Monday, October 24, 2005

A Tale of Three Cities?

In a curious coincidence, Friday's Capital reported the intentions of some in the Odenton area to seek incorporation for the burgeoning 'burb in west county. Apparently, the effort is being spearheaded by Dave Tibbetts, a member of the Greater Odenton Improvement Association, who sees incorporation as one way to reap the tax windfall of upcoming development in the area.

Mr. Tibbetts offered, "It takes us 30 years to get anything (from the county). We don't have enough clout with the political structure in general." Of course, it doesn't help that the area has been saddled with the largely inept Bill Burlison (D - Crofton) as its councilman for the last 7 years. One of the aspirants for Mr. Burlison's seat on the council, Jamie Benoit (D) said that "he's excited by the possibility .....but, the change is more likely in about eight to 10 years - "when Odenton is all grown up."

Certainly it's easy to understand why communities would seek greater autonomy, particularly when they feel as though they are being underserved, but there are other factors to consider as well: How will an additional layer of bureacracy either slow or speed local efforts? What sort of costs would the new local body cost just to sustain itself? Many communities in the county have special benefit tax districts, which take a portion of local property taxes for community purposes. This would seem to be an important intermediary step.



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