Carroll Digest

Carroll Digest

July 28, 2004

$38 million bond sale to net $4.2 million in savings

Carroll County sold more than $38 million worth of bonds yesterday that together will save the county $4.2 million in future debt payments.

The county sold tax-exempt general obligation bonds for $25.2 million, said Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman. The winning bidder was Baltimore investment brokers Ferris, Baker Watts at an interest rate of 3.64 percent.

Ferris won over seven other bidders, the highest of which offered a rate of 3.85 percent.

"The most interesting part about the bid for the general obligation bonds is that last week the state of Maryland - which is AAA-rated vs. the county's AA-rating - sold 15-year bonds at a low rate of 3.88," Curfman said. "We bested the state."

The county also sold $12.8 million worth of taxable pension bonds to pay off the state retirement system's unfunded liability. Carroll will now pay debt service on the bonds instead of making payments to the state retirement service, which Curfman said will save the county $4.2 million.

The county negotiated the lowest bid with Chicago-based investment brokerage firm Griffin, Kubik, Stephens and Thompson.

Carroll had rejected eight bidders for the sale of the taxable bonds earlier yesterday when Curfman discovered a scheduling mistake in the bids.

Construction set to begin on Westminster roundabout

Carroll County public works officials told the county commissioners yesterday that a long-awaited traffic circle will be under way soon.

Construction of a $650,000 roundabout at Gorsuch Road and Center Street - just north of Route 140 in Westminster - is set to begin Aug. 16. The project is expected to take 90 days and officials warn that delays are inevitable.

Department of Public Works Director Douglas E. Myers suggested alternate routes to get around backups that will occur when parts of the intersection are shut down between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.

The department recommended motorists travel to Route 140 via Leisters Church Road to Route 482 to Route 27.

Travelers going in the other direction can also take Gorsuch to Leisters Church Road to Neudecker Road to Houck Road to Carrollton Road to Bethel Road before entering Route 140.

There will be no detour signs.

Myers and acting engineering bureau chief Deborah A. Butler said that with students and buses streaming in and out of nearby Winters Mill High School, it's best to avoid the area if possible.

Westminster council OKs parking, housing measures

The Westminster Common Council adopted ordinances Monday night regarding residential housing maintenance and downtown parking.

The council adopted a "disorderly house nuisances" proposal to resolve housing problems. The ordinance is aimed at residences where two or more criminal offenses, property maintenance or zoning violations occur within a year. Other violations that would cause a house to be declared disorderly range from alcohol, drug and noise complaints to animal-control and safety issues.

Under the ordinance, the property's owner - or the offending occupant - is required to meet with city officials and create a binding agreement to make the residence comply with the city code. The city will only take legal action if the landlord or tenant fails to comply with the agreement.

The city also adopted an ordinance that reduces the number of parking spaces required at downtown businesses by 25 percent. City planners said the addition of two downtown garages with 478 parking spaces helps decrease the need for parking for businesses that want to open downtown.

The garages, which opened last year, have brought the number of downtown parking spaces to 2,300.

Crash victim identified as Baltimore man, 21

Maryland State Police identified a Baltimore man as the victim of a fatal traffic accident in Carroll County this week.

Troopers identified the victim as Christopher Bullock, 21, of the 2700 block of McCormas Ave. Police said yesterday he was the driver of a stolen 1996 Mazda 626 that overturned early Monday morning after rear-ending a flatbed truck. Police were able to identify Bullock after lifting fingerprints from the car; Bullock was not carrying identification.

Authorities said that Bullock was headed east on Route 140 about 5:20 a.m. when he struck the back right corner of a 1997 Freightliner truck, just west of the Baltimore County line.

Bullock lost control of the Mazda, struck a guardrail and flipped the car over, landing upside down. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the driver of the truck, Michael Salsbury of Owings Mills was not injured.

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