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Harford council approves loan for Independent Can, water and sewer updates

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The Harford County Council narrowly approved a $125,000 economic development loan to Independent Can Company and also passed an updated water and sewer master plan during its meeting last week.

The 10-year loan to Independent Can, an international distributor of decorative tins based in Belcamp, is conditional and will have an interest rate of 3 percent.

Independent Can is required to have at least 200 full-time employees and the loan will be settled and funded by Dec. 31. The money will be used for a new piece of equipment at the facility.

Several council members said the loan was a good idea, but Councilmen Jim McMahan, Chad Shrodes and Joe Woods voted against it.

Councilman Dion Guthrie called it an investment in Harford County's future and noted it is a loan, not a hand-out.

"This is something Harford County government can assist them with," he said.

The council also passed the latest version of the county's master sewer and water plan, with Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti voting against it.

Lisanti said she was "really disturbed" the plan includes projects that have yet to receive preliminary approval.

She said it is to the council's credibility to only pass projects that have been preliminarily approved.

The plan says the county ultimately hopes to acquire an additional 20 million gallons of water daily to satisfy both its water service area and those of the City of Aberdeen, Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Town of Bel Air, the latter which is served by a private water company Maryland American.

The plan update would also add a handful of new, planned developments to the water and sewer map, namely: the 16-home Hamilton Reserve II in Fallston, the 33-home O'Connell property in Bel Air and the 172-home Laurel Ridge subdivision planned in Bel Air South.

Health update

County health officer Susan Kelly said the health department received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant this year to improve the department's services for clients who speak limited English.

Kelly said the department has seen an increase in non-English-speaking clients after the staff became more proactive in inquiring whether people need translation services.

She also said the dental program began screening and applying fluoride varnish to students in all 36 public school pre-kindergarten classes.

New offerings from the health department this year include a "quadrivalent" vaccine that protects against four viruses and the "Flublok," an egg-free vaccine aimed at ages 18 to 49.

The regular seasonal flu vaccine, high-dose vaccine, FluMist and vaccination in pharmacies and doctors' offices will continue to be available, she said.

Kelly said the division of addiction services is providing treatment and case management for Family Recovery Court clients, and is offering assessment and treatment services for substance abuse to identified students in the alcohol education program.

Kelly added: "There seem to be more people turning to heroin these days, and maybe that's an unintended consequence of people being more careful and getting rid of their prescription drugs."

She said it is also important to educate doctors not to overprescribe medications.

Aide transfer, church center

Councilman Joe Woods said his legislative aide, Joe Cluster, will step down to be executive director of the Maryland Republican Party.

"I know he will make the Republican Party of Maryland much stronger," Woods said.

Councilman Dion Guthrie said the new Epicenter facility in Edgewood will have its grand opening on Oct. 27, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Epicenter was created by Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, but will include many churches around the area.

Surplus property, appointments

A brief hearing was also held on the county's proposal to sell a building at 33 Courtland St. to LASOS Inc., which has owned the building next door for the past four years.

The building, which is at the corner of Courtland and Bond streets, would be sold to Velez Properties LLC, of 31 Courtland St., for $217,750.

LASOS Inc. (Linking All So Others Succeed) is a non-profit that provides adult literacy classes in civics, financial literacy, technology and citizenship, as well as at-risk youth mentoring and family literacy programs, for non-English-speaking residents.

The adjacent building is directly connected to LASOS' existing building, so the sale makes sense, council members explained.

The council did not vote on whether to sell the property.

The council also appointed Lynn M. Garrison to the advisory board on aging, Gina Shaffer to the Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Board, Natalie Brosh as student representative to the commission on disabilities and Kevin Mahoney to the economic development advisory board.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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