Baltimore County voters will have eight bond issues to consider in the Nov. 8 election: $81.7 million proposed for needs that routinely appear on the local ballot, such as construction and maintenance of schools, roads, bridges, parks and dumps. In contrast, bond issues totaling $200 million (in 1990, the highest amount in county history), $118 million (in 1992, the second-highest) and $110 million (in 1988, the third-highest) were put before voters in the last three elections.
This year's relatively low amount reflects County Executive Roger Hayden's three-fold desire to restrain borrowing, minimize interest payments and sustain the county's strong bond rating.
More than $48 million, about three-fifths of the $81.7 million total, is requested in Question A. The funds would go toward the building and upkeep of county schools. With the exception of crime, no topic has caused greater concern among citizens in recent years than the condition of local public schools, particularly overcrowding and deterioration at certain facilities.
Question B would provide $9.6 million for the construction of new cells at Eastern Sanitary Landfill and the capping of closed trash dumps at Hernwood and Parkton. Up to $6.6 million could be borrowed for construction, renovation and maintenance at the county's three community colleges, in Catonsville, Dundalk and Essex, if Question C is passed. Question D would authorize the local government to appropriate as much as $10.8 million for public works projects. All but $800,000 of the money would be spent on road resurfacing.
Question E would provide $1.5 million for the acquisition and development of parks and recreation centers. Question F would allow $1 million to be used in programs designed to generate affordable housing for the county's burgeoning senior population and for residents who earn at or below the county's median income level.
Question G is a request to borrow $500,000 to purchase development easements under the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program. Question H would provide $3.5 million for revitalizing county town centers through landscaping, construction of walkways and parking lots, and other measures to keep commercial districts appealing.
These funds would bring much-needed improvements to Baltimore County's quality of life. We urge county voters to vote for all eight bond issues, Questions A through H, on Nov. 8.
:* Tomorrow: Baltimore County courthouse.