County officials weren't surprised there were no bidders on the Green Street house built by Carroll County Career and Technology Center students.
"It's an excellent home with (its) bedroom space and all the amenities," said Commissioner Julia W. Gouge. "But we're in a depressed economy."
The county sought a minimum bid of $165,000 for the three-bedroom, Victorian-style house. The deadline to submit bids was 5 p.m. Monday. Commissioners received one bid -- mistakenly meant for unrelated project.
County attorney Charles W. Thompson said seeking bids for a residential property is always tough because of bid requirements. Bidders were required to put down a minimum $5,000 deposit with their bid.
"There are problems with financing in today's market," he said. "It's always difficult to sell these type of (residential) properties."
Robert L. Gephart, vo-tech principal, said he was disappointed there were no bidders for the house, which contains hardwood floors, an attached two-car garage and a wraparound porch.
"It's disappointing that we will have to wait longer to sell the house," he said."I just hope it moves now. I don't think it gains any value by sitting there."
He said he thought the minimum bid sought by the commissioners was too high. He said a more fair price would have been $150,000.
However, Gouge, a real estate agent, said she thought the house's $165,000 price tag was fair. In a better economy, the house would garner a higher selling price, she said.
With no bids to consider, Commissioner President Donald I. Dell said the board may now try to sell the home through local Realtors. He said there have been offers to sell the home for no commission.
About 200 vo-tech students helped build the 2,300-square-foot, two-story house for a two-year period. Vo-tech officials estimated construction costs at $90,000. The house is fully air conditioned and features a fire place and a rear deck.
"It's really a nice home," Thompson said. "I was pleasantly surprised by what a nice home it is. We're hoping someone will give us a call. We're ready to sell it. It's a good buy for the price."
SCHOOL RECEIVES GRANTS
WINFIELD -- South Carroll High School's Environmental and Science clubs have received two grants totaling $515 for projects from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Seventy-two restoration grants totaling $252,827 were handed out statewide to a diverse group of non-profit organizations, community associations, schools and public agencies representing 17 Maryland counties.
TheSCHS clubs were given one grant of $285 for equipment to support student tree plantings and a stream monitoring project at two locations and a second grant of $230 is for equipment to support a student treeplanting and habitat improvement project at Camp Hashawha in Westminster.
Robert Foor-Hogue, science teacher at SCHS, said the scienceresearch class wrote the grants last March and in April began planting the trees.
Students went to Manchester Elementary School, wherethey conducted a Save Our Stream survey with the third grade and planted 1,000 seedlings. The SCHS students then went to Hashawha Environmental Center and planted 100 balled trees around the new Bear BranchNature Center.
At the school, the students sold trees to the community through the Maryland TREE-mendous program and planted 60 balledtrees on school property as watershed protection, Foor-Hogue said.
"For us, it was a chance for the kids to get involved in this type of program of actually writing the grants themselves," he said, adding that this was the first time the school received such grants.
FREDERICK AID REQUESTED
The County Commissioners plan to request $200,000 from the Frederick County Commissioners as a contribution toward the Carroll County Library Senior Center of Mount Airy.
The county is paying $3.7 million of the $4.3 million estimated cost for the project in the town whose boundaries overlap each county, said Steven D.Powell, director of the Department of Management and Budget. State assistance and the anticipated Frederick County contribution will makeup the balance, said Powell.
The Carroll commissioners agreed last week to ask Frederick County for assistance because Frederick residents are frequent patrons of the library, said Powell. The matter hadbeen discussed previously with Frederick officials.
"We're askingfor a lump sum payment," he said. "With Carroll County paying a disproportionately large share of the project, we think it's fair."
The County Commissioners discussed yesterday charging waste haulers a fee, which would be passed on to customers, for unloading waste pumped from private septic tanks at a new Westminstertreatment facility.
The homeowner whose septic system contained the average 800 gallons would pay about $175 every three years to havethe system pumped and the waste treated at the Westminster facility,under a preliminary proposal introduced by the Department of Planning.
Federal law requires that waste from private septic systems be treated before entering the waste stream at sewage treatment plants or being applied to land. A treatment facility for septic waste is near completion at the Westminster Sewer Treatment Plant.
County and city officials will manage the facility jointly.
The county never has operated a facility for the treatment of septic waste generated by residents and businesses on private systems. Much of the waste fromseptic systems now is hauled to treatment facilities outside the county.
It is recommended that septic tanks, in which waste is decomposed, be pumped every two to three years. Failed septic systems can cause land and ground water contamination.
Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said she would not vote for charging rates for the treatment facility because the county has not made an effort to educate the public about managing septic systems.
"I'm not sure this county is ready to regulate that far," she said, adding that she recommended educational notices be sent out in tax bills two years ago.
WELFARE REQUESTS UP
An increase over the past month in applications for welfare, food stamps and medical assistance is probably a delayed reaction to layoffs last January, said M. Alexander Jones, director of the Carroll County Department of Social Services.
Compared to an average of 350 to 400 applications a month, 563 people applied for benefits so farin July.
Jones told the DSS Board of Directors yesterday that theincrease in applications had first soared in January to 795 applicants, when many Carroll County residents were laid off from jobs here and in Baltimore.
However, because they were eligible to receive unemployment benefits, many of those laid-off workers did not qualify for welfare, Jones said.
But six months later, the DSS office is seeing many of those same people coming back, their unemployment benefits exhausted but still with no jobs.
Jones said that another disturbing trend is the high number of people coming for help and listing their income at zero. While the average of zero-income applicants used to be about 15 a month, it was 95 in July, Jones said.
FIELD NARROWED TO 3
TANEYTOWN -- The council has narrowed a field of 70 applicants for the city manager position to three candidates.
The full council interviewed eight of the applicants, who have included a two-star general, school superintendents, teachers andformer municipal managers, said Neal W. Powell, city manager.
He said he believed the three finalists all had managerial experience.
Powell said he was uncertain when the council would make a decisionon his replacement. He announced in May that he planned to retire July 1 after serving 13 years as city manager.
However, because of the lengthy interviewing and screening process, Powell has agreed to remain on the job until a successor is at work. He also has offered totrain the new manager.
DATELINE: NEW WINDSOR
NEW WINDSOR -- Everett R. Ecker, chairman of the Water and Sewer Committee, has asked town residents to cut back on unnecessary water use.
The Town Council proposed voluntary conservation, he said, hoping to avoid mandatory restrictions.
"It's a precautionary measure due to the length and intensity of the current drought," he said.
The town of 842 people has not had to impose a mandatory ban on water use inmore than 10 years, said Town Clerk Richard M. Warehime.