Columbia Budget Hearing

The Columbia Council will hold a public hearing Jan. 26 to gather comment on the Columbia Association's proposed $44 million budget for the fiscal year beginning May 1.

The hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will take place at Claret Hall in River Hill Village. If necessary, the public hearing will continue the following night at a Columbia Council meeting.

Those wishing to testify may sign up in advance by calling 410-715-3120. Residents can hear staff presentations on the budget draft at the council's meeting today, and they can obtain copies of the draft at the Columbia Association offices or at village community association offices.

The proposed budget holds the line on the property assessment rate at 73 cents per $100 of assessed property value, and it projects a surplus of $3.3 million by the end of the fiscal year. The board will approve the budget in late February.

Child-Care Information Fair

A free child-care and preschool information fair will be held 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 22 at the Columbia Hilton. The annual fair, "Children on Board," will offer parents, guardians, grandparents and child-care personnel information about child care and preschool programs.

Teachers and representatives from community service organizations will provide information to caregivers, and the free 2000 Early Childhood Education Guide will be distributed to all participants. The fair is sponsored by the Howard County Department of Citizen Services' Child Care Resource Center. For more information, call 410-313-1940 or 410-313-1943.

Brighton Dam Bridge Open

The two-lane Brighton Dam Bridge, closed since October 1998, has reopened.

The 55-year-old Howard-Montgomery link spanning the Patuxent River over Brighton Dam underwent an extensive rehabilitation. Up to 15,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily.

The adjoining counties paid 80 percent of the $2.5 million project with funds from the Federal Bridge Replacement Program; the counties, along with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, shared the remaining 20 percent.

Calendar With Winning Art

A 2000 calendar featuring artwork by Howard County public school students with the theme, "Move into the New Millennium with Fair Housing," is available for free from the Howard County Office of Human Rights.

The calendar features the 12 winning entries from the Human Rights Commission's Fair Housing Calendar poster contest held in April 1999. To obtain a calendar, call 410-313-6430, or mail the request to Y2K Calendar, Office of Human Rights, 6751 Columbia Gateway Dr., Suite 239, Columbia, Md. 21046.