Voters in Baltimore County, city give overwhelming approval to bond issues $89.6 million OK'd to build schools in suburbs

urban package worth $67.7 million

November 06, 1996|By Larry Carson and Robert Guy Matthews | Larry Carson and Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County voters yesterday overwhelmingly approved the biggest school construction plan in county history as part of a referendum that included eight bond issues totaling $137.5 million, along with four charter amendments.

In Baltimore City, voters overwhelmingly approved a $67.7 million bond package that would, among other things, encourage homeownership, build an arts and entertainment district and renovate schools and recreation centers.

The Baltimore County school bond issue -- totaling $89.6 million -- was earmarked for projects ranging from roof repairs and additions to a new, $33 million high school in Owings Mills.

"It's tremendously important," said county council Chairman Kevin Kamenetz, a Pikesville-Randallstown Democrat, who said the money would avert a crisis looming in 2005 by adding 3,000 high school seats.

"I think it's good, and that's what we expected," county PTA Council President Linda Olszewski said about the school bond issue's approval by 78 percent of county voters. "We will watch with a careful eye to see that the money is allocated and spent."

County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger's administration has argued that the money for new schools and additions should be enough to defuse the battle over whether new laws are needed to regulate development around crowded schools.

The controversy likely will continue, however, because of community pressure and county council support for such a law.

Also approved by county voters yesterday was a $29.7 million bond issue for public works projects -- including roads, bridges, sewers and alleys -- and six other bond items. The projects include:

* 4.6 million in streetscape improvements, mostly in Towson.

* 4 million to renovate county buildings.

* $3.3 million for renovations at the three community colleges.

* $3.2 million worth of waterway improvements.

* $1.9 million for parks and community conservation projects.

* $1 million to preserve farmland.

The two substantive charter revisions would exempt county council employees from the county merit system and confirm the executive's right to cut the budget during an emergency to prevent a deficit.

Also on the ballot yesterday was Baltimore County Circuit Judge Robert E. Cadigan, who was running unopposed.

The other two county changes are technical and are intended to eliminate duplication in purchasing and auditing.

In the city, the six bond issues approved were:

* $24 million for community development, money intended to encourage homeownership, relocation of residents in blocks targeted for demolition and repair of the Avenue Market site -- the former Lafayette Market on Pennsylvania Avenue.

* $2 million to modernize firefighting capabilities and build a fire station.

* $16 million to improve the Carroll, Fairfield and East Baltimore industrial areas, purchase land for economic development projects and provide commercial and industrial loans for the development of land or buildings.

* $1 million for a citywide program to remove or enclose asbestos in city-owned facilities.

* $4.7 million to rehabilitate Carroll Park, repair six recreation center roofs and renovate the Clifton Park swimming pool.

* $20 million to plan and design five schools, renovate four other schools and remove asbestos.

Early results showed city voters backed the only four candidates running unopposed for the four circuit judgeships: Bonita J. Dancy, Albert J. Matricciani Jr., Gary I. Strausberg and David W. Young. Each was appointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

Voters also were supporting Ellen L. Hollander's return to a Court of Special Appeals judgeship.

Baltimore City bond issues

With 100% of precincts reporting

Question A: Community development loan.

$24 million for community development projects.

Yes ... 73,162 ... 78%

No .... 21,203 ... 23%

Question B: Fire Department loan.

JTC $2 million for fire stations and equipment.

Yes ... 88,102 ... 88%

No .... 17,164 ... 12%

Question C: Economic development.

$16 million for economic development projects.

Yes ... 71,934 ... 78%

No .... 20,493 ... 22%

Question D: Asbestos management.

$1 million to remove or encapsulate asbestos in city-owned buildings.

Yes ... 77,742 ... 82%

No .... 16,872 ... 18%

Question E: Parks loan.

$4.7 million for improvements to city parks and recreation facilities.

Yes ... 86,792 ... 86%

No .... 14,026 ... 14%

Question F: School loan.

$20 million for improvements to city schools and asbestos management.

Yes ... 91,897 ... 86%

No .... 14,626 ... 14%

Baltimore County ballot questions

With 100% of precincts reporting

Question A: Charter amendment.

Eliminates duplication of effort in outside audits of county finances.

Yes ... 176,150 ... 89%

No .... 21,971 .... 11%

Question B: Charter amendment.

Makes county council employees exempt from merit system.

Yes ... 115,783 ... 66%

No .... 60,018 .... 34%

Question C: Charter amendment.

Allows county council to streamline purchasing procedures.

Yes ... 115,588 ... 63%

No .... 67,104 .... 37%

Question D: Charter amendment.

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