Administration says $15 million is enough for...


Administration says $15 million is enough for police/fire radio

The county administration sought yesterday to explain its decision to budget $15 million for a new police and fire radio system, even though other county officials put the cost at $23 million to $28 million, depending on financing.

County Financial Officer John R. Hammond told the County Council that he believes $15 million is a "reasonable expectation." He noted that the higher range, reported earlier to the council, was based on an estimate by Motorola Inc."We're not taking [Motorola's] submission blindly," said Jerome W. Klasmeier, the county's chief administrative officer.

If the cost exceeded $15 million, Hammond said, the administration would not be shy about asking the council for more money.

There is widespread agreement that the 13-year-old radio system needs to be replaced. But County Auditor Teresa Sutherland, who works for the council, recommends that funding be deleted unless the administration can come up with the larger amount."We've had three years to determine what's going to be the appropriate cost," said Councilwoman Barbara D. Samorajczyk, an Annapolis Democrat. "After three years, to have this discussion is disappointing."

Robbery suspect nabbed minutes after bank holdup

A robbery suspect was found hiding in a Glen Burnie sewer tunnel yesterday within five minutes of a holdup at a nearby bank - one just across the street from a county jail.

Northern District patrol officers responding to a 9:34 a.m. robbery call on Ordnance Road found several people standing in the Allfirst Bank parking lot, shouting out where the bandit had gone, said Sgt. Joseph Jordan, a county police spokesman.

Officer Thomas Williams spotted a suspect in a sewer tunnel in the Baymeadow Industrial Park, where Officers Clarence Cornwell and Dennis Schuman made the arrest, Jordan said.

Police said the suspect was carrying a large amount of cash, and had dropped another large sum - including an explosive dye pack - on the bank parking lot. But no weapon was found, Jordan said. Police said the robber apparently used a hand in his pocket to suggest he had a gun in confronting several bank employees.

Ronnie Bernard Riley, 36, of the 2900 block of Miles Ave. in Baltimore, was charged with armed robbery and ordered held without bail at the county's other jail on Jennifer Road in Annapolis.

Two candidates drop out of Crofton civic board race

Two candidates have dropped out of the race for the Crofton Civic Association board of directors, leaving only the presidency contested, elections committee officials said yesterday.

Crofton's District 4 representative Cynthia Johnston and Joeday Newsome both withdrew, noting time constraints, officials said. Johnston was running against Laurie Torene for secretary, and Newsome was competing against Ronald Burns for the District 5 seat.

In his withdrawal letter to the elections committee, Newsome said his work commitments would not leave him enough time to participate as a board member. Johnston, who is president of the Crofton Chamber of Commerce and heads the committee for a west county high school, also said her "plate was full" with commitments.

The moves leave only the board presidency in doubt. District 5 representative Richard Trunnell and Crofton Athletic Council President Patrick Dunbar are campaigning for the seat.

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