Owens administration criticized for snow video

County spent $3,166 to send tape to community leaders

January 22, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens' administration spent nearly $3,200 copying and mailing a snow removal video, which was criticized at a County Council meeting on Tuesday.

"If we are so tight on money in this county, why was this mailed to me as well as all the other community leaders?" asked Marie Cook of the Provinces Civic Association in Severn.

County officials said yesterday that they made 1,000 copies of the videotape and mailed it this month to 867 community associations. The $3,166 price tag includes copying and shipping, said Owens' spokeswoman Jody Couser. The video was produced in-house, she said.

The 11-minute video - Plowing Snow ... To Keep You on the Go! - highlights what the public can expect during a snowstorm.

Last February's snowstorm prompted 19,000 phone calls to the county's storm center from residents wondering when roads would be plowed, county spokeswoman Pam Jordan said. The video was made in an effort to answer questions those callers asked. It also explains how to file an online service request.

Cook told council members that the video was "really stupid." Council Chairman C. Edward Middlebrooks thanked her, and said the council is always looking for ways to save money.

Owens has projected a $7 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year that begins in July. She is pushing state lawmakers for permission to impose a tax on cellular telephone use. The county's operating budget is nearly $900 million.

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