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Commissioners want grant returned; Westminster received $50,000 for garage


The Carroll County commissioners dumped a last-minute demand on Westminster officials yesterday that will cause the funding dispute over the Lucabaugh Mill Road repaving and Cranberry sewer extension projects to drag on.

At its meeting last night, the Westminster Common Council was prepared to accept a county funding proposal under which the county would pay $102,000 toward the $160,000 repaving project. That's $8,000 less than the city had wanted but far more than the $86,000 county officials recently agreed to.

In return, the city would bill the county about $37,000 for the sewer extensions, about $16,000 less than it could have charged.

That agreement was detailed in a letter delivered to city officials at 4: 45 p.m. yesterday. What was not expected was a final caveat stating that the deal would proceed only if Westminster returned the county's $50,000 grant for the city's parking garage, which was planned in conjunction with the $6 million Carroll County Bank & Trust Co. complex downtown.

The bank announced two weeks ago it had been acquired by North Carolina's BB&T; Corp. and was scrapping plans for the complex. The city owns the land and is working on finding another developer for the site.

Common Council members voted to postpone a decision on the repaving and sewer projects until they could discuss the new caveat with county officials.

"I'm kind of flabbergasted that they would include that in the letter," Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan said after the meeting. "The money went toward the purchase of the property, and we're still going ahead with the project. It makes no sense whatsoever."

"Clearly, anything we do will require a parking garage," said council member Gregory Pecoraro. "The desire to put a garage there is still alive. It's delayed, but it's still very much alive."

In another matter, the council approved a resolution stating it plans to annex 61 acres for commercial development just east of Weis Markets along Route 140.

The resolution is the first step in a long process of open hearings, negotiations with the county and planning meetings, said Thomas B. Beyard, the city's director of planning and public works. The area is zoned for residential and industrial use and land conservation, he said.

"It's a natural extension of the commercial development that's already there," Beyard said.

The council also approved a proposal from the state's Military Monuments Commission that would allow the commission to refurbish two eagle statues, commemorating World War I veterans, on Center Street at Winters Alley. The $2,000 project will be paid for by the commission.

Pub Date: 2/09/99

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