Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Friday, March 03, 2006

This is Ridiculous

If anyone has more background on this please share in the comments section, but based on a story in today's Sun lien payers (Columbia's version of a tax payer) are being denied a right to vote due to some change to HUD policy (Why is HUD involved in this?).

Linda Wengel lives in the heart of Columbia and wants to run for a seat on her village board this spring, but she can't.

Wengel's new apartment at the Evergreens, in a building for seniors next to The Mall in Columbia, is -- like every other new building in the planned town -- in a legal purgatory.

Owners of new buildings must pay the taxlike property lien to the Columbia Association, but the buildings have not been legally annexed into Columbia, so their residents can't participate in village affairs. The problem is the result of a January 2003 change in practice by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was used to perform annexations because the only other method requires getting approval from at least two-thirds of a village's eligible residents -- a virtual impossibility because most village elections attract a bare minimum of voters.

Whatever the reason, it is not pleasing those affected.

"If you believe in the Columbia concept, the idea that we can't vote but are still paying the assessment is upsetting," Wengel said. For apartments, however, the building owner pays the assessment directly, though it is reflected in the rent.

Joel and Gail Broida, who live east of the mall, at the new Lakeside at Town Center condominiums, agree.

"It's sort of taxation without representation. We can't vote in the election. That's not right," Joel Broida said. Gail Broida, like Wengel, wants to run for a spot on the Town Center Village Board, but she can't.

Our country came out of a fight for no taxes without representation. As we move forward with the redevelopment of downtown there will be a lot of new residents whose voting rights must be insured. How does the annexing work? Why is HUD involved? Why did HUD's policies change? Who's got the inside scoop?


Anonymous gcmmello said...

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1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

off campus housing

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classifieds for our community. Buy, sell, trade, date, events... post anything. Adquity Classifieds.

6:40 AM  

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