Have the citizens of Carroll County's municipalities ever wondered why the cost of providing services keeps going up? At the same time, do you hear from your local elected officials that they are doing all they can to contain these costs? Why the conflict?
A major culprit is something called "unfunded mandates," which come from state and federal governments. Mandates are statutory, constitutional and administrative actions that place new fiscal or administrative requirements on local governments. Local governments have no other choice but to pass the costs of the requirements on to citizens as property tax increases, fee increases or cuts in services. . . .
I wish to stress that municipal governments are not against doing the right thing. We recognize the need for policies that ensure basic and equal protection for all citizens and have always been willing to enter into partnerships with the state and federal governments to implement such policies. We all want clean air and water, safe housing and environmentally conscious development regulations.
However, the real issues of concern are how do we address these problems, who should pay the costs of coping with them and how much is too much? Because state and federal officials pass the responsibility for raising revenues to cover unfunded mandates on to local officials, they don't have to think of the
costs or reasonableness of their mandates. For example, it makes no sense for local governments in Maryland to be mandated by the federal government to test water to determine whether it contains harmful minerals which are found only in Western states. However foolish this example may sound, it is really occurring -- and you're paying for it through higher local taxes and fees. . . .
The Town of Sykesville recently adopted a resolution calling for the Maryland General Assembly and the U.S. Congress to stop the practice of passing laws and requirements on to local governments without providing the funding to pay for the costs of compliance. . . .
Kenneth W. Clark
The writer is mayor of Sykesville.
Recently, there have been several articles in The Sun pertaining to the elusive water leaks in Westminster. . . . It seems that there could be a loss of between 62 million and 360 million gallons of water in a year's time.
It hasn't been stated if the water authorities think this is one big leak or several leaks. However, one factor has been established: The water authorities are going to have to almost double the cost of water to the consumers because they cannot find these supposed leaks.
. . . A leak that size would form a sinkhole the size of W Westminster and by now, we would not be driving to work but rowing. . . .
Random House, Lehigh, London Fog, Carroll County General Hospital and Genstar are all businesses that require the use of a lot of water. . . . Were certain concessions made when these businesses were looking for building sites to entice these businesses to locate in Carroll County? Did the county commissioners offer free water to these corporations to entice them to move to Carroll County? . . .
James W. Main
State Police On Information
On Oct. 8, The Sun printed an editorial ("Mutilation of Public Information Law") concerning the apparent lack of information given to the public concerning the Sept. 4 mutilation of a mare on a Mount Airy farm. The editorial described at length how a similar attack on Oct. 6 may have been avoided had the public only known about the previous incident.
I have taken a very pro-active role in making certain our barrack personnel provide the media with the necessary information to properly perform their function of informing the public. Therefore, I personally investigated . . . your editorial.
Much to the contrary, I found that indeed a press advisory was prepared by the investigating trooper and sent to all of the media outlets in Carroll County, to include the Carroll County bureau of The Sun. The incident was reported to the Maryland State Police on Sept. 8, and was reported in the Sept. 10 edition of the Carroll County Times. . . . The Maryland State Police will continue to provide the public and the media with information concerning the safety of all Marylanders and we look forward to continuing our good working relationship with The Sun.
Larry W. Tolliver
The writer is superintendent of the Maryland State Police.