Montgomery County residents will vote this fall on a referendum that would bar the county from spending local money on projects that are state responsibilities, such as building major roads and schools.
Douglas L. Jernigan, Montgomery election administrator, said in a letter to the County Council yesterday that Bethesda lawyer Robin Ficker has obtained 10,000 signatures from registered voters, the requirement to put a question on the ballot.
The measure will be one of several tax limitation measures presented to voters on Nov. 6 in what may prove to be a confusing set of alternatives.
County officials said that the latest measure, if approved by voters, would do great damage.
"It would be bad for the roads, worse for the schools," said county Transportation Director Robert S. McGarry. McGarry said that in the past when the state hasn't come up with money, the county has gone ahead if the need was great.
Supporters of the measure argue, however, that the state is lagging in its obligation to Montgomery because it knows the county will use its own money. And they argue that much of the road building is used to advance development not wanted or needed in the county.
At least two other measures are bound for the ballot. One, also backed by Ficker, would bar the County Council from raising the tax rate above its fiscal 1988 level. Ficker is a GOP candidate for the County Council.
Another proposal would tie annual property tax increases to the rate of inflation, although the exact formula is awaiting action by the council and a Circuit Court judge.
A majority of the council, in a compromise with a county's taxpayers group, said they would place a referendum on the ballot that would hold annual property tax increases to the rate of inflation.
However, Ficker and other GOP candidates have attacked the council's compromise with Fairness in Taxation and have gone to court. The GOP group wants FIT to turn in its petitions for a county charter amendment that would limit a yearly property tax increase to 75 percent of the rate of inflation and limit the amount of revenue collected from property taxes.