25 Years Ago: County holds line on property tax rate increase

$2.73 will remain unchanged for third year in a row

May 27, 2011

For the third year in a row, Harford County's tax rate would remain at $2.73 per $100 of assessed value for the next fiscal year.

From The Aegis of May 29, 1986

For the third year in a row, Harford County's tax rate would remain at $2.73 per $100 of assessed value for the next fiscal year.

The Harford County Council had finished its review of the FY1986-1987 budget, called the "tamest" in 13 years, and approved the $108 million budget, 7 percent higher than the previous year.

Property tax revenues were expected to be up about 4 percent because of an increase in assessment values.

More than 50 percent of the budget was going to education, with general government (12.5 percent), highways (11.5 percent) and police and fire (10.7 percent), making up the bulk of the rest of it.

While the county's tax rate was staying put, commissioners in Bel Air were looking to raise the tax rate 4 cents, from $1 to $1.04 per $100 of assessed value.

Two cents of the increase — about $28,000 — would be going to fund a detailed architectural study of a possible $750,000 addition to the town hall and public works buildings.

The remaining increase would help absorb a 40 percent increase in liability insurance, fund more police and public works personnel and pay for merit/longevity raises for the town's 75 employees.

The town administrator had proposed a 7-cent increase in the tax rate, but commissioners opted not to increase its contribution to the fire company and not giving the recreation committee the increase it requested, kept the rate increase to 4 cents.

Harford County joined the rest of the country 25 years ago in Hands Across America, an initiative to help the hungry and homeless. To bridge the mighty Susquehanna, participants standing and aboard boats held hands to form the chain.

Students and guests at John Carroll's graduation earlier in the day were also asked to join hands to recognize the nationwide event.

John Carroll's students were the first to graduate in 1986. In all, an estimated 2,200 seniors were expected to pick up their diplomas this year.

Getz jewelers in Harford Mall was offering graduation specials. "Congratulations to 1986 Graduates. A Bulova for Graduation… They've Earned It!" announced the ad, which offered a ladies diamond case for $144 and a men's Bulova Quartz for $120, from May 14 to June 14 only.

At their first Bel Air Community Leaders Luncheon for Leukemia, local business leaders raised $5,000 to fight the disease. More than 130 people attended the luncheon to benefit the Maryland Chapter of the Leukemia Society of America.

Hidden Valley was about to become not-so-hidden 25 years ago this week. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources bought the 150 acres northwest of Eden Mill 10 years earlier, but it was overgrown and had become home to four-wheeling races, squatters, campers and trash dumpers.

Ranger David Cooper, however, was making sure the land would open as a park. He applied for a $30,000 grant that would fund two crews, which would spend two weeks preparing the site.

"When the crews are finished, we hope that people who just want a quiet place to go and picnic, hike, fish or just sit and watch the creek flow by will have an area to do just that," Cooper said.

Sears Surplus Store in Bel Air Plaza Shopping Center was advertising half off junior shorts ($3 down from $6) or tops ($4 down from $8). A 40-drawer organizer was on sale fro $10, and sheets were on sale for $10 (twin), $17 (full), $22 (queen) and $28 (king).

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