Live Near Your Work grants put on hold for council review

November 04, 1997|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Citing concerns that money might be wasted, the Baltimore County Council last night delayed a vote to spend $10,000 for an experimental program designed to encourage workers to buy homes near their jobs.

The bill was withdrawn by Councilman Stephen G. Sam Moxley, a Catonsville Democrat, who wanted to address concerns by several council members about how the money is spent.

"I asked that it be withdrawn at this point in order to discuss it further with the other council members," Moxley said.

The bill is scheduled to come before the council again next month.

Baltimore County is one of seven jurisdictions in Maryland to participate in the state's Live Near Your Work program, which provides grants to workers buying homes in older neighborhoods.

In Baltimore County, the money is to be used to match grants from the state and University of Maryland, Baltimore County to help 10 UMBC employees buy homes in the southwestern county.

Homebuyers would be eligible to receive $3,000 each to help pay closing costs and other expenses if they purchase homes in Catonsville, Arbutus, Lansdowne or Baltimore Highlands.

The Live Near Your Work program is part of Maryland's effort to rein in suburban sprawl, revitalize older neighborhoods and reduce highway traffic. Statewide, up to 300 workers can participate.

Under the program, the state, localities and companies each contribute $1,000 toward expenses for workers buying homes near their jobs.

Baltimore County has made neighborhood revitalization a priority. But several council members questioned whether a $3,000 grant would really persuade someone to buy the more expensive homes in the older neighborhoods of the southwest area. They wanted assurances that the recipients would stay on their jobs and in their houses for a minimum amount of time.

The council intends to require residents to stay in the home for at least three years.

Moxley also wants an amendment that would clarify that the homes purchased with the grants have to be existing homes.

Pub Date: 11/04/97

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