It recently expanded its Edgewood operations to 240,000 square feet.

Richardson also said he sees the company's growth as a major boost to Edgewood.

"I have very high expectations for Edgewood," he said. "Edgewood is ripe for a complete renaissance and expansion, and I think this company particularly is one of the [keys] for that expansion and that growth."

In answer to a question from Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti, Richardson confirmed that the $750,000 can only be used for the building costs.


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Councilman Chad Shrodes also noted that without the council's support, the county will lose the $750,000 coming from the state in support of this program, as the program is in conjunction with the state department of economic development.

Councilman Joe Woods did not like the idea of supporting the deal, "especially [for] a foreign company."

"It just keeps getting harder and harder for me to vote on these every time," he said, adding he would like to see local companies benefit from the deal first.

"If they're sending money out, especially when it says out of the country, I just have a hard time doing that," Woods said.

Richardson defended the accusation that this is a foreign company.

"While they are a British-owned firm, this is the U.S. headquarters for Smiths Detection," he said.

"All of the management people are U.S. citizens, have to be U.S. citizens, so I consider it as much a U.S. company as it is a foreign company," he added.

Tucker McNulty, of the economic development office, also noted this is a matching grant program, which over the years has affected 75 Harford County companies.

"The portfolio of the program is pretty broad," he said. "It wasn't a program created for this very reason. It's an existing program that is utilized across a broad range of industry."

Councilman Dion Guthrie said he supports the proposal.

"To get business, you have to invest in business. That is the bottom line," Guthrie said. "I think this is a good project."

He said those who spoke in opposition would maybe prefer to have all these products made overseas and have them shipped here, so the U.S. does not get any jobs or benefits.

Guthrie noted the companies that have received economic loans have spent a lot of money moving their facilities here.

"I just don't see the negative on this at all," he said. "If you oppose this, you oppose our warfighters."

"Freedom is not free, and this is what you have to pay for it," Guthrie added.

Lisanti said the program is not a new state or county program, the rules and regulations are well-enumerated and the program is open to any business.