Town irked about money

Fairness concerns presented to officials during joint meeting

County open to advice

September 28, 2001|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Hampstead leaders feel that their town gets less money than it deserves from Carroll County, a concern they presented yesterday evening to the county commissioners at a joint meeting.

County staff members and Commissioners Julia Walsh Gouge and Robin Bartlett Frazier said they would work to get the town a fairer shake in future budgets.

Though state law does not require the county to subsidize its municipalities, Carroll pays its eight incorporated towns and cities an annual fee for providing services that the county would otherwise be obligated to perform.

Hampstead officials say the county's formula for determining the amount paid to each entity fails to account for several services Hampstead provides, including policing North Carroll High School. They also estimate that Hampstead should have received $100,000 more in the past decade but didn't because of inaccurate population projections.

Hampstead officials say they don't expect the $100,000, but they want the formula modified so the town no longer gets short shrift.

"We are the only town that's been underfunded in relation to the formula," Hampstead Mayor Chris Nevin said. "Though we understand that the county apparently doesn't have to make these payments at all, if things are going to be set up this way, we think it's in everyone's interest to have equal and fair treatment for all those involved."

Carroll County's budget director, Steve Powell, said that the formula can always bear refining and that the county would accept suggestions and data from Hampstead between now and April, when the county submits its budget.

Gouge said the commissioners had never heard the town's concerns about school-related costs and would consider addressing them.

"I think it's reasonable to take a look at that," Frazier added.

Town officials did not specify how much extra money they want, but Councilman Larry H. Hentz Jr. suggested that the sum should be at least the annual salary of the patrolmen needed to monitor the school.

"That's a lot of money for a town this size," said Hentz, who estimated that those salaries cost $80,000 to $100,000.

If the county does not mitigate the financial burden the town faces because of the school, Hampstead may "de-annex" the school - redraw the town borders - to eliminate the burden, Hentz said.

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.