Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Howard County Happenings

A lot is happening here in HoCo. First, the Senior Tax Cut Task Force has delivered their (or is that its?) recommendations to the County Council. Their recommendations were summarized by the Sun.
The task force recommended that homeowners meet a new income ceiling for eligibility of four times the federal poverty level, which this year would equal $54,760. In addition, the group voted to add an eligibility asset test matching what the state requires for its circuit-breaker property tax relief program. Unlike the current law, the committee's proposal would not freeze anyone's tax bill but would cut each year's property tax by 25 percent.

The task force's recommendations, if implemented, would resolve many of my concerns about the Regressive Senior Tax Cut. I'm hoping the County Council will adopt them.
More good news, County Executive Ulman has signaled that his appointment of Dr. Beilenson is just the first step towards upgrading our Health Department to world class standards.

Finally, the Centennial Gardens affordable housing project is officially dead. Its hard to address our County's affordable housing issues when no one wants affordable housing near them.


Byron said...

Very disappointed about Centennial Gardens. Steve, you make a good point--we need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Where is the affordable housing going to go? We built a large apartment building for 62 years and older folks in Waverly Woods--drew the largest opposition at least in recent history at the County Council hearing--and most of the people who live there are relatives (mainly parents) of families who already live in single-family homes or townhomes in Waverly Woods, and the building matches the design of all of the adjacent buildings (ie. you can't tell its an affordable housing structure). Now that it is occupied, there are no complaints about the residents or otherwise.

I know it can be a tough policy choice, but this is crucial... and I think in the future, barring logistical and procedural problems, we need elected officials to do some real voter education.

wordbones said...
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wordbones said...

It would be nice to see some true leadership on this issue as opposed to the political pandering we've seen in Howard County. Everybody thinks affordable housing is needed but nobody wants it in their neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that "nobody wants it in their neighborhood". Simply no longer allowing offsite fulfillment of affordable housing obligations would solve this issue. Alternatively, creating stipulations that if offsite fulfillment is allowed for some (but not all of the obligation), it be done so at a multiplier and that concentrating such fulfillment elsewhere could not be done at a density greater than would have occurred onsite if 100% onsite fulfillment had occurred.