Tax Time Draws Nigh

News in brief

August 11, 1991

Even if you haven't paid your Harford property taxes yet, you still have time to earn a 1 percent discount.

County Treasurer James M. Jewell said the discount, offered every year as an incentive to get property taxes paid early, is available through Aug. 31.

"September's what we call a break-even month, where you just pay the amount on your property tax bill," said Jewell. "But in October, if you haven't paid your property tax, it's considered delinquent andthe interest fines start kicking in."

County residents pay a property tax of $2.73 per $100 of assessed value, but residents of Aberdeen, Havre de Grace and Bel Air pay county property taxes of $2.34 per$100 of assessed value.

Last year, Harford took in $66.4 million in property taxes. Jewell estimated that in the fiscal year ending July 1, 1992, Harford will earn $72.1 million in property taxes.

County property owners who have questions about their property taxes should call the Department of the Treasury at 838-6000, Ext. 271.

POLLUTING FIRM FINED

The state Department of the Environment has levied a $4,250 fine against a Joppa sand and gravel mining company for polluting a Gunpowder River tributary.

Department administrators say that Harford Sands Inc. violated the state's limit on the pH, or acidity, levels of the effluent released from the company's Fort Hoyle Road site.

The state lists 17 violations for pollution between September 1990 and April 1991 in its departmental complaint filed July 8 against Harford Sands.

The firm has the option of paying the fine orrequesting an administrative hearing to contest the charges, the department said.

The company, which has mined and processed industrial sand and gravel on a 79-acre site for 49 years, has been charged for violating state discharge limits in 1986, 1987 and 1988.

Operated by Larry G. Stancill and his wife, Dorothy, Harford Sands is challenging a state order requiring the company to pay $16,500 in fines for25 violations the state contends occurred in 1988.

The dispute involves sediment runoff from the company's mining operation into an unnamed stream that flows into Reardon Inlet.

The inlet, which is onthe Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, feeds into the Gunpowder River. The Gunpowder flows into Chesapeake Bay.

HOOK-UPS' PRICE MAY RISE

County administrators are reassessing their methods for determining the cost to homeowners who request to be hooked up to the county's public water and sewer service.

Larry Klimovitz, director of administration, has proposed raising the cost of such projects to allow for unforeseen circumstances.

In a July 17 memo to Public Works Director Robert E. Williamson, Klimovitz said, "While I feel this may result in overestimating costs, I feel this is preferable to underestimating, with the resultant shock to homeowners."

The proposalcomes on the heels of a case in which county workers installing 800 feet of water pipe for nine homes on Old Joppa Road struck rock three-quarters of the way through the project.

The annual fee those homeowners would have had to pay over a 20-year period for the project would have doubled if county workers had blasted through the rock and laid the remaining 200 feet of water pipe. The homeowners asked the county to stop the project 200 feet short of its goal because they could not afford to pay double the estimate.

Klimovitz also suggestedthat DPW consider creating a fund to pay for soil borings and other research before launching special water and sewer projects. The cost of the borings and other tests could be repaid by homeowners as part of their annual assessments. County workers usually do a site inspection before beginning a job such as the one on Old Joppa Road but do not usually do soil borings or other tests, DPW administrators said.

KENWOOD ROADS REPAVED

The county has repaved roads in the Kenwood Farms development, following residents' petitions for repaving.

Thepaving of all the roads in the community was completed Thursday, said Bob Hockaday, director of governmental and community relations for the county.

The order in which roads were to be repaired was the subject of a petition signed by 27 Kenwood Farms residents, who complained that the Joppa community should have had its road paved before those of neighboring Green Spring Hills.

Kenwood Farms residents asked why Green Spring Hills roads were paved two months ago, although the two neighborhoods shared similar road conditions.

However, thecounty Department of Public Works had both communities on its priority list for road repair. The patch-work done last month at Kenwood Farms was in preparation for the repaving planned for this month.

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