If the city had a working relationship with businesses, they would maybe try to work with you, for example the EnterTRAINment line, and maybe try to lower the taxes."

Owners of the train line are appealing a state comptroller's ruling that the line owes Westminster and Union Bridge more than $300,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties for 13 months ending in September 1991. The appeal is to be heard in Maryland Tax Court.

A Maryland General Assembly bill sponsored by Carroll Republican Sens. Larry E. Haines and Timothy R. Ferguson would exempt the line from amusement and admissions taxes.

Westminster officials have offered to work with EnterTRAINment owners on a payment plan but have not agreed to waive the taxes.

Mr. Ballinger said he wants to "put together a more stronger, i.e. business-active, council."

He has lived in Westminster five years. He became a city police booster after his car was stolen twice. City police recovered the car both times "and I'm still driving it today," he said. Mr. Ballinger said he was impressed by the way police stayed in touch with him as the car searches progressed. "Seeing how great the police were in keeping me up, I know that [took] time," the candidate said.

Mr. Ballinger said he would vote on city budgets to give the Police Department additional equipment or patrol officers it needs. He said he plans to file his declaration of candidacy tomorrow, a date he chose because it is one month before the filing deadline for council candidates. He said he wants to use the month to gain name recognition, "before all the names start getting out."

Mr. Ballinger is a 1988 graduate of Western Maryland College, to which he hopes to return to obtain his teaching certificate under the Alternative Learning Program for Schools. The program allows people with bachelor's degrees in noneducation fields to complete required education courses without repeating the bachelor's degree program.

He and his wife, Theresa, a certified public accountant, are members of Avondale Run Homeowners Association.

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