Anne Arundel County officials last week submitted their annual wish list of legislation to county delegates to the General Assembly, and the main beneficiary would be the Chesapeake Bay.
Three of nine bills to be introduced by local legislators on the county's behalf deal with improving the water quality of the bay by upgrading waste-water treatment.
Two bills seek state subsidies for local jurisdictions or their residents and the third would allow Anne Arundel to join with other counties or Baltimore City to form a regional water and/or waste-water authority similar to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
In each case, lower costs would make improved waste-water treatment more economically enticing, said Robert Agee, chief aide to County Executive James Lighthizer.
"The general purpose of the bills is to get a dialogue going between the counties and the state," said Agee, who noted that implemenation of Gov. Harry Hughes' Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan depends on local utilities departments. "This is the next step."
In one bill, the county asks that the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene set up a statewide grant program to assist low-income and elderly residents who cannot afford to hook up to public sewers. County residents pay more than $3,300 for a hookup to the system.
"The actual costs are getting very high," Agee said. "Communities will not come in because it's prohibitive."
The only relief available is federal Community Development Block Grants, which require entire communities to meet income eligibility standards and don't allow for the occasional resident who cannot afford connection, he said. The state grants would be based on established income eligibility standards for public assistance.
Another bill would require the state to help local jurisdictions pay for removing phosphorus, a nutrient that can spur algae growth, from waste-water. Anne Arundel voluntarily has begun removing phosphorus at some of its treatment plants and wants state money to help offset the cost for all jurisdictions.
The county also wants the legislature to set a uniform processing fee not to exceed $2 on all child support payments handled by local jurisdictions. The fee would be paid by the person owing support.
Until last year, each jurisdiction set its own fee, but a suit against Prince George's County and Baltimore found that separately established fees were illegal. Because of that suit, no state fees are charged.
Among other requests:
* Permission for the county to increase the current 30-cent fee charged all users of the soon-to-be-connected 911 emergency service, to cover operating costs.
* Reimbursement by the state to the county for handling wildlife-related calls that are the Department of Natural Resources' responsibility.
* An amendment to allow librarians to detain patrons who attempt to leave with unchecked books.