"I have all the faith in the world on the progress you've made here in Harford County," he said. "Baltimore City hasn't made any progress. It's the same it was when I was a kid and lived there."

Atkins said Walmart fits in with that plan.

"It's just another part of the progress that Harford County has made," he said.

Councilman Jim McMahan said he got a question about the council's failure to send a letter to the State Highway Administration asking for access to be denied to Route 924 for the MedStar Health building.

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The council sent such a letter to the SHA regarding Walmart.

McMahan said MedStar's property does not touch Route 924 anywhere and MedStar never applied for that access.

"They are on a feeder road which is an extension to Plum Tree [Road], so that has nothing to do with 924," he said.

Sandy funding

Also at the meeting, the council passed a bill revising the membership requirements of the Local Management Board to add the director of a developmental disabilities organization, private sector members and the possibility of allowing people to act as designees in their stead.

The council approved $1.2 million to fund estimated expenses attributed to Hurricane Sandy and unanticipated weather-related events.

Ryan Burbey, of the Harford County Education Association, again warned the council that times were dire for the county's school system, now that superintendent Robert Tomback and associate superintendent Bill Lawrence were stepping down.

"The future isn't quite as bright as the county's economic lens right now," he said, mentioning "an eminent funding crisis for your schools."

He said schools are losing money in state aid and are facing a budget hole of $20 million.

Burbey added he did not want to see schools close and other serious consequences because of lack of funding and support.

"I need you all to move past this idea of bricks and mortar for schools," he said. "This is definitely serious at this point."