Carroll aids neighbors, and benefits in return

July 21, 1996|By DONALD I. DELL

AS A CARROLL County commissioner, my job is to focus on the issues of the county and its citizens. While many of these issues are unique to Carroll, we don't exist in a vacuum. Carroll County shares the assets and concerns of its neighbors, as they share ours.

Our regional economies are co-dependent. Many Carroll County residents are employed in neighboring counties or Baltimore City. Conversely, Carroll provides a rural atmosphere that appeals to families and those seeking respite from the hectic pace of city life. Business also reaps benefits from regional interactions. The international headquarters of Black & Decker is housed in Baltimore County, and its division in Carroll County employs 795 people. Carroll's Marada operation supplies bumpers and auto parts to the General Motors plant in Baltimore.

As outgoing chair of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, I have been directly involved in many cooperative ventures to address problems, find solutions and identify opportunities that benefit not just Carroll County, but Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties as well.

Carroll County has joined other BMC jurisdictions to undertake a variety of initiatives that benefit both the individual county or city, and the region as a whole. Many of these activities would be ineffective or impossible if tackled alone.

For example:

Half of Liberty Reservoir is located in Carroll County, yet Liberty is one of three reservoirs supplying drinking water to 1.6 million residents in our six jurisdictions. Through the Reservoir Watershed Management Agreement, BMC works with participating organizations to reduce sources of phosphorus and jTC sediment flowing into Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy reservoirs. Monitoring data and periodic reports indicate that substantial progress has been made to protect these drinking water resources.

ENDZONE/Ozone Action Days is a regional effort to address air quality issues throughout the Baltimore and Washington regions. Although Carroll County is decidedly non-metropolitan, we share our air equality with our neighbors. BMC has worked with Carroll and the other member jurisdictions to develop plans to reduce operational emissions that contribute to ozone pollution. In this way, local government is joining with the private sector to do its share for cleaner air.

BMC's Geographic Information System provides support for area fire, police and ambulance services. The GIS maps serve as a data base for the computer-aided dispatch system, greatly improving emergency response efforts.

Carroll County taxpayers benefit from BMC's Baltimore Regional Cooperative Purchasing Committee. By identifying common purchasing needs, negotiating prices and buying in large volumes, all member jurisdictions enjoy significant savings on items ranging from ambulances and road sale to recycled paper.

BMC can list many successes. During my tenure as chair, the council received approval of Conformity of the Long Range Transportation Plan and the 1996-2000 Transportation Improvement Program, ensuring continuing federal funding for the region's transportation projects. A regional solid waste strategy was developed to serve as a blueprint for area solid waste programs. Carroll County is actively pursuing a long-term solution to its solid waste issues. This regional perspective can be factored into the planning process, allowing us to evaluate solid waste facilities throughout the area and seek cooperative ventures to resolve this pressing concern. And the council supported Gov. Parris N. Glendening's budget proposal to provide an additional $2 million to our community colleges for regional job training programs.

One of BMC's most effective efforts from Carroll's perspective is the establishment of the Greater Baltimore Alliance, a partnership of government and business leaders. This organization markets the region to prospective businesses and pools resources that enable us to be regional and national players in the competitive economic development game. Ann Coscia, executive director of the alliance, is a strong, positive force who understands the development process and has had many successes.

Each member jurisdiction of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council has suffered from reduced revenues and increasing demands for services. Every time we must tighten the belt, we look for more effective and efficient ways to accomplish the myriad tasks before us. Sharing resources, talents and ideas has made each community, and the region, stronger. As the old adage goes, "There is strength in numbers."

The writer is a Carroll County commissioner and chairman of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council for 1995-96.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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