At a Thursday morning news conference on the Capitol grounds, Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, along with a dozen other members ofCongress, said that for the first time a majority of members were backing a single legislative initiative to correct the Social Security 'notch' inequity.
The bill, which was introduced Feb. 6 as H.R. 917, provides for a 10-year transition to the lower replacement rates that were passed into law as part of the 1977 Social Security reform package. Retroactive benefits are not included in this year's bill.
An estimated 12 million Americans born between 1917 and 1926 are receiving Social Security benefits that in many cases are as much as 20 percent lower because of the 1972 decision by Congress to have benefits rise as wages and prices increased. High inflation of the mid-1970s led to fears that the change would produce benefits too generousfor the system to support and caused Congress to revise the benefitsformula.
"I wasn't a member at the time the benefits formula was revised, but I think it's clear that Congress had only the best intentions when it inadvertently created the 'notch' disparity," Byron said. "Legislation to correct the inequity has been around since 1983, but a solution to undoing it has proven to be very contentious.
"That's why we've never had a bill with the kind of consensus needed to leave any hopes that it would pass the House, much less the Senate. The fact that we now have a majority of members backing a single bill to redress the notch problem is very encouraging, but we have to waitand see."
WATER USAGE STABILIZES
A decline inwater usage has convinced even the town's most vocal conservation advocate that a ban on outdoor watering isn't necessary yet.
But Councilman William S. Pearson said that if usage goes up again, the council should implement a ban and increase fines for wasting water.
Water usage had shot up to high of 394,000 gallons a day during June, mostly because of outdoor use such as watering lawns, Town Manager John A. Riley said. Average usage last month was 339,000 gallons a day,Pearson said.
News of higher water rates beginning July 1 may have prompted the recent decline in use, Riley said. Since July 2, he said, usage has hovered at or under 300,000 gallons a day.
Pearson, a retired engineer, has spent much of his time on the council monitoring the town's limited water supply.
Had usage not gone down, he said, he was planning to suggest that the council create a $100 fine for letting a lawn sprinkler run unattended.
"Water in Hampstead isvery shallow," Pearson said. "All we have is a very thin aquifer that doesn't hold much water."
Pearson said it is a challenge for Hampstead to provide enough water for its rapid growth and development over the last few years, but that the town does well with what little water it has naturally available.
But despite a scolding for homeowners who over-water their lawns, the town will be installing a waterline to the War Memorial Park to keep the newly planted flowers and shrubs growing.
After two years of vacancies, the Planning and Zoning Commission has a full board with the appointment of Bankim Vaishnav.
Vaishnav, 54, lives in the 4000 block of Highfield Court. He works as an engineer at Westinghouse Defense Center in Anne Arundel County. He was selected by MayorC. Clinton Becker and approved unanimously by the Town Council at its meeting Monday.
He joins board chairman and Councilman Arthur H.Moler, Oden Kemp, Charles Walter and Terry Becker. Becker was appointed in April.
The board meets at 7 p.m. on the last Monday of every month in the Town Hall, at 1034 S. Carroll St.
RECYCLE PHONE BOOKS
As part of a countywide effort to recycle outdated phone directories, the town will place a special collection bin next to the existing red recycling bins.
Both bins will be at the town parking lot on West Street, next to the post office.
The telephone book bin will be in the parking lot through Aug. 2. Other townsalso will be collecting the books.
Before placing their old directories in the bin, residents should tear them in half by opening the books to the center and pulling apart the bound spine.
The town isapplying to a state program to collect and recycle anti-freeze, Councilman Gary W. Bauer said. Anti-freeze, when allowed to run out onto the ground, can be poisonous to pets and harmful to streams, he said.
SCHOOL PROJECT APPROVED
The County Commissioners have approved a second Manchester elementary school project, which will be financed with or without state assistance.
The Manchester Town Council had written to the commissioners and the Board of Education urging them tomove a second Manchester elementary higher on the construction priority list to alleviate school overcrowding in that district.
A second Manchester elementary wasn't scheduled for construction until around the year 2000, said council members.
In a July 10 letter, discussed at yesterday's County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the commissioners advised the school board to include the elementary inits capital project plan covering the next six years.
The commissioners say that a possible building moratorium in the Manchester school attendance area could be averted by their approval of the project and provision of construction money. They say a site has been secured.
The state could reimburse the county after construction begins if officials approve the project.
HISTORICAL STUDY AWARDED
The Carroll Department of Planning has received a $20,000 grant from the Maryland Historical Trust to complete a study of Carroll historical sites.
The study, which was undertaken to identify and preserve the county's historical landmarks, began in the mid-1980s but was left uncompleted when financing for a consultant was exhausted. Its completion will entail documenting sites in northwest Carroll and compiling datain a Geographic Information System, a computer program integrating maps and information.
The county will match the grant.
CAPITAL BUDGET CRUNCHED
The County Commissioners have advised agencies to evaluate their fiscal 1993 capital budget requests in anticipation of another austere year for construction projects.
The Carroll Planning and Zoning Committee, which reviews the requests before making recommendations to the commissioners, discussed yesterday a letter sent by the commissioners to all county departments and agencies. The commissioners advised that any new initiatives or projects not appearing in the current six-year program will be scrutinized and urged agency directors to set clear priorities and present justifications.
Next year's capital budget probably will be similar to this year's $30.5 million spending plan, which took effect July 1, the commissioners said.The 1991-1992 budget for such projects as schools, senior centers, roads and landfills was trimmed from $90 million in requests and by $20 million from the previous year's budget.
The commissioners anticipate garnering about $16 million from local revenues and bonds, about $10 million short of previous projections. The balance comes from federal, state and other sources.
"We expect to see a FY 1992-93 capital budget which addresses only the most critical issues facing thecounty," the commissioners wrote, advising program managers to look toward outside financing sources.
ZONING DISCUSSION ON
The County Commissioners are looking at how to regulate homebased cottage industries and storage sheds on residential property as they begin discussing changes in the county's zoning ordinance.
After years of study by two committees, the zoning ordinance will come under commissioner scrtiny in the coming months. Armed with the recommendations of the Zoning Ordinance Oversight Committee, the commissioners have pages of guidelines as they go about setting the new zoning law.
Commissioner President Donald I. Dell predicted Monday that looking at the ZOO Committee's recommendations would take at least until August.
Edmund R. Cueman, the county planning director, told Dell and Commissioner Vice President Elmer C. Lippy Jr. that the proposed amendments to the law address new areas of zoning enforcement not previously included in the county's zoming ordinance.
Other areas besides homebased cottage industry and storage sheds to be considered by the commissioners include adding an expiration date to proposed site plans and allowing zoning officials to consider changes requested by property owners in the use of property currently in violation of other zoning requirements.
COUNTY TO PAY TAB
In contrast to a months-long policy, the County Commissioners on Monday agreed to pay for a business lunch between the county's top economic development official and the school superintendent.
Saying that it would be the last time such an expenditure would be approved, the commissioners Monday approved a $25.80tab run up at a Westminster restaurant by James C. Threatte and School Superintendent R. Edward Shilling.