Baltimore County Digest


Environmentalists support tax credit

About a dozen environmentalists showed up at a County Council work session yesterday to support a proposed tax credit for energy-efficient buildings.

Under the proposal, owners of commercial buildings that meet an environmental standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council would receive up to full reimbursement of property taxes for 10 years.

The county government would award the credits on a first-come, first-served basis, but would award no more than $1 million in credits a year.

The county auditor estimates that the credits would cost the local government $132,000 next year and $7.5 million over 10 years.

Polly Bart, president of Greenbuilders Inc., said she knows developers who would build more efficient buildings with tax credits to offset the additional construction costs.

"They're not ready to green-build without an incentive," Bart said after the work session.

The council is to vote on the proposal Monday.

Josh Mitchell


Verizon applies for cable franchise

Verizon Communications Inc. filed an application with the Baltimore County Council yesterday for a license to offer cable television in the county.

The company must obtain the license, called a "cable franchise," to determine how much of its revenue would go to the county and which areas would get service first, among other terms.

The council will spend weeks reviewing Verizon's financial standing. The panel would likely vote Sept. 5 on whether to enter franchise discussions with the company, said Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, a Pikesville-Ruxton Democrat who negotiates franchises on behalf of the council. The two sides would then have 90 days to finalize an agreement, he said.

Verizon would compete against Comcast, the area's dominant cable provider, and satellite TV companies.

Verizon will pay the county a $25,000 application fee, Kamenetz said.

The company won approval in the spring to install a fiber-optic cable network throughout the county. The network will provide the technology to offer a bundle of Internet, television and phone services.

Josh Mitchell

6th District

Knepp to run against Bartenfelder

Timothy P. Knepp, an Essex lawyer and member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, has filed to run for the County Council seat in the 6th district, which stretches from Parkville to Middle River.

Knepp, 51, is running for the seat held by Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder, a Democrat in the final year of his third term, who said he will seek re-election.

"The Democratic-controlled council has done nothing but build half-million-dollar homes, take money from developers and has completely ignored their constituency, the voting public," Knepp said. "That's got to change."

Knepp filed to run for a seat in the House of Delegates as a Democrat in 2002 but dropped out of the race.

White Marsh

Kingsville woman wins $1 million

A Baltimore County woman who went to the grocery store yesterday for a birthday card and a bunch of bananas walked out of the Giant supermarket as Maryland's newest millionaire, state lottery officials said.

About 9 a.m., May Peach-Peterson of Kingsville, a retired nurse, went to the store in White Marsh, purchased her items and received $20 in change.

She said she was about to walk out when she decided to purchase a $20 Maryland scratch-off lottery ticket. She bought the ticket and discovered it was a big winner.

She called one of her sons to share the news.

"I told him I couldn't drive," she recalled.

She said her son thought she was in trouble, but after she explained about the million-dollar ticket, "I came out of my shock, and he just went into his."

She has ideas on how to spend her winnings.

"I'm going to pay off my house," she said. "I am going to be a grandmother in February. I have three sons, and life will be better."

Nick Shields

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