From Harford County government:
We’ve come to the end of the year – another 12 months have passed quickly by and are now mere memories. But what a year 2011 was ~ a year to remember!
We started the year with the Cabinet and Administration working on New Year’s Eve and New Years Day faced with a problem of potential structural integrity of the county owned and occupied structure at 212 South Bond Street, commonly referred to as the “Black Box”.
Following several days of careful consideration the Cabinet and I made the decision to temporarily close the “Black Box” and relocate the County Council and county employees to other office spaces. This was by no means a small task. But in the end, as usual, county employees rose to the challenge, packed their offices and were relocated in a very order and timely manner.
Next came the budget. Another lean year of revenues and subsequent “belt tightening” for all departments of government, including the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Board of Education, and the Library. Unfortunately, this meant another year without a pay raise for our hard working employees to help off-set cost of living increases.
Once again however, county employees stepped up to the plate and met this challenge, while continuing to provide quality services to the citizens we all serve.
But wait ~ there’s more.
Who could forget winter and snow, more snow and still more snow and ice. Yes, county employees were faced with the daunting task of working round the clock to keep roads open and return the county to a state of normalcy so business and routine daily activities could resume. Once more our county workforce proved they were up to the test.
In June Harford County Government received good news from New York that due to the hard work of the Office of Economic Development, the Department of Treasury, the Office of Budget and Management Research, and others within the Administration, we received a AAA bond rating which ultimately means saving millions of taxpayers’ dollars when we go to the bond market for our capital projects. As a result of conservative fiscal management, as well as strong, effective and efficient management practices,Harford County received the highest bond rating possible. While the State of Maryland and some other counties were in relatively poor fiscal condition, Harford County capitalized on our economic strength!
With summer came intense heat and with the heat, unsettled weather patterns. Within a three week period Harford County was shaken by an earthquake which originated more than 100 miles from us, as well as Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
The Division of Emergency Operations, local and state law enforcement as well as our volunteer fire and EMS units and the Department of Public Works were inundated with calls for service. Nonetheless, our outstanding team of professionals was well prepared for the challenge.
In mid-September one of the most important event of the past 25 years for Harford County occurred when BRAC was finally fully implemented. With BRAC thousands of new jobs came to the Aberdeen Proving Ground as well as dozens of new contractors working with our federal partners at APG. The final implementation of BRAC, something we have been working hard to achieve for the past six years, will prove to be a major boost for the economy of Harford County and the region. APG which has been a strong economic engine for many years just got stronger.
There are many more events which I could write about, but these are some of the most notable during the past year. Each event made its mark on Harford County and Harford County Government. Through it all, county employees demonstrated time after time that they are second to none.
This holiday season as my wife Melinda and I take time to pause with our family and friends to enjoy the peace and joy of the season, I will give thanks for the employees of Harford County who do their jobs without much fanfare, but are always there for our citizens. They are the best!
May you find peace and joy this Christmas and health and happiness in the New Year too!
David R. Craig
Harford County Executive