Four of the Baltimore area's new county executives and Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke today pledged to work together as "good neighbors" to make the region prosperous and continue to grow.
"We will sink or swim as a region," said Robert R. Neall, the new Anne Arundel County executive. "We have to create an identity for this region. That identity will surely help all of us."
The newly installed executives of Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard counties met with Schmoke at a breakfast sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Committee. The meeting, attended by about 400 people with varied business interests in the Baltimore area, was to "send a message" that county leaders are united in their efforts to address key issues throughout the entire metropolitan area, according to GBC President Robert Keller.
All of the county executives said they felt regional cooperation is not a luxury, but a necessity.
"People don't understand the relationship between the subdivisions," said Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann. "It's a community."
Rehrmann said that rail lines planned to link Cecil and Harford counties with the city, which are scheduled for construction starting in early May, will have a great impact on employment and education opportunities in all three regions. She also said that Harford County will soon have a higher education technology center that will be a boon to the area.
Schmoke, called the "patriarch" of the region's leaders after only three years in office, said a plan for a transportation system throughout the metropolitan area is essential for the area's vitality.
The mayor also urged the executives to support the Linowes committee plan, which recommends major tax increases and would raise about $800 million in 1992.
If the plan is passed, city schools would receive $83 million, while another $70 million would be placed in the city general fund.
"The city will benefit from the Linowes committee. It is vitally important to us," Schmoke said.