Good news aplenty in Howard

Challenge and opportunity: What should be down is down, what should be up is up -- or could be.

May 19, 2000

THE MOST recent crime statistics show a 10.3 percent drop in Howard County robberies.

Another new parcel of developed land can become part of Columbia soon, adding to the city's revenue stream.

Columbians may be more anxious than ever to give themselves a truly democratic government, one that steps beyond the Rube Goldberg mechanisms that worked well for years -- but may have aged out.

All good news from continuing good times.

A rising economic tide ought to mean less crime -- particularly robberies -- but the Howard County police deserve credit for establishing a task force to specifically address the problem of street offenses. Until last year, Howard's department was the only one in the region without a special robbery unit.

That news seems to go nicely with a renewed push for annexation of a fourth neighborhood in King's Contrivance, this one in North Laurel.

A preliminary report suggests that the Key property -- which could be renamed Emerson in honor of the poet Ralph Waldo -- will generate an estimated $33 million in new revenue over the next 20 years. The cost to the Columbia Association over the next decade was estimated at $3.7 million.

The council will debate the annexation question soon -- even as, once again, Columbians think about whether the Columbia Association and the council need structural alterations.

A meeting of 30 or so residents Wednesday night at The Other Barn suggests a growing unhappiness with the current system. These thinkers want an unhurried, professional and comprehensive study of governmental forms adopted by similar cities around the country.

These citizens hope they can find a way to plan the future in concert with the Columbia Association and the Columbia Council: a prudent and pragmatic course. All sides will profit from a cooperative effort.

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