25 years ago: Harford waiting on news of possible property tax rate increase

March 14, 2012

From The Aegis of March 19, 1987:

It was possible Harford County residents would be facing a property tax rate increase 25 years ago, but they were going to have to wait two more weeks to find out until Harford County Executive Habern Freeman released his proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

Freeman, who took office in 1982, raised the tax rate his first year in office, then left it the same in the following three at $2.73 per $100 of assessed value. With two weeks to go until his budget for FY 1987-1988 was due to the Harford County Council April 1, Freeman said he was still unsure as to whether he would be seeking an increase.

"We've used a lot of models, and several of them haven't worked," he said.

Also this week 25 years ago, Bruce Hegstad, chairman of Upper Chesapeake Health System's board of directors, was planning to step down. While the president and CEO of Upper Chesapeake Hegstad said he had increasing commitments to his private business, others close to the hospital system said Hegstad was being pushed to step down because of internal dissatisfaction with how Upper Chesapeake's acquisition of Fallston General Hospital was handled. That deal had been orchestrated by Hegstad.

"Unfortunately, others have had to come in and try to straighten things out after the fact," one person said.

They may not have been reading it, but a Reader's Digest found in the car of the two Maryland State Police troopers – TFC John Sawa and TFC Larry Small - who were killed by a tractor featured an article about "Killer Trucks." "With appalling disregard for safety standards, an increasing number of wildcat truck drivers are terrorizing America's highways," the front page pullout said.

The magazine was found in the troopers' patrol vehicle as it was being taken from the Maryland State Highway Administration's post on Belcamp Road.

"I just can't believe they had this article in their car and were killed by a tractor trailer" a 14-year SHA employee said.

Ten John Carroll students were getting ready to leave for a three-week exchange program in the Soviet Union. Taking the trip with teacher Ed Miller were Paige Petr, Dustin Pons, Tad Klopcic, Jennifer Cashour, Kristin Hastings, Steve Klopcic, Lisa Minderlein, Scott Christman and Jim Horton.

Crime in the town of Bel Air was up 56 percent in 1986 over a year before, and most of it was being committed by out-of-towners. Aggravated assaults were up by 58 percent, while other serious crimes (murder, rape, robbery, etc.) were up by 69.7 percent compared to 1985.

Bel Air Police Chief Thomas Broumel pointed out two factors about who was committing most of the crimes: the people knew there was a worthwhile target in the town and they knew they could get in and out easily without being noticed.

To combat increasing crime, the chief said he would be asking for funding in the next budget for two more patrol officers.

If you couldn't tell by the warmer weather 25 years ago, the lawn and garden show at Harford Mall was a clear indication spring was on its way. The show was running through March 21 and was to feature demonstrations and displays by Hickory International, the Greenery, Cone Brook Nurseries, P&S Equipment, Courtland Hardware, Walter G. Coale, John M. Spicer & Sons, Burkheimer Garden Equipment, Enfield Equipment and Elsner's. "Over 400 Pieces of Equipment Under One Roof!"

Also being advertised this week was Osborne Boat Sales' boat show at their showroom in Havre de Grace. Featured were a Regal 200 XLC Mercruiser 165 for $14,795 and a Fisher SV14 DLX Mercury 8 ML for $65.84 a month and a 15-foot fiberglass bass boat with trailer for $6,795.

Comcast was offering businesses their first commercial free, "then we'll prove that TV makes your business grow."

A fire caused an estimated $250,000 damage and forced 20 families from their apartments in the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground.

A 911 dispatcher was being recognized for helping save the life of a 14-month-old girl 25 years ago this week. Dispatcher Beverly Coakley gave instructions to Cheryl Lapouraille, mother of Bridget, to dislodge a penny that had clogged the baby's windpipe.

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