The Village Council began work Monday night on a proposed $1.2 million operating budget for the fiscal year begining in July. The budget blueprint, drawn up by council treasurer Saul Goldberg, includes a nearly 10 percent drop in the property tax rate -- from the current 28 cents per $100 of assessed value to 25 cents.

Goldberg proposed a budget nearly $70,000 higher than last year's, with cuts of $24,000 in general government expenditures for things such as conference attendance, purchase of office furniture and use of outside contractors. The current budget allows $511,000 in general government expenditures.

The sharpest spending increases outlined by Goldberg come in social programs, which include health care and shopping services for home-bound residents, recreation and parks. Anticipating higher costs, Goldberg allotted $30,000 for social services, up 71 percent from the $17,500 in current spending, and $243,000 for recreation and parks, a 46 percent jump from the current $166,000 outlay. The parks spending hike is primarily targeted for a landscaping project at the Village Center, according to Village Manager Leslie Strathmann.

The council will hold hearings on the budget at 7:45 p.m. Feb. 11 and March 11 at the Village Community Center, 4433 S. Park Ave. At the March hearing, the council is scheduled to set the tax rate, Strathmann said. The rate must be submitted to the County Council for approval by June 1.

In other news, Friendship Heights this week delivered a letter to the Soviet embassy in Washington noting that the Village Council was "dismayed" to learn of the violent Soviet attack in Lithuania last weekend.

In the letter, the village said such violence was not fitting for the "country of Glasnost of Perestroika whose leader was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."

Along with the letter, Friendship Heights sent the embassy a copy of a Village Council resolution passed in May recognizing Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as independent nations.


Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge L. Leonard Ruben this week barred Rockville officials from killing two Rottweilers involved in a Sept. 15 attack on a Rockville woman.

Ruben ordered a hearing Feb. 25 on the city's plan to kill the dogs if their owners, Paul and Hagit Levin, fail to pay kennel fees of $1,000 for boarding the dogs. The dogs were seized by the city and have been held in undisclosed kennels while their fate is determined.

Rockville enacted a new animal control law last month that allows city officals to assess dog owners for kennel fees.

The dogs, and a third Rottweiler, mauled Arlynn Joffe as she was walking with her young son in their North Farm neighborhood. The third dog died of natural causes in a kennel last month.


On Monday night, council members are scheduled to choose from among four city residents who have applied to fill the council vacancy created last month when Edward F. Sharp succeeded Stephen J. Del Giudice as mayor.

The candidates for the Ward 7 council seat are Carolyn Pion, who writes for "The Takoma Voice" and helped organize an extra gypsy moth spraying for the community; Kathy Porter, president of the South of Sligo Civic Association; Juan Torres, public works director for Cheverly and formerly Takoma Park's deputy director of public works, and Verne Wilson, who has served as a city election judge.

The meeting will begin at 8 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park.