From Harford Councilman Mike Perrone, Jr.:
On January 20, the County Council voted to pass a hotel tax of 6% here in Harford County. I voted against the tax for a number of reasons. First, I didn’t think a new tax would be appropriate when we have not yet been through a full year’s cycle of expense review. Second, there was nothing in the bill addressing or exempting those Harford County residents who are living in our motels. Third, I didn’t think creating a dedicated revenue stream to fund tourism was appropriate given there are so many other needs for county funding which need to compete with one another for general fund money. Fourth, I did not like the inequity which arose from allowing municipal governments to keep a portion of the tax revenue raised within their borders while unincorporated communities have no ability to receive or administer their own revenue.
Last but not least, I believe Harford County hotels had a competitive advantage over Baltimore County (and to a lesser extent, Cecil County) hotels. Baltimore County has an 8% hotel tax. Given how easy it is to get prices and book hotel rooms online now, someone travelling down I-95 and looking to spend the night now would have had a good reason to stay here in Harford County instead of Baltimore County. The same holds true for contractors I think. Not everyone staying in Harford County for business is doing business with APG, and I’m sure there are plenty of longer term business travelers who have historically chosen Harford County over Baltimore County for our hotel tax-free lodging.
Digging out from Debt
Hi everyone! As I mentioned in my introduction in the last newsletter, I am passionate about helping others to get out of debt. I find debt of all kinds to cripple individuals and families. When a large chunk of your income is paying off debt, your ability to have options and makes different choices is limited. Are you able to purchase your dream house or car or are you limited in what you can afford to pay because you have too much existing debt?
The first thing anyone needs to do is get a handle on is where the money is going. The only way to do this is to track the spending. I know, not a fun thing to do, but it can be very eye opening when you realize the daily drive–thru run is costing your family $150.00 a month. Think of what else you could so with that money!
This month’s homework assignment is to track your spending for the month. Yes EVERY single dollar and cent. Get one of the little 50 cent spiral notebooks and find a pen hanging out in your junk drawer or purse. Every time you spend money, write down the date, what you purchased and the cost. Track all of your outgo, rent/mortgage, insurance, gas, groceries, and even the quick stops into the gas station for those candy bars. Write down everything! Have everyone in the house participate in this exercise to get the best picture of where the money goes.
At the end of the month, add up all the money spent. You should be able to track how the money for the month was spent and put it into a category such as gas, insurance, etc. Do not be judgmental or harsh on yourself or any member of your family, this is an exercise to become aware of your spending habits. Once you know better, you can do better.
Next month we will take the information from this exercise and come up with the dreaded budget. I actually prefer to call it a spending plan, because you are deciding how you are going to spend your money. It should be freeing, not confining to decide how you use your money.
Edgewood American Legion’s Long Winter’s Nightmare
Think back to February 10, 2010. Do you remember what you were doing? I bet you do, if you were not shoveling snow, you weren’t going anywhere. The Baltimore area was buried under two feet of snow. Two days later we were received under another two feet of the white stuff. Snowmeggedon, Snowpocalypse, Snowzilla all names which were applied to this double whammy of snow storms. The storms left behind fun for the kids, but major headaches for the adults. One of which is still being felt in the Edgewood Area.
The weight of the heavy snow of caused the roof of the Edgewood American Legion Post 17 to collapse. The damage left the building unsafe and required it to be torn down and rebuilt. American Legion Post 17 has had many challenges getting this feat accomplished. First they had to sue their insurance company. In December of 2009, the Post had updated their insurance policy, but the agent did not provide the total coverage the Legion had asked to be provided, so they were under insured for the building’s damage. The Legion won the lawsuit and was given a financial award.
Once they had this award, the Legion began a search for a contractor, choosing a Baltimore county architect and contractor company to tear down the existing lodge and rebuild the new one which would fit within their budget. In order to remain within their budget, the Legion chose to build a slightly smaller building. A benefit of this design change allowed them to forgo having to install sprinklers in the building, provided the correct building materials would be used in construction.
Work began on the project in March 2010 when the banquet hall portion of the old building was demolished. Work stopped until November 2010 when the contractor was chosen and the rest of the building was torn down. Construction began on the new building and was proceeding well until January 2011, when Harford County had an ice storm. The ice caused the new building’s trusses to collapse. The contractor filed a claim with his insurance company for payment to replace the trusses. It was approved, the damage was cleared and building resumed. Within a month, a wind storm caused the trusses to collapse again. The contractor once again replaced them.
Shortly after the second collapse the contractor came to the American Legion and informed them Harford County was now requiring them to have sprinklers in the building and it was going to cost an additional $164,000. The Legion was able to cover this cost through down grading of interior design, donations and fundraising efforts. At this time, the Legion was also having problems having the insurance company releasing funds to pay the contractor. The contractor told the American Legion he was going to issue a Stop Work Order to force the insurance company to release the money, but he was still going to work and complete the project. At that point the contractor walked off the job and has not returned. When the American Legion had the County Inspectors come out to inspect the contractor’s work, it was determined most of the interior plumbing was not up to code and needed to be redone. In addition the kitchen needed to have different type of walls, ceilings and lights installed since it was a food preparation area. The Legion also needed to change the incoming water paper pipe size to allow for the sprinkler system to have the correct amount of water available to function.
The American Legion sued the builder to recover the money spent so they could have their building finished. However, when the judgment came down against the builder, the company filed for bankruptcy and the financial award has not been collected. During the discovery process for the lawsuit, the Legion found out the contractor had gone to Harford County and said the Legion wanted the sprinklers, when it was not the case. The special construction materials to allow the building to not need a sprinkler had been improperly stored and damaged by the weather. Rather than replace the materials himself he chose to add the sprinklers without the Legion’s consent.
All of this has left the Edgewood American Legion without a usable space to hold their meetings, or a place where they can serve their members and the community. The American Legion provides services for veterans, provides scholarships for our local high school and college students and provides services to homeless veterans.
According to Mary McCann, the Post’s Adjunct, the building is 90 percent complete, and they have the supplies necessary to do the required work. They just need the funds to complete it. The Legion has brought in several contractors to provide estimates to complete the building. The average amount needed to perform this rehab is $300,000.
The organization’s by-laws do not allow it to take out a loan for the completion of the building. The Legion needs to show they can repay the loan, but they do not have a building open to generate income to pay back the loan. The Legion has been holding fundraisers, but the amounts brought in only have been covering monthly expenses of doing business, basically the building insurance and utilities. American Legion Post 17 has been closed for five years, they want to have their building open and be able to serve their community. If they are not able to open this year, they are at risk for losing their property on Edgewood Road. The Legion is currently in the process of applying for grants, but the Legion needs funds
now to begin the work to get the building completed. If you are inclined to donate, please contact Ms. Mary McCann at MaryMcCann400@gmail.com .
How to contact the District A Office
1) By Phone.
My office phone number is 410-638-3521. My cell phone number is 443-752-2598. If I am not available, Donna Blasdell is available to take your call and assist you. Her phone number is 410-638-4109 x 1813.
The primary email: DistrictA@HarfordCountyCouncil.com This is the email both Donna and myself are able to access. This ensures we can respond to you quickly.
My email is: MPerrone@HarfordCountyCouncil.com
Donna’s email is: DBlasdell@HarfordCountyCouncil.com
3) In Person.
Joppatowne Flea Market at 1000 Joppa Farm Road. My table will set up on the second Sunday of the month from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm. Drop by the Flea Market to shop and discuss any concerns you may have.
Council Meetings are held the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at 7:00 PM in the Harford County Council Chambers located at 212 Bond Street, Bel Air, MD 21014
Around the District Happenings
Harford County Schools
3 hour early dismissal elementary schools 2/13/2015
Schools Closed 02/16/2015
Joppatowne Community Council Meeting
Southern District Police Station
February 2, 2015 7PM
Edgewood Community Council Meeting
Southern District Police Station
February 11, 2015 7PM
Anita C. Leight Estuary Center
Wait – Am I Drowning?
02/01/2015 1:00 pm-2:30 pm
How do wetland plant roots stay submerged in the water and mud? Can they breathe? Find out this and more as we explore the lives of cattail and phragmites. Use a reed pen to make an ink drawing as a memento.
Critter Dinner Time
02/07/2015 10:30 am-11:00 am
Watch our turtles, amphibians, and snakes eat as you learn about these fascinating creatures.
02/08/2015 1:00 pm-1:30 pm
Story time with a natural twist! Come listen to some stories, learn new songs and move like the animals.
02/05/2015 6:30-7:30 pm
Middle School Party Games
02/06/2015 6:00-9:00 pm
Scholarship Application Writing Workshop 02/03/2015 5:30-7:30 pm
Hearts & Crafts
02/09/2015 6:30-7:30 pm
Friends Book Sale
Get Ready for Valentine’s Day
02/10/2015 4:30-6:30 pm
Warm Up with a pair of Mittens
(learn to knit)
02/12/2015 6:30-8:30 pm
Southern Harford Rotary Club
Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders united to provide humanitarian service, to encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to help build goodwill and peace in the world. Rotary club membership represents a cross-section of the community’s business and professional men and women. Rotary clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical and nonreligious. The main objective of Rotary is service – in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects which address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and provide vocational and career development. The Rotary motto is: Service Above Self
. Although Rotary clubs develop autonomous service programs, all Rotarians worldwide are united in a campaign for the global eradication of polio. In the 1980’s, Rotarians raised $240 million to immunize the children of the world; by 2005, Rotary’s 100th year, the PolioPlus program had contributed $500 million to this cause. In addition, Rotary has provided an army of volunteers to promote and assist at national immunization days in polio-endemic countries around the world. Southern Harford Rotary Club (SHRC) was chartered January 2008, in the Joppa, Edgewood, Belcamp and lower Abingdon areas. It is the fourth Rotary club in Harford County.
Their vision is to assure children of Southern Harford County are secure, protected, thriving, valued, and nurtured.
Their mission is to assist the children in Southern Harford County, as a group or through their families, to reach their maximum potential.
Each year the SHRC give scholarships to students graduating from Edgewood and Joppatowne High Schools. Scholarships are also given yearly to the SAGE (Sharon Ann Grose Educational) Group to help at-risk students in Harford County Public Schools’
Reconnecting Youth Program.
These scholarships are provided to students living in the Edgewood/Joppa area to help them realize their dreams of furthering their post-secondary education. SHRC sponsors Harford County’s only Eagle Scout Honor Guard. They also give dictionaries every year to third graders in each of the 9 schools in their service area and participate in Operation Warm Coat for children who need a coat for the winter.
If you are interested in learning more about their club please contact here.