Meeting set to discuss new tax breaks...

Meeting set to discuss new tax breaks aimed at preserving farmland

County officials have invited farmers to a meeting to discuss a new program offering farmers tax advantages through deferral of payments for sale of conservation easements.


Denis D. Canavan, planning and zoning officer, and Barbara A. Polito, Agricultural and Woodland Preservation Program director, will attend the meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow at London Town Publik House and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road in Edgewater.

The program, called Installment Purchase Agreement, allows the county to preserve farmland by offering landowners capital-gains tax deferral. With the new program, farmers can sell easements using agreements that defer all or part of the purchase price until 2027. In the interim, sellers receive interest twice a year on the outstanding balance. As with a municipal bond, interest payments are exempt from federal, state and local income taxes.


The county noted that Howard County has used long-term IPAs to buy easements on 9,200 acres from 81 sellers since 1989, and that similar programs are under way in Harford County; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Burlington County, N.J.

Anne Arundel is encouraging farmers to consider IPAs because the structure minimizes cash needed to close on purchases.

"The rural character of southern Anne Arundel County will be lost forever unless development rights are purchased soon," the county said.

The next deadline for submitting applications to sell easements to the county is April 1.

Information: Barbara Polito, 410-222-7441 or barbarapolito@

Former county fire chief named to post in Nashville

Former county fire chief Stephen D. Halford has been named to head the Nashville Fire Department in Tennessee.

Halford, 47, who was the first county firefighter to scale the ranks and become chief, put in 26 years in Anne Arundel -- including five in the top job -- before retiring in 1999.


He is now the fire chief in Clayton, Mo., and is to begin his new job April 2, according to Nashville's acting fire chief, Billy Lynch.

"He has real good experience in both the medical and the suppression side," Lynch said of Halford, who was chosen after a national search. "We felt that was important, plus his reputation was one of being a good administrator."

Senate building evacuated after smoke discovered

A slight haze of smoke on the third floor of the Miller Senate Office Building prompted an evacuation of 150 to 200 people for about an hour yesterday morning, the Annapolis Fire Department said.

Firefighters called to the building shortly after 9 a.m. cleared out the smoke and found its source -- an air-handler unit in the ceiling on the third floor, said Capt. Leonard Clark, a department spokesman.

There was no flame, and the cause of the smoke was not apparent, Clark said.


Two 12-year-olds injured in scuffle at middle school

Police and paramedics were called to Southern Middle School yesterday as a scuffle sent a pair of 12-year-olds to Anne Arundel Medical Center with what was described as minor injuries.

The disruption about 11:30 a.m. stemmed from one boy calling the other a name, and being pushed into a locker in response, police said.

"The situation was dealt with appropriately by the administration, and the day returned to normal," said school system spokesman Michael Walsh.

Work on road, garage to close BWI Trail spur

A section of the BWI Trail will be closed today until further notice because of construction.


The section that crosses Aviation Boulevard and extends along Elm Road to the airport's international pier will be closed, beginning at the entrance to the bridge over the roadway.

The trail's BWI spur is closing because of work to relocate the return loop of the airport's terminal roadway and build a temporary parking lot near Elm Road and Aviation Boulevard.

The 12.5-mile paved recreation trail's hiker/biker loop around the airport boundaries will remain open.