In January the Crofton Civic Association was forced to hastily cut nearly $6,000 from its proposed $574,000 annual budget when not enough tax district residents showed up to vote on the spending plan with a 1 percent increase over the previous year.
So this month, a committee of board members and residents will begin to examine ways to change the association's by-laws to give the board more budget flexibility.
"They [special tax district residents] should allow their elected representatives to do what we're here to do, which is to present a budget that's fair," said Richard Trunnell, vice president of the board and head of the committee.
The committee may consider a property tax cap instead of a budget cap; a percentage of increase that is allowed without a vote as long as the tax rate stays the same or other options before reporting back to the full board, according to Trunnell. Crofton residents pay an additional 26 cents per $100 of assessed value for services not provided by the county.
A by-law amendment won by residents in 1995 over the objection of board members requires that tax district property owners approve any increase in the budget. If a majority at the January general membership meeting does not approve a budget increase, or if fewer than the 75 property owners needed for a quorum show up, as happened this year, the budget must remain at the previous year's level.
Without increasing the tax district budget to at least keep up with inflation, Crofton will "slowly but surely slip into a state of disrepair," board president Edwin F. Dosek said at a board meeting Monday.
But the mere suggestion of changing the bylaws to allow for budget increases has caused a stir among residents, according to District 2 representative Gayle Colner Sears.
Sears said she shared some residents' concerns about expenditures on public safety, maintenance and other areas.
"We, as board members, need to look at the budget as it exists and see where that money is being spent," she said.
Also at Monday's meeting, Dosek announced that the State Highway Administration has agreed to change a planned widening of Route 3 in Crofton to preserve more than 30 trees in the median.
Thirty-three of 40 trees in clusters in the median near the intersection with Route 450 will be preserved when the state begins widening Route 3 from the intersection to Crawford Boulevard, according to an SHA spokeswoman.
To leave more of the median intact, the road will be widened from two lanes to three lanes, each 11 feet wide instead of the planned 12 feet; the inside shoulders will be two feet wide instead of four feet; and the outside shoulders will be eight feet wide instead of ten feet, according to Valerie Burnette Edgar, the SHA spokeswoman. Brown guard rails that blend with the environment will also be installed to prevent motorists who run off the road from hitting the trees.
Pub Date: 9/11/96