City/county Digest


April 18, 2006

3-cent tax cut proposed in Howard budget

Howard County Executive James N. Robey's eighth and final budget proposes a 10 percent spending boost and a 3-cent property tax rate cut for fiscal 2007, but homeowners still would be paying more.

Rising assessments would leave homeowners paying more property taxes despite the rate reduction, which is still subject to County Council approval.

The increase would range from $52 more a year for the owner of a $250,000 house to $93 more for a home valued at $450,000. Howard County has a 5 percent cap on the taxable increase of a home's value.

Robey's budget would devote half of new revenues to county schools, adding 295 more school employees. In addition, the budget would fund eight more police officers and 30 firefighters.

County employees would get a 3 percent cost of living increase July 1, except for teachers, who negotiated 3.5 percent. Firefighters negotiated to get an additional 1 percent Jan. 1.

"Thanks to continuing strong revenue growth, this year's proposal affords us the best of all worlds - an adequate level of funding for current programs, reasonable growth in new efforts reflective of the public's demand and tax relief," Robey said in a speech to the County Council last night in Ellicott City.

Robey, who can't run again because of term limits, is a candidate for state Senate, hoping to unseat Republican incumbent Sandra B. Schrader.

County Council Chairman Christopher J. Merdon, an Ellicott City Republican who is running for county executive, said he would prefer an income tax cut instead of a property tax reduction.

"I think an income tax cut is more broad-based," he said.

Larry Carson

Carroll County: Animal treatment

PETA says farmers should be charged

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urged Carroll County State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes yesterday to bring charges against the owners of a New Windsor farm where trichinosis was discovered in a dead pig during a recent raid. The letter recommended incarceration for the farm's owners should they be found guilty of starving their animals. Early last month, authorities said they discovered livestock carcasses and animals feeding on rotting trash during a search of the farm owned by Carroll Schisler, 59, and his son, Carroll Schisler Jr., 33.

Laura McCandlish

Union Mills

Woman, 69, dies in Route 97 crash

A 69-year-old north Carroll County woman died after her vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer early yesterday just outside of Union Mills, closing Route 97 for five hours, according to state police from the Westminster barracks.

Jacqueline Borrell of the 4300 block of Main St. in Lineboro was traveling north on Route 97 (Littlestown Pike) shortly after 6 a.m. when she lost control of her Jeep, which crossed the center line and collided with a southbound Freightliner tractor trailer north of Stone Road, police said.

The woman died at the scene. The tractor-trailer driver, Richard Gamble, 48, of Lebanon, Pa., was not injured, police said.

The investigation is continuing, police said.

Laura McCandlish

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