From Harford County Councilman Mike Perrone Jr.:
Bill 15-022: Water & Sewer Rate Revisions
On October 13, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the County Council Chambers, a public hearing on Bill 15-022 will take place. Bill 15-022 would increase water & sewer rates in Harford County over a four-year period beginning in 2016 and ending in 2019.
To see the estimated impact on an average residential Water & Sewer bill, see the second page of the County Auditor’s Fiscal Note. The full text of the bill and the Auditor’s Fiscal Note can be read here.
Harford County’s Water and Sewer fund has been operating at a loss for many years, and eating into the Department’s fund balance. By law, the Water & Sewer fund is set up to be self -sufficient using revenue derived from service users (meaning that going to the County’s general fund for support is not an option). To me, the question was never whether or not a rate increase was needed; the question is a matter of how much. I have dug into the County’s audited financial statements going back to FY 2008 and I believe the financial picture painted by the consultants who were brought in to analyze our rate structure is an accurate reflection of reality. (The consultant’s presentation will be posted on the County website following the public hearing).
If you would like to speak at the public hearing, you can sign up here, or call the Council office at (410) 638-3343.
Faith Communities & Civic Agencies United Welcome One Emergency Shelter
The Welcome One Emergency Shelter is the only full-service emergency homeless shelter in Harford County. This night shelter is located in the Riverside Business Park in Belcamp and has 31 beds: 25 for men, 6 for women. Welcome One is operated by FCCAU (Faith Communities and Civic Agencies United), a charitable organization supported by a successful collaboration of churches, faithbased groups, local businesses, foundations and government agencies. The shelter provides and advocates for a continuum of services designed to reduce the incidence and burdens of homelessness in Harford County. Welcome One Homeless Services also operates a Transitional and Supportive Housing Program with three units in Bel Air and maintains a special fund to provide homeless individuals with emergency motel nights when beds are not available at Welcome One or other shelters in the county.
Welcome One helps neighbors in need answer the troubling question: If I became homeless and had no family, what would I do?
Upon referral to the shelter from the Harford Community Action Agency, the individual receives an orientation about how the shelter works, including an explanation of policies and procedures.
Next, they are assigned a bed and locker and given any needed clothing and toiletries. Soon thereafter the resident meets with the Case Manager to begin developing a personalized plan for becoming self sufficient, including any necessary referrals to health or substance abuse treatment.
FCCAU also operates Havens of Hope — three transitional and supportive housing units in Bel Air.
These homes help individuals who are ready to leave the structured environment of the shelter to take the next steps toward independence. Residents engage in job training, do volunteer work, go to school, maintain employment and pursue continuing steps toward self-sufficiency. They continue to receive case management, food, if needed, and encouragement in reaching their goals. Residents of these units may stay as long as 18 months to prepare for their final steps towards independence.
Unfortunately, the number of homeless people in Harford County exceeds the number of beds available. When a homeless person or family comes to our door and no bed is available at our shelter or another shelter suitable for their needs, FCCAU is able to refer them to a local motel in Aberdeen. This Emergency Motel Night Fund enables the homeless to be safe and warm/dry until they can be referred to a local shelter.
There are many ways your can help the County’s homeless. You can volunteer at the shelter, donate items from our “Wish List,” Adopt A Bed, or attend one of our fun fund-raising events, such as the Annual Bowl-A-Thon. You can volunteer to mentor a resident, donate to underwrite their expenses, donate food for their pantries, or support the fund-raising events which help maintain the units. To help with the cost of the Emergency Motel Night Fund, you can donate to the fund. A $50 donation will provide one night of dry, safe shelter for an individual, couple or family.
For more information please visit the Welcome One Shelter Website.