Carroll Digest

CARROLL COUNTY DIGEST

March 24, 2004

Budget hearings for local agencies to conclude today

Budget hearings for Carroll County agencies are scheduled to conclude today.

Departments and agencies expected to come before the county commissioners include the Maryland State Police, Carroll Community College, the Sheriff's Office, the Department of Public Works, the rape crisis program and the Farm Museum.

The county's budget office has recommended a $259.5 million budget for the 2005 fiscal year. The commissioners will propose their operating and capital budgets next month.

The hearings will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Room 300A of the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster.

Sidewalk ordinance topic of hearing tomorrow

A public hearing on a proposed sidewalk ordinance in Carroll County is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. tomorrow.

Under the proposal, homeowners would be responsible for clearing snow and removing ice from sidewalks within 12 hours of a snowfall.

The ordinance would cover public sidewalks adjacent to the property. With an ordinance in place, officials said, the county could become eligible for state funds for sidewalk construction.

The hearing will be held in Room 300A at the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster.

Council supports draft of nuisance ordinance

The Westminster Common Council agreed Monday night that a proposed "disorderly house" nuisance ordinance has merit and should be pursued further, with the cooperation of city police and the Carroll County Landlords Association.

The council agreed that a committee of city officials, landlords and property owners should be formed to work on a fair ordinance, using the proposed ordinance drafted by staff as a model.

"I like the draft," said council President Damian L. Halstad. "I think we are 80 percent there."

The proposal would require a property owner to meet with city officials and enter into an agreement spelling out ways to correct problems after a property is declared a disorderly house. City officials would declare a property a disorderly house if there were two or more arrests, or property maintenance and zoning violations within a year.

City officials said the proposal is meant to encourage communication and cooperation between the city and landlords before a legal remedy is pursued.

Russell A. Arenz II, president of the county landlords association, told the council that his organization wants to work with the city to cut down on nuisance problems. A major problem is that landlords cannot break a lease unless the tenant has been convicted of a crime, Arenz said, suggesting that the committee should look at this issue.

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