Straw vote backs addition to Town Hall Crofton trying to comply with disabilities law


Crofton Civic Association leaders moved closer to making Town Hall accessible to the disabled by supporting construction of an addition.

The nine board members did not discuss Monday night how the tax district would pay for an addition, which could cost about $70,000. They weren't even sure whether they could authorize money or if they needed community approval. They will ask the county attorney's office for an opinion.

Nonetheless, the board's straw vote represented its strongest support for making the split-level Town Hall more accessible to handicapped people. During the past year the board has intensified efforts to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The federal deadline for public buildings, such as Town Hall, passed in January.

Board members examined options such as building a new Town Hall, adding a ramp for wheelchairs and moving meetings to accessible sites such as a school, an office or the Crofton Country Club. Since April, the board has tried to hold meetings outside Town Hall but found that cumbersome.

On Monday, the board's financial committee recommended an addition because it would be the most cost-effective option. An addition and its maintenance expenses would cost each household $4.62 a year for 30 years and $1.87 annually after the debt is paid off.

"This is Crofton. We can afford this," said Tom Isdaner, an accountant and committee member.

But some community members disagreed. They said they wanted community groups that use Town Hall, and that are not part of the tax district, to help pay for the addition.

Many board members said Monday night they considered the addition the only option.

"We need to make this property handicap accessible," said board Vice President Ken Folstein. "I don't see any other alternatives."

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