By Jai-Leen James
The Baltimore County Council will consider a bill next week that calls for reserving land in the Honeygo area of Perry Hall for the construction of a new middle and high school for the district.
Councilman David Marks, R-District Five, said Bill 21-15 was needed because the overcrowding in the school district cannot be solved by redistricting alone due to enrollment projections.
Councilman Wade Kach, R-District Three, said that the county’s revenue could not support this project because of statewide budget cuts. He said the only way the county could generate income for the school project would be to raise taxes.
Baltimore County’s property taxes have not been raised in over 20 years, according to the Department of Assessments and Taxation’s statistics reports.
Joshua Greenfeld, vice president of government affairs for the Maryland Building Industry Association, spoke against the bill. He said that his organization fears the precedent this would set for future building permits regarding school construction.
The bill was supported by the Teachers’ Association of Baltimore County.
“If it was my choice, this would not just be a David Marks’ bill,” said Abby Beytin, president of the association. “This would be a county wide bill in every single district. If you ask me if I want my taxes raised, absolutely.”
Councilmembers Tom Quirk, D-District One, and Vicki Almond, D-District Two, presented Bill 19-15, which would restructure zoning regulations to allow a nano brewery to operate in Arbutus.
Councilman Julian Jones, D-District Four, questioned whether the addition of the nano brewery would negatively affect existing competition among local restaurants.
Kevin Atticks, the executive director of both the Maryland Wineries Association and the Brewers Association of Maryland, spoke in favor of this bill.
Atticks said a nano brewery would not directly compete with existing restaurants because they may only hold a limited amount of alcohol on site for self-distribution and consumption purposes and they are not permitted to sell food.
The council will also consider a bill that would raise the fine for illegal dumping to $500. Violators could also serve jail time under the measure.
The council is scheduled to vote on the bills Monday at the next legislative session in the Council Chambers.