Volunteer fire companies need donations, tooThe Carroll...


April 25, 1999

Volunteer fire companies need donations, too

The Carroll County Firemen's Association, a nongovernmental agency, is responsible for the fire and emergency medical services in the county.

Although all 14 fire companies in the county operate with volunteer personnel, it has become increasingly difficult to supply the needed emergency medical and fire suppression services without financial assistance by county government.

The Firemen's Association appropriately distributes the money among the 14 companies for supplemental staffing and operating expenses.

Recently, county government released a statement with tax bills that quoted misleading information regarding the funding to the association and its fire companies.

Members of the association want to clarify this information in order for taxpayers to fully understand how the money is used and what obligation county government has committed to funding.

The Carroll commissioners disclosed that county government gave each local fire department 90 percent of their overall operating budget.

During this year's budget, the association asked for $3,236,126. The county approved $2,955,695. This represents only 2.5 percent of Carroll County's budget.

Also, this allotment cannot be used for capital projects such as new apparatus or building or refurbishing stations. It covers only about 40 to 50 percent of local fire department budgets.

The association members want to make known to taxpayers that donations received annually from the community make up the other 50 to 60 percent.

It is extremely important that those who live within Carroll County support their local fire department with funding and volunteerism.

Wayne Staley, Westminster

The writer is publicity committee chairman of the Carroll County Firemen's Association.

Creative ways around a bypass for Manchester

The review of the Manchester bypass by the Maryland Board of Public Works held several weeks ago turned out to be a catalyst for political squabbling between board members.

Disagreements between Gov. Parris N. Glendening, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer and Treasurer Richard N. Dixon were spiced with such dissention and friction that I'm not sure if the disagreements were based on facts or just a clash of latent and suppressed personal resentment.

With this kind of quarreling, it is doubtful if the best interests of the taxpayer will be properly addressed. I consider this an important point. The last estimate available for the bypass was $80 million to $100 million.

I am very supportive of the governor's Smart Growth initiative. I have written numerous letters protesting the folly of turning cornfields into housing developments.

However, the town of Manchester is right when it protests that the bypass should be approved because by limiting its growth to the availability of public water, it complies with Smart Growth initiatives.

Mr. Dixon is also correct when he says the traffic will continue to increase on Route 30. Most important, the transportation staff that presented the review got an "F" from Mr. Dixon, who correctlystated that Carroll officials had done little to control sprawl.

It is also evident that the current commissioners are in the process of undoing what little progress was gained in past years.

I do not need a bypass. I am retired and except for several hours each morning and again in the evening, I get around quite well. For more than 30 years, I made my daily run down Route 30, without the aid of an Interstate 795 or a bypass.

Over the past several years, I have had brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces and numerous in-laws move to Pennsylvania to enjoy the supposedly "lower taxes" and cheaper housing.

In almost every case, they still come to Maryland for better-paying jobs. I love them all, but I see no reason why I should pay for a bypass so they can travel in Maryland in brisk comfort.

Must of the truck traffic through Manchester is generated by industries in Hanover, Spring Grove and even York, Pa. Interstate 83 was conceived to carry this kind of traffic, yet Pennsylvania never has nor will it consider developing an East-West corridor to serve this traffic.

In the next few years, more than 1,000 homes are planned to be built in Pennsylvania within 10 miles of Manchester. There is no Smart Growth initiative in Pennsylvania, so why should I sacrifice?

There are many alternatives to a bypass. The cost alone introduces the option that money could be saved by simply buying the houses and businesses on one side of Main Street and adding a third or even a fourth lane. This may sound ludicrous, but the Main Street I once knew is gone.

Most of the single-family homes that were proudly maintained are now poorly maintained multi-family apartments owned by absentee landlords.

Many of the businesses are small and operated by disinterested absentee proprietors who would probably welcome a buyout.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.