Crofton enforcement limited on covenants for real estate Lawyer says tax district funds may not be used

January 17, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

The Crofton Civic Association may not be allowed to use tax district money to enforce real estate covenants, county lawyers say.

Enforcing covenants is not a public improvement or a municipal service, the only purposes for which the county allows tax districts, according to an opinion written by Patricia A. Logan, a senior assistant county attorney.

The opinion was written last February, but board members did not see it until it was distributed with an information packet for this month's meeting, held Monday. It had been requested by John Hammond, the county finance officer.

Now, Crofton officials are pressing an earlier request for county legislation that would give them the authority to use the money to enforce agreements. They say they are angry that county officials have not responded.

"We are really in an area of limbo," said Edwin F. Dosek, president of the association's board.

The civic association has used tax district money to fight covenant disputes in court for years. But last January association officers asked for specific authority to enforce the agreements.

The tax district's $573,885 budget, which comes up for a community vote Jan. 22, includes money for covenant enforcement in its $15,000 legal fees entry.

But the association may have to go back to charging residents dues to raise nontax money to pay for legal fees associated with covenant disputes, said Town Manager Barbara Swann.

The civic association, which administers the tax district, is charged with enforcing about 30 residential covenants. It takes three or four residents to court every few years, Ms. Swann said.

Councilman John J. Klocko III said he would pressure County Executive John G. Gary for an official response to the request for legislation and offered to introduce the measure himself if necessary.

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