County waters down brochure plan

Carroll commissioners decided yesterday they won't mail a brochure to homeowners in South Carroll explaining the rationale behind their decision to build a $14 million water treatment plant at Piney Run.

Instead, Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Robin Bartlett Frazier voted to make the pamphlet available at the County Office Building, libraries and community centers. Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge voted against printing the pamphlet at all.


"I don't want it to be a major expense," said Frazier, who created the brochure. "I think we should [print] the brochure nicely and don't mail it."

Dell and Frazier had planned to print 10,000 copies of the brochure at a cost of about $3,300. About 7,200 copies were to be mailed to South Carroll residents, who have suffered through water shortages during three of the past four summers. The brochure would explain why a majority of the commissioners think tapping Piney Run Reservoir, a recreational area, is the best way to alleviate the shortages.


Limiting distribution of the brochure to 2,500 copies will save the county at least $2,000 in production costs and about $1,800 in postage.

During a 15-minute review of the brochure yesterday, board President Julia Walsh Gouge did not speak. In the past, she has questioned claims made in the brochure and called for a public hearing on plans to build the plant that would be needed to treat Piney Run's water.

Gouge, and many residents of South Carroll, have expressed concern that building the treatment plant is costly and unnecessary. Rather than tap Piney Run, they would like to see Carroll expand its water treatment plant at Liberty Reservoir. A group of South Carroll residents plans to hold a "Save the Lake" rally in May to oppose construction of the Piney Run plant.

Frazier said she created the brochure to highlight "the facts of the issue that we used to make our decision" to build the plant. She said she hoped the brochure would help residents understand that the proposed plant would not have an adverse effect on recreation at Piney Run Park.

The commissioners are expected to distribute copies of the brochure this month.

In other business, the commissioners voted unanimously to seek proposals to renovate the old Hampstead Elementary School.

Town and county officials have been trying for years to find a tenant for the school. They hope to begin negotiations with a prospective developer within a few months.

Officials meeting with the commissioners yesterday to discuss the school said they're open to a variety of uses, including a youth center, retail shops and affordable housing for seniors, for the 64,900-square-foot building on Main Street.


"The request for proposals is real broad," said Ralph E. Green, county director of the Department of Permits, Inspections and Review. "Our intent was to allow for something really creative."