Gov. signs right to farm bill

May 13, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening on Thursday signed a bill to protect Washington County farmers and another that gives the county government the authority to borrow money during times of short cash flow.

The Right to Farm law allows the county government to set up regulations designed to protect farmers from neighbors' nuisance complaints. The county has to work out the details.

"We'll be taking a good look at it, hopefully in the near future," said County Administrator Rodney Shoop.

A similar Right to Farm bill was passed for Frederick County in 1995, said County Attorney John Mathias.

The Frederick County Commissioners appointed a seven-person committee to resolve disputes between farmers and their neighbors. During real estate transactions, homeowners are notified of the Right to Farm law, he said.

Only a handful of complaints have been filed under the regulations, Mathias said.

Glendening also signed a bill Thursday to give the Washington County Commissioners the authority to borrow up to $5 million in times of short cash flow.


"We don't intend to use that in the near term. That's just what I call insurance if we would have a major financial problem in the county," Shoop said.

The county could have used such a loan in 1995, when a large payment was due to the Washington County Board of Education but tax revenue had not yet arrived in the county coffers.

Frederick County has had short-term borrowing authority for 10 or 20 years, Mathias said. The legislature this year increased the limit from $2.5 million to $5 million.

Shoop said Washington County often takes its lead from neighbors to the east, who deal with growth issues seven to 10 years sooner.

"There's no corner on good ideas and we like to use their good ideas and modify them to apply to Washington County," he said.

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