Warren Miller (R-9A) Responds.
Posted by Ed C on Sunday, February 15, 2009
On February 8th, the Baltimore Sun published Disagreement over saving county $220,00 sparks a fiery exchange.
Below is a response from Warren Miller.
Response to Baltimore Sun Article “Disagreement over saving county $220,000 sparks fiery exchange”
I would like to answer some misstatements made in Larry Carson’s February 8 article regarding our recent Howard County Delegation meeting. The meeting was to hear the County Executive’s bill to eliminate all authority the State Soil Conservation office has over the approval of future county development. The Executive’s plan involves the removal of the independent review and replaces it with the in-house review of the County Department of Planning and Zoning. It leaves little wonder as to why this bill was filed late and seemingly pushed through in the dark of the night. The proper time for this filing was before the November deadline along with all the other local bills.
This measure will force the State Soil Conservation office to lay off workers. When asked about the county’s ability to handle more workload without adding employees, Mr. Wacks became a bit tense and reacted predictably. He seemed less concerned about the accounting of taxpayer dollars and more concerned about quickly removing any accountability to the county taxpayers themselves. His indirect answer implied that the county Department of Planning and Zoning could handle the workload without additional personnel. If in fact that is the case, common sense should lead the Executive to cut the taxpayer burden of the county budget by $220,000 and maintain the benefit of an impartial review process. Since the County currently collects the fees for the Soil Conservation office, I believe the County not the State Office should reduce operations and costs.
In the past, the Department of Planning and Zoning has exhibited “political” tendencies in handing out profitable permits to certain developers. In my opinion, this is not in the best interest of the citizens of Howard County. On the other hand, the current procedure of review by the State Soil Conservation Office has historically followed a “predictable” non-political process in the issuance of county building permits.
In the Sun article Mr. Carson quotes a Howard County resident wanting to know what amount of money we consider to be a lot. This question arose after it was made clear by Mr. Wacks that $220,000 is an “insignificant” amount of money.
After a review of the County’s budget, and seeing the increase in spending in the Department of Planning and Zoning over the last two years – I have to question the Million dollar increase and addition of 5 new staff! In my opinion Mr. Wacks and the County Executive should get their own fiscal house in order first!
Mr. Wacks is obviously no friend to the average taxpayer. Over the past two years when warnings were being heard at the State and County level, Mr. Wacks aided the County Executive in spending Millions of dollars from Howard County taxpayers that should have been refunded or saved in the County’s “Rainy Day” fund, so that we would not be facing such “tough times” now.
Mr. Miller represents Legislative District 9A in the Maryland General Assembly