2015 Maryland General Assembly Report for Harford County

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Barry Glassman Harford County Seal

 

BEL AIR, Md., (April 23, 2015) –  Following the conclusion of the 2015 Maryland General Assembly, County Executive Barry Glassman extends his thanks to the Harford Delegation for their support of his legislative initiatives, and for their efforts on behalf of the county overall.

 

“After 16 years as a legislator, I appreciate the challenges and opportunities of the legislative process. As county executive, I am proud of Harford County’s achievements this year in partnership with our delegation, our legislative leaders, and our new governor,” County Executive Glassman said.

 

Harford County will receive $226 million in fiscal year 2016 operating funding, including funding for our public schools, libraries, community college, public health, transportation and Program Open Space.   This was an increase over the current year despite the state’s nearly $1 billion structural deficit in January. While much of this funding is formula-driven, the Glassman administration advocated for formula changes that benefitted Harford County, and along with our delegation worked successfully with local agencies to help secure the following:

 

  • $204 million for Harford County Public Schools, representing a 1% increase over the current year;
  • $1.4 million for Harford County Public Library , a 2.3% increase;
  • $11.4 million for Harford Community College,  a 1.4% increase;
  • $2.1 million for local public health grants, a 9.3% increase;
  • $3 million for transportation projects, a 12.7% increase;
  • Nearly $1 million for Program Open Space and Nutrient Management Removal funding, an increase of 13.1% over the current year.

 

In addition, more than $17 million in capital funding from the state will help build infrastructure in our public schools and other local public facilities.

 

Included in the capital budget is funding to begin site development for a Harford County Agricultural Research & Exposition Center, envisioned by the county executive to include solicitation of research contracts, in partnership with Aberdeen Proving Ground, in the fields of food safety, food testing and bio-terrorism.  The facility would also allow for expansion of farm-to-table economic development initiatives, with a potential year-round market and commercial kitchen cooperative. Federal, state and local agricultural agencies would also be consolidated in one location.

 

Additional highlights of the state capital budget for Harford County appear below:

 

Harford County Public Schools

 

Center for Educational Opportunity – Air conditioning project                 $2,425,000

Churchville Elementary School – Roof replacement project                     $495,000

Prospect Mill Elementary School – HVAC systemic renovation               $2,391,000

Youth’s Benefit Elementary School – Building replacement project       $3,998,000

 

Harford Community College

 

Edgewood Hall Renovation – Construction                                                  $4,129,000

Regional Workforce Development Center – Design funding                   $1,372,000

Right Turn Lane – Nursing Building – Construction                                   $576,270

 

Harford County Public Libraries

 

Havre de Grace Library – New construction                                             $1,000,000

 

Harford County Bond Bills and Grant Funding

 

Agricultural Research and Exposition Foundation – Site development   $150,000

Ladew Topiary Gardens – Renovation and site improvements               $100,000

Regional Fire and Rescue Boat – Acquisition and capital equipping       $100,000

Ripken Stadium Infrastructure – Site improvements                               $500,000

 

Policy initiatives that passed with support from County Executive Glassman included Senate Bill 905, which helped keep the Netflix blockbuster series “House of Cards” in Harford County by repealing the termination date on the state’s film tax credit. “House of Cards” is an economic development engine for the county, providing jobs and supporting existing local businesses.

 

County Executive Glassman also supported passage of Senate Bill 443, which will help nonprofits in Harford County raise money for their critical missions through charitable gaming.  He also supported a series of House bills that passed to assist local restaurants and other small businesses seeking to obtain the necessary permitting and licensing to operate in Harford County, including efforts to allow craft brew tours and tastings for independent breweries.  Finally, Senate Bill 262 was passed to jump start the housing industry by allowing for flexibility in meeting energy performance standards using innovative approaches, design, equipment, or methods of construction.

 

In addition, County Executive Glassman successfully testified against House Bill 964, which would have imposed a “snack tax”, or state sales and use tax, on snack food by repealing the exemption in current law.  This bill would have significantly impacted Frito Lay, a major Harford County employer.

 

More information about the above legislation and Maryland’s operating and capital budget for fiscal year 2016 can be found at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Downloads.cfm?FormID=2568.

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