Budget planning to start during council's retreat


The Columbia Council will go on its annual retreat to the Belmont Conference Center in Elkridge this weekend to get a head start on preparing next year's Columbia Association budget.

The council decided to revamp its budget process and address financial and policy issues earlier in the fiscal year after members raised concerns that the board had too little time to make changes in the $31.7 million fiscal 1995 spending plan. The association's fiscal year begins May 1.

The overnight retreat will cost an estimated $3,600 for 10 council members, Association President Padraic Kennedy and six vice presidents, said Pamela Mack, the association's director of community relations. The council plans to meet for three sessions from about noon Saturday to noon Sunday.

Council members have come up with a list of about 30 budget-related issues to discuss at the retreat.

The association prepares the budget at the council's direction. The association charges Columbia property owners an annual fee to manage Columbia's recreational facilities, community programs and open space areas.

Stolen car stereo, handgun found in van

A man who was found sleeping in his parked van behind a closed business in Owen Brown was arrested yesterday after officers found a handgun and a stolen car stereo in the vehicle, police said.

Robert Brian Graham, 21, of the 7000 block of Cradlerock Way in Columbia was being held on $2,500 bail at the Howard County Detention Center yesterday, a District Court commissioner said.

He is charged with possession of a handgun and theft, police said.

About 9:15 a.m., a patrol officer who spotted the van parked in the 6400 block of Dobbin Center Way grew suspicious and asked to search the van, said police spokesman Sgt. Steve Keller.

Officers found the loaded .380-caliber semi-automatic and a car stereo that had been stolen from a Saab parked nearby on the lot, Sergeant Keller said.


* Oakland Mills: 9400 block of Macomber Lane: Someone shattered the rear window of a gray Saab 900 with BB gun pellets Monday.

* Kings Contrivance: 8700 block of Carriage Hills Drive: A CD player and a radar detector, valued at $600, were stolen from a Ford after someone manipulated a passenger door lock Monday for entry, police said.

7300 block of Eden Brook: A radio was stolen from a parked car Tuesday, police said.

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