Delegation gets approval for most county proposals

April 15, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Carroll's state delegation has pushed through most of the county's legislative proposals during this year's General Assembly - though one of the county commissioners' top priorities did not get a chance for consideration.

The county gained greater power in one bill to recoup from property owners the cost of building roads connecting residential areas.

Under the bill - which was signed into law by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. on Tuesday - county officials would identify planned county roads for construction.

Once the county builds the connector roads, officials would recoup the construction costs from property owners as homes are built.

The commissioners say the county has never built or never completed planned roads because of cost concerns. The county has traditionally waited for developers to pay for such roads after building houses along the planned routes. Often, the results can be uneven, officials say.

"We're extremely pleased that we now have the authority to supplement our funding opportunities for new roads construction," said Steven C. Horn, the county's planning director.

Each road project would have to go through a public hearing process. A similar proposal failed during last year's legislative session.

Other bills signed into law by the governor included:

An amendment exempting weeds on agricultural land from the nuisance-abatement law.

A proposal to change the name of the Carroll County Volunteer Firemen's Association to the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association Inc.

A proposal to allow Carroll County microbreweries to sell beer for off-premise consumption.

Other bills that have received General Assembly approval but are awaiting the governor's signature include:

A measure to change a state law to allow county volunteer fire departments to hold more fund-raising raffles.

Legislation authorizing the county to collect court-ordered abatement costs for zoning and permit violations as a special tax.

A $31 million bond authorization request for county capital improvement projects for the 2005 fiscal year, which begins in July.

The commissioners' quest for authority to impose a tax on real estate transfers did not get introduced. The state delegation voted against introducing the transfer tax bill, saying its members wanted more details.

The 1 percent transfer tax would have generated $8 million a year, which would have been used only for schools and police, fire and emergency services.

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