People who live in South Carroll and believe they are victimized by the rest of the county owe it to themselves to vote for the proposed county charter. If the charter is adopted, South Carroll residents will be guaranteed one seat on the five-member elected council. Having a voice in the council might assuage their feelings of neglect.
Considering that none of the commissioners comes from South Carroll, it is not surprising to find that many residents believe they have been left without a say in determining county policies. Another complaint is that Westminster and its environs receive preferential treatment from the commissioners.
This summer's flap over a proposed outdoor shooting range revived feelings that South Carroll is a dumping ground for projects no one else wants. Just the mention of possibly constructing a waste-to-energy incinerator as part of Carroll's solid waste plan sent jitters through the community. Residents fear the commissioners are about to renege on earlier promises that the South Carroll landfill will be converted to recreational uses after it closes in 1996. The site might be used for an incinerator, Commissioner Donald Dell now says.
As proposed, the charter calls for the creation of a council whose members will come from five districts. Given the rapid population growth in South Carroll over the past two decades, and the expectation that it will continue, this portion of the county is likely to have at least one council seat. The charter also has a provision that calls for redistricting every 10 years, which will ensure that as South Carroll grows larger it will not be under-represented.
It's not just South Carroll that will benefit from district representation. Other areas of the county that have been slighted by the commissioners will be assured of their own representation, too.
Having council members selected from individual districts is not without its dangers. These representatives can become parochial, which would be detrimental to the entire county. It will be up to voters in each district to elect people who can represent their district's interests and yet work for the good of all Carroll County.
The proposed charter has a number of defects, but the composition of the council is not one of them. In fact, it addresses a problem that has been ignored for too long.