2 groups dispute use of building Carroll Food Sunday has been asked to leave shared space

September 24, 1997|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Representatives from two of Carroll's largest nonprofit agencies asked the County Commissioners yesterday to resolve dispute over use of a county-owned office building in Westminster.

Human Services Programs Inc., which shares with Carroll County Food Sunday the space it leases for $1 a year in the Barrel House building, has asked the food bank to move out by spring to accommodate new programs' staff members.

Officials of Carroll County Food Sunday say their operation, which serves up to 900 people a week, would be jeopardized if forced to leave the centrally located site at Route 27 and Distillery Drive.

Anna Rollins, chairwoman of Carroll County Food Sunday's board of directors, said she requested the commissioners' intervention because her attempts to meet with the Human Services Programs board had been unsuccessful.

Rollins said she was interested mainly in securing a written lease between the county and Carroll County Food Sunday to ensure the continued operation of the food bank.

"My main concern is that we be centrally located," said Rollins, who told the commissioners that a third of the food bank's clients walk to the Barrel House building.

In June, Human Services Programs notified Carroll County Food Sunday that its "sublease" would be terminated by April 30, 1998.

The space was needed to make room for the staff of the Head Start program, which Human Services Programs had taken over from the county public school system. Human Services Programs also might assume responsibility for the Core Services Agency, which will coordinate publicly funded mental health services in the county.

Human Services Programs operates a variety of programs for low-income families, including emergency rental assistance, shelters and a family support center.

"Our real issue is whether Human Services Programs has adequate space for our additional responsibilities," said James W. Davis, president of the agency's board of directors.

Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown said the disagreement between the two nonprofit groups puts the the three commissioners in an awkward position.

"It's uncomfortable for myself and a lot of people in this community that value both programs," he said.

After listening to pleas from both agencies, the commissioners appeared to side with Carroll County Food Sunday.

Brown and Commissioner Richard T. Yates wondered why Human Services Programs had taken on Head Start if lack of space was going to be a problem.

"I think before Human Services Programs chose to go get Head Start, perhaps we should have made it clear how important Carroll County Food Sunday is to the community," Brown said.

The commissioners indicated they would consider possible solutions but strongly advised the agencies to meet and resolve the matter themselves.

"I think it should be board to board working out," Brown said. "You could make a great deal of headway. I hope that while we're thinking, you're talking."

In addition to concerns about remaining in the Barrel House space, Rollins raised other issues with the commissioners.

She suggested that Carroll County Food Sunday assume responsibility for a federal food surplus program now administered by Human Services Programs. Rollins said the program was being "underutilized."

She also asked the commissioners to authorize the installation of new locks at Carroll County Food Sunday because of recent break-ins and thefts.

Pub Date: 9/24/97

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