From Harford County Councilman Mike Perrone:
This week I introduced an amendment to the County Executive’s proposed budget to remove and hold on to for now the $24 million that he has proposed for agricultural preservation easements.
I’ve seen social media posts and comments over the past few days in regard to the idea that agricultural preservation payments represent transfers of wealth to wealthy landowners. I disagree with that. To be for example a dairy farmer who has mortgaged their land to the maximum extent because large scale milk producers have driven the price point to a level where cash flow is negative and their only option is to borrow in the hope that the price of milk will someday rebound… this doesn’t fit the definition of “wealthy”. I understand that they are struggling. But others are struggling too.
To understand where Harford County’s agricultural preservation efforts stand today, we need to understand how we got here. When the County began this program in 1992, the goal for preserved acreage was 50,000. We’ve met this goal. The easements that protect the 51,000 or so acres in preservation from development are permanent, so if the County suspends or terminates this program moving forward, those 51,000 acres will remain protected.
My reasoning for trying to remove agricultural preservation appropriations from the FY 2019 budget has more to do with spending priorities and public safety in particular, but the topic of preserving open space has come up in many conversations that I’ve had since I introduced the budget amendment, so I want to share my thoughts there too.
The difference between open space that is privately versus publicly owned is huge. When we look at Harford County’s development envelope and look for active open space in particular, we don’t see much beyond what is on school property, though there are still large tracts of land left within the development envelope that could be used for active open space. The land between Magnolia Road and Trimble Road in Joppa and the land south of Plumtree Road between Routes 24 and 924 in Bel Air come to mind because of the development pressure that those parcels have been under in recent years, but there are plenty of other areas too between Edgewood and Havre de Grace. If County Government can see the value in preserving privately owned open space outside of the development envelope, why does County Government make no effort to secure publicly owned open space within the envelope?
My main point though is that we desperately need to save this $24 million to be spent elsewhere. Public safety comes to mind first. Our Volunteer Fire Companies have been on starvation budgets for the last decade, and our EMS system is a patchwork of paid crews (who earn less than in other jurisdictions) and ever shrinking volunteer crews. The EMS Foundation that employs the paid crews recently cut out a day crew that they could no longer afford to pay. How can we accept this? The cost increases that our Fire Companies and Foundation face are real and easy to verify. What are we going to do about it?
People came out in full force to the Council’s last public hearing to oppose my amendment, while only one speaker was somewhat supportive of. I believe the turnout would have been more balanced if the tax increases that will soon be proposed to support things like a County run EMS system and more School Resource Officers were on the table today. Make no mistake – those tax increases are coming. And when we get there, future elected officials will say things like “we don’t know where to cut from” and “we don’t have a choice”. I’m saying today that we DO have a choice. It might not be an easy choice, but it is the job of elected officials to make difficult choices.
Back to the idea of helping people who are struggling. $24 million works out to about $240 per household in Harford County. It doesn’t matter that the real estate transfer tax is only levied when a property changes hands… it is still a tax that is paid by homeowners in Harford County. And there are plenty of people who are made to pay that tax who are struggling too. How can you go to one group of struggling people and tell them they have to pay up to support other struggling people?
I know that politics in modern day America revolve around divisiveness and lack of willingness to compromise. I do not want to contribute to that divisiveness, but when County Government sends a loud and clear message through its budget that agricultural preservation efforts (beyond our original goal) are more important than public safety, someone needs to call that out. And when County Government continues to invest in private open space in rural communities while ignoring the need for public open space in our more densely populated communities, someone needs to call that out too.
And this proposal just costs Perrone & Scarborough a ton of votes! Most of Harford County wants to stay rural and protect our farmers. Our North Harford families better educate themselves before voting in June and when they do, Scarborough will be done!
Profitable Farms says
Nope I’ll be voting for Perrone and encouraging my friends to vote for Jerry. The best way to protect farms isn’t giving them taxpayer money, its making farming profitable.
Ask the farmers in the North Harford area if they are getting rich off this program. Our district is one of the few left where we have the hard working farmers which do help bring revue to the area. We are nationally recognized and applauded for maintaining this Ag Preservation Program.
If we are so worried about revue, thee are so many other places to cut. How about fill all of the exsisting abandoned stores and homes around the county,
I have read many posts the past few days and the majority of people, especially in the NH area, support this program and will be voting in June to say so.
Deer God says
Abandoned stores and homes? Where do you live Detroit?
Just one example, have you been to Bel Air lately? Check out Harford Mall, Festival, the shopping center where HHGregg just left and soon Toys R Us. Starting looking around and you’ll find tons of closed up places. No need to build more.
Deer God says
Clearly you have no clue how retail leases work. Now where are all these abandoned homes?
John _P. Mallamo says
Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms, Justalilfeisty,
The reality is that Harford County Agricultural Preservation program is absolutely dependent on more growth and development. It would be very interesting to present how much funding is allocated to agricultural preservation in election years and how much in the intervening years.
If you really want a clue on how agriculture is viewed in Harford County, go to the Greater Harford Committee web site. Read their comments on the Harford County Next land use Master Plan. Pay particular attention to the comments on agriculture. Then check the photo gallery. Sadly, they present the vision for Harford County’s agricultural heritage. Ask yourself who County Executive Barry Glassman and every member of the Harford County Council listens to more, you, or them. I am betting on them.
We need to preserve more land for airports.
How is it the Amish seem to be able to run profitable farms and the rest can not?
william j says
Because the Amish grow food people actually eat. What is called farm in harford county is either someone who plants 20000 acres of soybeans that get shipped to China or 30 acres devoted to some rich aholes daughters teenage horse infatuation.
The Amish are true farmers.
Don’t buy tractors, cars, cell phones, tv’s, have AC in your home, and make all clothes by hand. Now you are able to have a working farm that the profitable.
“Most of Harford County wants to stay rural” Just because you drive past a corn field on the way to the mall does not make the county rural. If you want rural in Maryland head west or maybe the lower eastern shore but please Harford county lost any resemblance of rural 50 years ago.
County Asshole says
Not sure how many more years we’re going to have 2nd/3rd/4th due Fire Companies driving halfway across the county to respond to a car wreck or splash water on a fire?
Less and less people have time to volunteer to meet any obligations but I bet there would be a huge applicant pool to select for a “career” service.
It’s even worse when an Ambulance shows up “driver only.” LOL why even bring the fucking ambulance if you can’t do anything?
But the county just bought 2 new ambulances with 24 7 crews and pay to store them at Forest Hill airpark because all the other ambulances are always busy.
County Asshole says
I’m not sure if that’s the (only) reason. I have yet to personally see a “Harford County Emergency Operations” Ambulance going “woo woo woo woo” anywhere in the area of I95 corridor.
I imagine they can “surge” (as the news articles kept calling them) when the busier I95 corridor has a lot of calls.
I understand there are fire departments that have multiple crewed “advanced life support” units in station and ready to go on a “call” but why are ambulances leaving a firehouse with driver only?
Go to broadcastify and listen for “driver only” and 1
“10-99 a crew”
Profitable Farms says
Profitable Farms is the way to save Farms
There are a few very vocal, passionate, organized people who want, at the expense of taxpayer money, preserve farmland. They offer us one-dimensional thinking that offers us only one solution to preserving farmland, 24 million of your dollars.
Capitalism dictates the best way to create more farmland is for farms to be profitable. Maybe if we fought Federal Crop Pricing and regulations, the same way people are fighting for preservation dollars, farms could make money.
As a Harford County taxpayer and resident, I am very pleased the issue of wasteful government spending was brought up in a primary season because its the only time of year most politicians will talk about spending.
The government has found many ways to preserve land other than giving people taxpayer money. Today we have a Parks and Rec department that maintains 100’s of soccer fields, baseball fields, and football fields that will never be developed. We have schools with acres of maintained school grounds that will never be developed. We have giant wooded state parks and land’s that will never be developed.
I will be casting my vote for Mike Perrone because he is an advocate for the taxpayer, he has never supported using taxpayer money to purchase building rights from residents.
I am totally against this Perrone proposal. We need to preserve land from development. If public safety is underfunded, allocate more money to it.
“We need to preserve land from development”
It is ugly. Our county has gone from a beautiful place to a busy, rude, parking lot and housing.
No wonder Harford Mall struggles. It is not a fun place to go anymore.
Empty stores abound. Signs from closed shops stay for years.
While I know many fine people in Harford County,and don’t really blame the people who bought the houses, I am sad about the state of the county.
I was born and raised in Harford County, but have joined the Exodus to Cecil,where life still moves at a slower pace.
It reminds me a lot of the Harford County I knew and loved.
My adult children have chosen not to move back to Harford County either.
It is sad. My family has lived there since the 1920’s. My family grew up volunteering in the fire department, and still does. Working at APG and other local jobs.
Thanks for sharing but unless we start knocking down houses and shipping undesirables out of the county things are not going to go backwards to the Cecil county level.
So your argument to stop development is invalid.
It took me 4 years to figure out I needed to leave Harford County! Easy way to stop development. Close APG and all the scientists and engineers will move out and let everyone in Harford County to work for CVS. Of course no employer in Harford County can attract talented staff because its Harford County. Its time to step up Harford County if you want good paying jobs.
This is a reasonable and thoughtful augment, Mr. Perrone. Will it hurt him in elections? not in Joppatown. A some point we have to come to the realization that the development is here. Any development in northern part of the county will be big lots with big houses, not Box Hill (no sewer system). Meanwhile we are not expanding some of the services as quick as the growth. EMT, roads (Rt 24 should be four or five lanes from Bypass to Rt 23, Rt 22 should be two lanes at least to HCC) and public lands are not bad use of funds.
John P. Mallamo says
Mr., Mrs, Miss, Ms Harford Old Timer
Please read Bill 17-003 to verify that all houses in your area will be built on large lots. Seems Councilman Shrodes, the Bills sponsor, reduced,significantly,the size of the lot for septic reserve. Looks a lot like the lots in Box Hill.
John P. Mallamo
ForestHill Resident says
Chads not against more houses just look at 2226 Rockspring in Forest Hill. More houses (people) less business’s (services)
I think Perrone already hurt himself in Joppatowne with his involvement with allowing a Muslim only community.
Mike Perrone Jr. says
No, I think most people in Joppatowne realize I was just standing up for the property rights that every American enjoys.
This jtowne resident does. In fact I need to send Mike a check!
Easy to say when you take a check from the builder of that community
follow the money says
I would be all for preserving agriculture if in fact that’s what we were actually doing. If one person can explain how this will help someone who wants to become a farmer tomorrow, fulfill their dream and not have to rely on inheritance or winning the lottery I’d be all in. But the fact is this is basically giving money to people who are already rich land owners with minimal restrictions. I dare and county council member to remove the allowance of developing lots for children. If we are going to hand out cash in the name of keeping things rural by no development well then grow a set of balls and demand no development. The taxpayers are getting screwed.
Vote all the bums out, except Mike.
follow the money says
Here is a fun little exercise I bought 50 Acres in 1995 for $275,000.It has 3 building rights which the county will give me $285,000 if I promise never to build on these 3 lots.I have 3 children I give each a 3 acre lot and they each build a house. We sell all 4 lots and houses and move to Florida.
How does this maintain the rural feeling?
And for extra points the main lot which went from 50 acres now down to 41 acres is bought by a family of 4. How many lots can they split off for the “children”?
Just makes you want to get chickens don’t it. Yeee Haaaa
Fed up resident says
All this Ag preservation program is doing is ensuring that northern Harford County does not turn into southern Harford County. This is what the current administration wants. They are not interested in saving farms – they are interested in preventing a change to their area. If there is development in northern Harford County then they can no longer put the stuff they don’t want up there down here in southern Harford. Wake up people – the current administration wants both parts of the county to fight so we will not see the truth. They have been neglecting Southern Harford County for years, it is time for a change
Jesse Banes Big Blue Balls says
I think we should put Jerry Scarborough in charge of animal control. Any objections?
That would be very scary with his past record with animals! That man doesn’t need to be in charge of anything having to do with animals or people with his history. Please don’t even suggest that! ?
The Law says
Scarborough is definitely unhinged. Hopefully he is not carrying and someone has taken his firearms.
Street Wise says
Have you met Scarborough? It’s laughable that he is running for any office. Can you say paranoia?
John P. Mallamo says
Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms, Street Wise
Have you listened to his opponent?
What is his voting record?
Before you start a proxy campaign, particularly one using/based on whispering, make sure you are able to defend your preferred candidate. Now, what are the issues that are important?
John P. Mallamo
Just the facts says
Personally if my neighbor constantly let their dogs loose on my property terrorizing my family and pets I’d have shot them. Those dogs died because of their owners
John _P. Mallamo says
Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms. Justalittlefiesty and Mr. Mrs. Miss, Ms. Jessebanesbigblueballs.
It is appropriate to consider the personal characteristics of the candidates for public office. It is also appropriate to carefully review the records of those candidates while in the elected offices they have held.
Thirty years ago, Barry Glassman was elected to the Harford County Council. While in that position he was involved in changing the Harford County Code to restrict rubblefills. Today, 30 years later, that rubblefill does not exist, to my knowledge, there is no rubblefill in Harford County, the majority of the solid waste generated in Harford County is sent to Baltimore County, and there is no plan to accommodate solid waste in the future. Additionally, there is a 45 million dollar judgment against the County for the Harford County Councils actions of 30 years ago. Perhaps the County Council of thirty years ago would have better served Harford County if they had more carefully considered the issues.
Ironically, in a recent development, Mr. Glassman and his administration have determined that a recycling operation, a recovery operation, an oil refinery, and a chemical processing plant all of which are permitted individually in the GI district, are now permitted in the CI district, where they are not permitted at all, when they are all combined.
Leading us to higher ground? Or the judas goat leading us off the cliff.
As to Mr. Shrodes, reviewing his record, is there any bill that you can point to which eased development requirements that he did not vote for. A brief rundown, Beechtree TIF –yes, James run TIF – yes, reduce the requirement to permit bump ups in housing density on land with sensitive areas – yes, remove restrictions on deforestation – yes, multistory CRC next to low density housing – yes, code change to allow expansion of the Harford County Airport – yes, and of course there is the wedding venue on Glenville road.
Now it would be quite helpful if you both would please stop your whispering campaign, have the courage to sign your posts with true identities, and join all of the other people who wish to make informed decisions on the best qualified candidate for office.
John P. Mallamo
follow the money says
Didn’t the rubble fill people want to settle for $12 million and now a jury of Harford county residents has that number up to $45 million?
Thanks Barry. heck of a job.
Joann Sprague-Heck says
You would know about a goat on the edge of a cliff.
Interesting proposal. I can see both sides of this issue.
On another note, who taught this Perrone fella how to write? That was a tough read.
Just wondering says
Is this an issue for the ballot? Is there middle ground? Perhaps, now that we have the original 50K we decide if we want to raise that threshold. After all, we are the ones paying it.
That is my thought as well. When the 50K was first suggested,the county was very different.
Why stop at 50K?
I Like It says
That is a great idea. Unfortunately putting something like this to referendum would take the decision out of the hands of the administration so it will never happen.
John P. Mallamo says
Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., I Like It,
Yes, it would be a capital idea to put a real agricultural preservation program on the referendum ballot. A program that used general fund dollars, supplemented with the special tax fund dollars, did not allow zoning changes that would encourage growth in the AG district, and that would treat agriculture like a business, eligible for economic development grants, for young farmers just starting out. Grants for equipment, not just land.
Sadly you are correct that it will not happen. The existing program is one of only 2 programs in the county that endemic to the old patronage system of politics. Funds from the motel tax for tourism being the other. As it is, Barry Glassman and those members of the County Council can tout their support for the agricultural preservation program and secure a block vote. Has any one of them run on their support for James Run TIF, Beechtree TIF, CCRC at Eva-Mar, or the varied bills to facilitate more growth and development, or the traffic congestion resulting from all of that growth and development.
Curious how all the land surrounding the Harford County Airport was included in the agricultural preservation this year. Preserving valuable agricultural land or necessary air space for the airport expansion, and future expansion.
John P. Mallamo
Street Boy says
Isn’t Jerry Scarborough that dumb ass that had his bullroast fundraiser in Baltimore County? He should stick to his specialty, shoveling shit.
I adore Councilman Beulah.
I did until he seconded that amendment last night…wrong move…LETS GO AMY!!!! JAHNIGEN FOR DISTRICT F!!!!!
John P. Mallamo says
Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., jahnigenFor”F”
About that motion to second Councilman Perrone’s amendment 16 to the budget. It was heavily scripted and choreographed. It did not rise to the level of a previous episode on climate change. Close though.
With that second, Councilman Perrone was able to articulate some well thought out points. His timing was off. This is an election year. None of his colleagues were going to upset the status quo and risk reelection. Agricultural preservation, is after all, a system of patronage, well entrenched, in Harford County, and a block vote is highly desirable in a local election where winning is decided by low margins.
The larger benefit of that motion was bestowed on Councilmen Shrodes and Vincenti. Both of them were able to slay the dragon (Perrone) save the village ( Ag preservation) ingratiate themselves to the villagers (farmers) and ride their white horses off to another episode.
Councilman Vincenti’s closing comments were interesting, and telling, as a preview to the next episode. Roughly quoting, “We need to get out of the way of projects that have been on the books for nearly thirty years and generate new revenue wherever we can.” Any resident in Harford County, concerned about the land use and development process of the Harford County model, should not take that comment lightly.
Residents who vote should check the voting records of all those running for election/ reelection, and pay particular to their votes on land use and development. Determine whether there was ever a project that they opposed. For those who want more government, consider that more revenue is required. Agriculture will not provide the extra revenue. That revenue will be generated by putting land to the highest and best use. Read the Greater Harford Committee comments on the Harford Next Plan for a better insight.
The councilmen voting against the Councilman Perorne’s amendment did raise their hands in opposition, shake their heads and move their lips no, but it is groups like the Greater Harford Committee that are pulling the strings.
Don’t get to close to the edge, and watch out for falling rocks on the path to higher ground.
John P. Mallamo
Sir…MADAM probably a Miss Malamo…when you speak about manual labor and the system of patronage my question for you is when have you actually gotten out from behind a computer and done some actual work…see when you are so busy at the County council meetings looking like a stooge and rambling on with your incoherent thoughts… the farming community is actually working and making a living, unlike you who is tip-taping away on their keyboard forming letters about how the overhead planes ruin the airspace above their piss poor rental home.
Perhaps your shallow and glass half empty lifestyle has left you with a negative outlook and you should be greatful to live in a county that preserves an agrarian lifestyle that our forefathers of liberty fought to PRESERVE…but on the contrary maybe you and the 40 year old virgin would rather spend your Tuesday nights complaining about how the world has done you so wrong…piece of advice here…look to the sky maybe through the planes and parachutes youll find salvation.
Be careful “higher ground” may cause your glass to be “half full”.
John P. Mallamo says
Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., HalfFullAintToobad
Let’s discuss your points. Leaving out the snarky parts.
1. As Councilman Perrone noted in his discussions on his amendment, there is $35M left in the Ag Preservation fund and it is accumulating at about $6M a year. As Mr. Amos stated, there are 20 more properties on the waiting list. Why weren’t those properties in the Ag preservation program this year, too? If the Ag preservation was real preservation program, it would be in the budget, using General fund dollars, perhaps supplemented with Transfer Tax dollars, and prioritized accordingly. As it is, it is used to buy votes. It has nothing to do with manual labor, or hard working people working on farms. It is solely used to buy votes. Study politics.
2. Our forefathers did not fight to preserve an agrarian lifestyle. During the revolutionary war our forefathers fought to relieve themselves of a tyrannical government and the oppressive governance supported it. They fought to save themselves from the taxes used to fund an army used to suppress them. Study History.
3. There is, finally, the airplanes and parachutes, ironic that you would bring that issue up along with your forefathers fight for their rights that are passed on to you. The airport is a case where a special interest group influenced the county to change the zoning code to allow them to operate their airport. The county acceded to that. The same special interest group then requested the county to allow them to operate their airport as a special exception. The county acceded to that. Now, it appears that both the county and the special interest group have realized that they cannot operate their airport and comply with the code they changed. Rather than respect the law, the airport continues to operate while disregarding the code, and the county does nothing other than ignore the situation. Too many ducks? Not today. Shed located in a sensitive area, no. If any other business or person was to operate in full disregard of the code, I would state with some certitude that they would be cited for violations. It is an inequitable application of the law. The circumstances of the situation are exactly why our forefathers fought for their individual rights. Study the Harford county code.
4. Today, Harford County is placed in a situation where multiple private residents and corporate entities are contesting the planning and zoning practices of Harford County. These are the cases,12C1800712, 12C17003127, 127C16003413, 1:17-cv-02812 and the grand daddy of them all 12C13000509 which is worth $45M. Additionally, there are currently two zoning cases before the board of Appeals. 5885 and 5886. I predict that both of those will be in court, regardless of who prevails. I have no doubt that there will be more. Each one of these cases is tied directly to Harford County Executive Glassman, and/or his administration. How many are enough? Study the judicial system
5. I do go to the council meetings every Tuesday. It is my firm belief that a population is not well served by a government they do not oversee. It takes more than just voting at elections to maintain the balance of government. In our democratic society, I should think that even more people would engage in the actions of the government. There are signs that that is exactly what is happening. Truthfully, that is what our forefathers envisioned when they established the government. It would be a shame to let the opportunity they provided slip away. Study civics
Last, “higher ground” is only concerned with filling their own glass. Do post on warrior. I am sure that your preferred candidate will appreciate your efforts as their records are presented.
John P. Mallamo