Baltimore County Digest

Baltimore County Digest

May 02, 2006

Action delayed on tax credit bill

Two Baltimore County Council members postponed action last night on a proposal that would give tax credits to elderly people on fixed incomes.

The proposal, by Councilman T. Bryan McIntire and council Chairman John Olszewski Sr., would give credits worth up to $160 to residents ages 65 and older who qualify for the state homeowners property tax credit program.

The sponsors withdrew their bill last night, then reintroduced it, to ensure that it will be considered at the same time that the council considers a tax credit program proposed by County Executive James T. Smith Jr.

The council will be able to choose between the programs or combine them.

In his spending plan for fiscal 2007, Smith has proposed tax credits for homeowners on fixed incomes, with no age restrictions. Smith estimates his proposal would cost the county $3 million next year. McIntire, a north county Republican, and Olszewski, a Dundalk Democrat, estimate the cost of their program at $1.2 million.

Any tax credit program would be approved as part of the fiscal 2007 budget, which the council is to vote on by May 25.

In other action, the council approved bills that will set a civil fine of $500 for the posting of illegal signs on public property and give residents the authority to take down the signs.

The panel also agreed to require people who solicit donations on public roads to obtain a license from the county, and to make permanent a program that requires landlords to register with the county and subjects some rental units to county inspection.

The council also approved a request by the county administration to pay a Pennsylvania architectural firm up to $150,000 to testify in the county's lawsuit against three firms involved in the construction of the new detention center in Towson.

Josh Mitchell

Countywide

$115 million marked for middle schools

If the Baltimore County budget is approved, the county school system will have $115 million during the next fiscal year to complete renovations of 16 middle schools, county and school leaders announced yesterday.

Members of the county legislative delegation secured an additional $17 million in state funds for school construction, bringing the state's total contribution to $35 million.

In addition, County Executive James T. Smith Jr. has committed $125.4 million for school projects - including $43 million to fund projects that the state might later reimburse - in his proposed capital budget for the 2007 fiscal year. As a result of the additional money, renovations will be started at county high schools in fiscal year 2008, officials said.

Smith and other elected leaders announced the county was receiving the additional state funds at Catonsville Middle School. Principal Deborah Bittner said renovations at her school will include turning two classrooms in the sixth-grade wing into three, improving handicapped accessibility and updating technology education, science and art rooms.

Timonium

MADD appreciation dinner set for today

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Northern Maryland Chapter, will hold its annual appreciation dinner for law enforcement officers and volunteers at 5:30 p.m. today at Christopher Daniel Restaurant, 106 W. Padonia Road, Timonium. Information: 410-321-6233.

Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to baltco.news@baltsun.com. Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance of the event.

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