Councilman says Rural Plan is flawedFrom: Robert S...


September 27, 1992

Councilman says Rural Plan is flawed

From: Robert S. Wagner

Councilman, Dist. E

Harford County Bill 92-70, titled "Rural Plan," does not glitter as brightly when looked at with a sense of reality.

The Rural Plan does far more to preserve open space than being genuinely concerned with preservation of farmland.

In fact, this is probably the first of many flaws. Being a farmer, I know that the only thing that will preserve farmland is the ability of a farmer to make a living. Harford cannot influence world-wide economics enough to adjust grain prices, cattle prices and milk prices upward. We, as farmers, are receiving 1960s prices for our grain and commodities while paying 1992 prices for machinery and taxes.

All farmers have a love for what they do; they have a greater sense of pride in their farms. In fact, the majority have to have some form of secondary income in order to keep the farm alive and pay all the bills.

Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) and Transferable Development Rights (TDR) are supposed to be two very attractive parts of the Rural Plan. Harford County will never be able to afford, nor offer a "fair" value for development rights, based on what development potential may yield.

TDR's have even more problems. In order to make TDR's work, there must be a "sending area" and a "receiving area." Communities being what they are, I can think of no area in Harford County that could be arranged as a receiving area. Additionally, a developer has a set formula or equation he uses. Hypothetically, if a development right cost $10,000 and the developer cannot go over $30,000 per acre total, he will adjust the offering price of the raw land downward to offset the price of the development right. This could damage severely the land values of many county farms.

The majority of large farm tracts have been in the same families for many years. Farmers' hard work has gone into the equity of these farms. Many of the owners are entering their senior years. The children have farmed with the senior members of the family. If the development rights are sold, if the senior members get ill or pass away and the children no longer wish to farm or have the need to sell the farm because of inheritance taxes, who will want a large tract of land with no development rights?

Don't misunderstand, I am not opposed to preserving the rural nature of Harford County. I am opposed to rushing into a situation that we have not thought through.

Bill 92-70 is the foundation on which we will build legislation. As with any structure, the foundation must be perfect in order for the structure to be correct. Let's get all the bugs out of this foundation.

If a farmer has a means of making a living, he will continue to farm. It's when farmers can no longer afford farm living that they make the painful decision to give up.

Harford County has already implemented recycling and tree bills that have tremendous effects on many, and some flaws that I am not proud of. Let's not make the Rural Plan another flawed bill.

Urge senators to back Social Security bill

Fred C. Lange


As a senior citizen on a fixed income, I am greatly interested in the continued health of the Social Security Trust Fund. You might think that the word "Trust" in the fund name might have some significance. It doesn't, there isn't any.

I was shocked to learn that the large surplus in this fund has motivated the spenders in Congress, to "borrow" money to pay for many of their pet "pork" projects.

Of course, they promise to pay it back when it is needed.

You want to bet that they will keep their promise? I sure don't, but there is help in sight.

Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan, D-N.Y., has introduced bills SB 11 and SB 33 that would remove the Social Security fund from congressional game-playing by making it an independent agency along with a non-partisan advisory board.

It's about time Congress gets its hands off our money.

If you agree, write your senators, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski, urge their support of Senate Bills 11 and 33.

?3 Never let them forget whose money it really is.

Clearing the air on Joppatowne center

From: Christopher Boardman


This is in response to Donna Woodfield's letter opposing the efforts of Joppatowne Community Center Inc. to acquire the Joppatowne Swim and Tennis Club property ["Purchase of pool is unfair to residents," Harford County Sun, Sept. 12]. Her objection is to the proposal to assess homes to finance acquisition of the property and construct a community center.

Our petition campaign seeks to identify homeowners who would be interested in having an assessment as the primary instrument of finance for this project.

Our thinking is that we must act together as a community, with each home bearing a small share of the burden, rather than hope for some financial "angel" to come out of thin air.

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