Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

September 24, 2006

Do not divert preservation funds

I support [County Council Chairman Christopher J.] Merdon's suggestions for a senior tax cut plan ("Seniors Back Tax Cut Plan, Sept. 20, The Sun) and a "green" plan for maintaining a healthy environment. All of these sound good, but are they just an election year ploy? Mr. Merdon has been a councilman long enough to have made these proposals long before now.

The proposal for diverting money from the agricultural preservation funds to create small parks in older neighborhoods is unsound. Since the formation of the agricultural program, through the state and county programs, more than 19,700 acres of farmland have been preserved. Most of the land is in the western part of the county.

The state preservation program is for perpetuity, and the county program has a 30-year agreement. Much of the land in the county program is reaching its maturity and landowners may choose to get out of the program, sell to a developer or re-enter. With the cost of land increasing it would be prudent to preserve those funds to raise the offer value to maintain open space and not see more houses. That is a more important environmental issue than Merdon's proposal for planting trees and creating parks in older neighborhoods.

Some homeowners in the newer developments now seeing open land may see more houses in the future, if present participants currently in the program opt to get out. The farmland preservation funds should not be diverted, as proposed by Mr. Merdon.

Steward H. Frazier Jr.

Ellicott City

The writer is a former member of the county's Farmland Preservation Board.

In support of Ed Waddell

We are writing to respond to a great disservice that was done to a prominent member of the Howard County community.

As reported by The Sun on Sept. 20, in a public hearing before the Howard County Council, Mr. Burnet Chalmers and two other residents who live near the Belmont Conference Center in Elkridge protested Mr. Ed Waddell's appointment to the new Howard County Revenue Authority. They oppose Mr. Waddell because he is the treasurer of the Howard Community College Educational Foundation, [which has been involved in a the contested purchase of Belmont.]

Ed Waddell is the epitome of a selfless community servant and has generously contributed his time, effort, expertise and even personal funds to local organizations. The long list of organizations that have benefited from his service includes Hospice of Howard County, the Boy Scouts, the James Rouse Entrepreneurial Fund, Howard County General Hospital, the Developmental Delay Resources for autistic children and the Columbia Foundation.

He is a graduate of the Howard County Leadership Program and has served on boards and committees for the Howard County Economic Development Authority, the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and Columbia Rotary Club. He serves on numerous Howard County government special task committees. The Maryland Small Business Administration named him Accountant Advocate of the Year.

He has been a tireless advocate for students at HCC, which prompted the college's governing board to bestow upon him the Trustees' Award for Outstanding Service. With regard to Belmont, Mr. Waddell used his expertise to enhance educational opportunities for students, not to benefit himself or any other individual.

Ed Waddell is an extremely qualified professional who has nothing but the best interest of the community at heart.

Michael Nagle

The writer is chairman of the Howard Community College Educational Foundation.

Dr. Patrick Huddie

The writer is chairman of the HCC board of trustees.

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