Sykesville cannot afford pass on WarfieldA small group has...

Letters

November 08, 1998

Sykesville cannot afford pass on Warfield

A small group has made the news stating that we "can't afford the annexation of the Warfield complex." Nothing could be further from the truth. The town of Sykesville cannot afford not to annex and develop the Warfield complex. Setting aside compelling reasons about improving the quality of life and sense community, hard economic analysis demands annexation. As you look around our town, you can see that all the planned subdivisions within the corporate limits are near build-out. In the past four years, residential construction has contributed $320,000 in impact and development review fees. This represents $80,000 a year in revenue to the town. Once the build-out is complete, the town will no longer receive development review or impact fees.

If the town does nothing to increase its tax base in the future, there will be an $80,000 shortfall in revenues annually, which would represent a 12-percent tax increase. Without investment in, and annexation of, the Warfield complex, it is inevitable that taxes will be increased or the level of services provided by the town will be decreased dramatically. For example, the budget for the sanitation department last year was approximately $115,000. The Sykesville Police Department's budget was $272,000. Accordingly, it is not hard to image the magnitude of cuts to services if additional revenues cannot be generated.

The development of the Warfield complex is an investment in Sykesville's future. To date, the majority of expenditures associated with the project and the planning process have come from grants from the State of Maryland. It is anticipated that the town of Sykesville and the state government will enter into a joint development agreement that will allow Sykesville to profit equally from the development. This is in addition to the future revenue stream created by a sustainable development at the Warfield complex. A mixed-use development, which would combine industrial, business and residential uses, is the best way to ensure a stable revenue stream for the town.

The mayor and Town Council deserve your support on this important issue. We have lowered taxes in four of the past five years, undertaken major road repairs and invested in our future by establishing a fund balance, capital improvement reserve and contingency fund. We have also improved our parks and recreation areas and maintained the highest level of personal safety from an outstanding police force. We won't raise taxes to fund the Warfield complex. We have earned the public trust in financial matters.

Finally, I have no doubt that the development of the Warfield complex will ensure the longevity of the Springfield Hospital Center. There has always been a close relationship between the town of Sykesville and Springfield state hospital, which was founded in the late 19th century. The hospital is a major employer in Carroll County and its vitality is important to the state, county and the town of Sykesville.

Please take a moment to read the brochure concerning the Warfield complex that was distributed to all town residents, and give your support for the mayor and Town Council's ambitious and innovative plan to generate future revenue by the annexation and development of the Warfield complex.

To those who say we cannot afford annexing the Warfield complex, I say that for the future of our town, our children and the generations that follow, we cannot afford not to.

Michael H. Burgoyne

The writer is a member of Sykesville's Town Council.

Commission seeks input on crime

According to a citizen survey, despite substantial increases in prison spending in the past 10 years, citizens remain concerned about crime -- especially violent crime. According to the same survey, citizens want violent offenders sent to prison but believe that some prevention programs show more long-term promise in reducing crime. Addressing these and other criminal justice concerns is the task of the Maryland Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy.

In 1996, the Maryland General Assembly recognized the need to review the sentencing and corrections practices used by the judiciary and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The legislature created the Maryland Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy. The commission includes leaders from the legislature, judiciary, criminal law, law enforcement and corrections, and victims' advocacy groups. The commission's work is expected to culminate in major recommendations for the legislative session. The citizen survey mentioned above is one way the commission collected information for its recommendations. The commission has also carefully analyzed sentencing and corrections data to better understand current practice and identify areas in need of improvement.

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