Council rejects tipping fee increase

HARFORD DIGEST

May 11, 2008

The Harford County Council has denied a request for a $10 increase in the tipping fee that haulers pay to dispose of trash at the county landfill and waste-to-energy plant.

By a 5-2 vote Tuesday, the council opted to keep the fee at $50 per ton. Public works officials estimated that the 20 percent increase would have generated an additional $1.6 million annually in revenues for the solid-waste fund.

"I guess we will have to find the money somewhere else in the budget," said Robert Cooper, county director of public works.

The county has undertaken a $3 million expansion of its landfill in Street and may triple the capacity of its waste-to-energy operation with the construction of $350 million plant. Tipping fees will help pay for both projects.

Councilman Chad Shrodes said he could not support any increased costs for taxpayers in the current economy.

"This is just another tax in disguise," Shrodes said. "It is too much to pass on, and haulers will pass it on to residents and community associations."

Free advice on helmet safety

Parents who want to be sure that their bike helmets or their children's helmets fit properly can come to a Harford County library this month to visit with safety experts who will offer free tips for a secure fit and answer questions about the Maryland Bicycle Helmet Law.

All ages are welcome.

The schedule of safety programs, all from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., is: tomorrow at Aberdeen, Abingdon, Bel Air, Edgewood, Fallston and Joppa branches; Wednesday, Bel Air and Joppa; May 21, Aberdeen and Abingdon; and May 28, Edgewood and Fallston.

This activity is part of Harford County's celebration of Clean Commute and Bicycle Safety Month.

Information: 410-638-3258.

Ryan Road span scheduled to close

The Harford County Department of Public Works has announced that Ryan Road Bridge over Bread and Cheese Branch will be closed to all through traffic on or about tomorrow.

The bridge will remain closed for approximately seven months while it is being replaced.

Motorists should find an alternative route if they routinely travel Ryan Road.

Information: 410-638-3561.

Two sessions on Hatem Bridge plan

The Maryland Transportation Authority will hold two public meetings on the Hatem Bridge Preservation Project from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Meadowvale Elementary School gym, 910 Graceview Drive, Havre de Grace.

The meetings will feature displays and materials about the project schedule, traffic impacts, alternate routes, safety information and staying informed about progress.

The project involves replacing the bridge deck, concrete piers repairs, and installation of a new permanent concrete barrier in the center of the bridge.

During construction, one lane will remain open in each direction on the U.S. 40 span between Havre de Grace and Perryville, except during delivery of construction materials. Permanent lane closures will begin about June 9 and continue for approximately three years.

Information: 888-638-2411.

Plans unveiled for park/library complex

Harford County Executive David R. Craig recently announced plans for a new public library and parks and recreation gymnasium project for the Churchville community.

The proposed fiscal year 2009 budget includes $5,584,500 for design and construction funding for the library, which will be a "green" or environmentally friendly building."

The facility will also house the county's first Science Learning Center in a public library. This initiative is a partnership between Harford County, Battelle and the Maryland Science Center to provide science-related materials for use by students from third grade through middle school.

The library also will be part of a larger complex shared with the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The proposed funding includes $4.2 million for engineering and construction of the parks and recreation portion of the complex, which will include community meeting space and additional recreation space.

The total projected cost for the entire project is $12.9 million.

The new facility is scheduled to open in July 2010.

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