For recycling to work, it must be...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

For recycling to work, it must be mandatory

Editor's note: The county commissioners have ordered private trash haulers to pick up recyclable material from residential customers starting July 1. With the exception of some towns, residents are encouraged but not required to sort out recyclables. The immediate aim is to begin complying with state law, which requires counties to recycle a percentage of their solid waste. The commissioners also want to reduce the amount of trash going to county landfills. We have asked readers if they think recycling is a good idea, if they recycle, if recycling should be mandatory and if the commissioners should contract for countywide trash pickup. Here is one of the responses:

From: Mr. and Mrs. Gary Bauer

Hampstead

On the issue of recycling, we support it, and our family has been doing it for several years.

However, we are in disagreement with the method by which recycling was initiated. Mandates from the federal or state levels of government that do not provide funding to implement are an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer.

Recycling should have been emphasized as a matter of civic pride and concern for our children's future. Be that as it may, with recycling the law of the land, it is now the responsibility of the county to see that every citizen recycles.

The only way to accomplish this is to make recycling mandatory. The reason being, the 15 percent requirement is only the beginning; the EPA is proposing a 25 percent requirement.

The county needs to take control of trash collection on a countywide basis by establishing routes via a bidding system. The requirements of recycling and the operation of the landfill are the commissioners' responsibility.

At this moment, No. 1 and No. 2 are the only acceptable plastics. The county needs to expand to include all plastics. Studies in New Jersey have shown the items we in Carroll recycle make up only 3 percent of the waste stream.

As of July 1, 1993, yard waste will no longer be accepted at the landfill. The county needs to have its mulching system operational before the deadline.

The study has discovered one of the biggest contributors to landfills is construction rubble, 30 percent. The county needs to find a way to recover much of this material. We have seen used concrete pulverized and mixed with new concrete or asphalt for road surfacing.

Lumber that is not pressure-treated could be passed through the mulching operation. Another product that showed promise in the '70s was glassphalt.

For recycling to work, the county needs to specify these and other products in their contracts. We, the citizens, need to make an effort to purchase products made of recycled materials.

It is true in both of the examples given that the cost will be higher, but no one said recycling was going to be cheap.

Lawyers should be accessible to disabled

From: Marilynn J. Phillips

Hampstead

The following is submitted for your consideration:

"I'd like a cheeseburger, fries and a strawberry shake. Oh, yes, and a large bag of torts, please."

It appears that at least one Carroll County attorney (who shall be nameless) has interpreted compliance with the recent Americans with Disabilities Act as, you guessed it, curbside service.

Or so his assistant explained to me when I asked if the law firm was wheelchair-accessible.

It gets even funnier -- that is, if your funny bone is tickled when you hear that at least 80 percent of Westminster, Manchester and Hampstead law firms are not wheelchair-accessible. A real rib-tickler.

My inquiry into the accessibility of law firms began when the law firm we had used dissolved. It was time to find a new law firm, and this time, one that not only had access to the building but also to the restroom facilities.

Using a bathroom should not have to be a political act.

I ended up telephoning 35 law firms in Westminster, Manchester and Hampstead. Of these, 28 had no access to the firm; four had access to the building but no accessible restrooms; and only three had both access to the firm and accessible restrooms.

Well, perhaps it's not all that bad. After all, of the 28 who have no access whatsoever, four indicated they have contracted for access ramps -- yet seemed puzzled that wheelchair users might also need to use the bathroom.

Oh, sure, there are the usual justifications:

"Ours is an historic site" (but you do have indoor plumbing?)

"Old building, you see" (or old attitude?)

"We just rent" (ADA holds both lessee and landlord responsible)

"We carry them in" or "We make house calls" (Ugh!)

Is everyone missing the point?

It's bad enough that clients with disabilities are denied access. What about prospective employees with disabilities?

And what about the very real possibility that current employees (secretaries, paralegals, partners) may become disabled? Will they have to "retire" or look for a new job?

Good luck! The president's Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities notes that 70 percent of disabled persons are unemployed.

I understand the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce will publicize tax incentives for businesses in its September newsletter. For those who are eager to get a head start, however, there is IRS publication 907, which discusses tax deductions (up to $15,000 for 1991) and tax credits (up to $5,000 per year) for businesses removing architectural barriers -- both applicable for costs incurred after Nov. 5, 1990.

Since the maximum amount of deduction has already been reduced since 1990 (from $35,000 to $15,000), I sincerely hope that businesses will take advantage of these tax benefits before they are totally eliminated.

And, good citizens of Carroll County, how about encouraging your attorney (and other businesses you frequent) to maximize (not minimize) their accessibility?

Virtually everyone is touched by disability. Accessibility is good quality-of-life insurance for all of us.

How should residents of county recycle?

Editor's Note: The county commissioners have ordered private trash haulers to pick up recyclable material from residential customers starting July 1. Apart from some towns, residents are encouraged but not required to sort out recyclables. The immediate aim is to begin complying with state law, which requires counties to recycle a percentage of their solid waste. The commissioners also want to reduce the amount of trash going to county landfills. We have asked our readers if they think recycling is a good idea, if they recycle, if recycling should be mandatory and if the commissioners should contract for countywide trash pickup. Here are some of their responses:

From: Carol Brown

Eldersburg

Yes, it's a good idea.

I do and it should be mandatory if enough bins and services are provided. However, enforcement would be impossible.

Countywide would be OK, maybe, but current service is fine.

Would countywide be less costly?

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From: Lissa Byrd

Finksburg

Recycling is good and should be mandatory.

Recyclables should be sorted by residents.

Commissioners should contract for pickup. Private trash haulers should have to prove that they are putting recyclables in proper sites.

Should Shilling get $6,000 raise?

Editor's note: The county school board recently approved a $6,000 increase in the salary of Superintendent R. Edward Shilling. The board also OK'd a $3,000 annual increase for Deputy Superintendent Brian Lockard, recommended by Mr. Shilling because Mr. Lockard has taken on additional duties. Mr. Shilling's new annual salary is more than $104,000; under the terms of his contract it will rise to $118,000 by July 1994. He also receives substantial benefits and would be paid the entire four-year balance of his salary if he were fired for unsatisfactory performance. We asked our readers, in light of budget cuts and failure of many school employees to get raises this year, should the board have raised these salaries? Should Mr. Shilling and Mr. Lockard have turned down the raises? Here are some of the responses we have received:

From: Evelyn Kight

Finksburg

I think that a strong educational system comes mainly from the teachers who are performing the task of teaching.

Other than preschool and elementary schools, teaching is only a part of it. They have to be referees, physicists and adopted parents.

How can the superintendent and his deputy have enough gall to accept an increase of this magnitude when everyday there are very qualified and seasoned teachers leaving for better incomes?

As for the deputy superintendent, if his salary is as outrageous as Mr. Shilling's, they both should deny the raise and ask for it to be passed on for educational aids.

I do feel that the schools are trying to be too diversified in their teaching areas. Most of the children have a hard time just on the basics without having to cope with computers and typed reports.

If you were a teacher and had to compensate pay-wise and time-wise for the poor economy, would you not resent your superior getting an increase when he makes double, if not triple, of your salary?

By the way, I am a receptionist, not a teacher. But I believe that more teachers will leave and this will hurt the educational system.

The children do not care about the superintendent or his deputy, just the teachers that they have to deal with.

Sorry for such a long letter, but I feel strongly about this.

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From: Robin Ann Egolf

Sykesville

This borders on the absurd. I'm a school bus driver for schools in Carroll County, and you know what?

We aren't even offered benefits. There's been no raises for us in two years.

Granted, Mr. Shilling is a much more educated person. But aren't each of our responsibilities to the children of this county just as great?

I'm willing to bet Mr. Shilling is living very comfortably, even before this last raise, which is a lot more than I can say for myself and others in my position.

I believe the monies in this county certainly ought to be shared more evenly.

Why is [it] that people like myself -- hard working, committed -- are treated like we are non-existent, while all the "Mr. Shillings" are treated as if they are the only ones that count? Where's the logic?

A great many changes need to be made in the county as well as this country.

If Mr. Shilling were even the least bit as dedicated to this county as myself and others that share my views, he would not have accepted that raise.

He would have told the school board to put that money back into the system to benefit our children. Not just his family.

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From: Kathleen Duffy

Mount Airy

Excellent dialogue by Sharon Hornberger in the Aug. 16 paper [Carroll County Sun, As I See It].

She doesn't sound as angry as I am, but what she said is right. This raise is ridiculous.

Evidently this board has lost touch with the realities of most people who live in Carroll County. We are not rich people.

Mr. Shilling's raise and perks signifies where the board's priorities lie and they are not with our children or with the people involved with them everyday.

These are the people that make the impact. The schools tell me they are understaffed. They cannot afford more teachers. This ,, type of spending is the reason why.

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From: Albert Steinbach

Eldersburg

This action proves beyond any doubt how ignorant the school board members are on financial matters.

They should not have the authority to negotiate and/or approve any future financial contracts of any nature.

As for Mr. Shilling, what a heyday he and his agent must have had in negotiating with this know-nothing school board. I think it would have been very prudent on his part to have won this dream contract and then refused to accept it.

He can in no way feel good in accepting this plum while those under him get nothing.

Let's hope in the future we can have more knowledgeable elected officials to deal with such matters and less greedy officials in accepting them.

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From: Virginia Hornberger

Westminster

No raise in salaries for school officials. The importance of a strong educational system warrants good pay raises for teachers, not upper-level management.

Teachers are teaching our children, not upper level officials. Teachers' tasks are much more important and have much more of an impact on our children's education and well-being.

Both Mr. Shilling and Mr. Lockard should have done their part by turning down or taking a much lesser pay raise.

Teachers' jobs are much more demanding and important and my children's well-being is much more important than upper management level.

Teachers are the core of our educational system. Without them there would be nothing. We should support our teachers first and foremost. They're the responsible ones for educating the future. If they aren't happy, then how can we expect them to give their utmost?

They work hard and they form our children right along with the parents. So, give them their due and let us all be thankful to all teachers.

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