"We are begging people" to join because of the need for more revenue, said Noel Hall, president of the Atholton Swim Club. "We haven't had a waiting list for four years."

Conrad Katulski, representing the Watermont Swim Club in Elkridge, said the pool dates to the 1960s and members had to spend "well over $300,000" when the pool house burned down in 2007. He said the pool offers reduced-price membership of $150 during August but needs more money for improvements.

The council could discuss the bill further at a work session next week before a scheduled vote July 5, or it could table the measure for a month.

Funeral home parking

Despite the debate over pool taxes, the largest group of about 45 people at the hearing came to support a bill that would tighten parking rules for funeral homes.

Howard now requires 10 parking spaces for each viewing room and one space per employee but does not require any spaces for homes with large chapels or meeting rooms. But ever-larger funeral homes threaten to overwhelm the county's zoning rules on parking, last changed in 1977, according to bill sponsors Fox and Mary Kay Sigaty, a West Columbia Democrat.

Their bill to require one space per 50 square feet of public space in a funeral home arose out of a dispute between the Donaldson Funeral Home's plans to build a large facility on Route 108 in Clarksville and the opposition of the St. Louis Church next door.

No one at the hearing spoke in opposition to the bill.

larry.carson@baltsun.com

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