"They [auditors] have told us to determine what that liability is going to be," he said about the county's requirements. "It's just like a pension or a mortgage. You basically develop a payment plan."

"The county is making adequate progress on its payment plan. Just because we are up-to-date, doesn't mean the payments have to stop before the whole liability is paid off," he said.

With regard to the personnel matters account that is receiving an additional appropriation, Gibson said the account covers the payout of unused sick and personnel leave when an employee leaves, retires or dies while employed. In addition to the payout of unused leave, the county death benefit covers four weeks' pay, he said.

Counsel for network


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Also at the meeting, the council unanimously approved funding of $5,500 that County Attorney Rob McCord said was needed to continue having outside legal counsel for a new 700 MHz project as part of the Central Maryland Area Radio Communications Group, which Harford is leading.

He said it is a continuation of an 800 MHz project the county has worked on since 2006 and would use the same attorney, Robert Gurss, of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth PLC.

Because the project is under a different contract and is now funded by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council's grant money, it requires renewed approval, he said.

"I want to make sure the system can use the same frequencies, that everyone can communicate with everybody that's in the public safety field," he said.

New bills, soil conservation

The council introduced new bills that would approve a ground lease for the Humane Society of Harford County in Fallston and would approve the Sheriff's Office Pension Plan.

The Humane Society wants to terminate an agreement with the county from 1992 and enter into a ground lease for the Connolly Road site for a 20-year term, at a nominal rent of $1 per year.

Council President Billy Boniface also pointed out that Lee McDaniel, chairman of the Harford Soil Conservation District, was just elected president of the national version of the group.

"This is quite an achievement from Harford County, having someone elevated to this level," Boniface said. "It will give us a great deal of clout as we move forward with issues dealing with conservation."

Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti was not at Tuesday's meeting because her mother was very ill and in the hospital, Boniface said.

Walmart, executive appointments

Also at the council meeting, Bill Wehland spoke again about the proposed Bel Air Walmart, saying the store's opponents have found expansion possibilities are still possible.

He also said Walmart continues to not respond to residents despite getting "numerous letters" from people like him, although they did supposedly respond to the Planning and Zoning Department recently with comments.

"The fact is, most of the responses now are non-responsive and unacceptable," Wehland said, adding he would like to see a resolution passed or some change to the zoning code that caps the size or capacity of stores in certain districts.

"I will continue to fight Walmart," he said.

Ryan Burbey, head of the Harford County Education Association, criticized County Executive David Craig's comments during a budget hearing Monday that the county's education troubles are caused by state funding cuts.

"It's often been said the state is punishing us or whatever by not giving us," Burbey said. "I know the state on the county level is the whipping boy for virtually everything that goes wrong."

"In regard to education funding, Harford County really can't say that. Although we're losing over $4 million this year, seven out of the past 10 years, the state of Maryland has contributed more money to our schools than the county has," Burbey said.

The council announced a special session to address the sale of bonds at 2 p.m. this Tuesday.

Also at the meeting, the council appointed: Susan Bresuciak to the Commission for Women, Thomas Webber to the Social Services Advisory Board, Gary Scholl and Bonita Holland-Buchanan to the Human Relations Commission, Jay Ellerby to the Economic Development Advisory Board, Patricia Skebeck, Wendell Baxter and T. Joyce Jordan to the Citizens Nursing Home Board, and Michael Krantz and Matt Shiffermiller to the Harford Cable Network Board.