Bel Air town officials are eager the see the last of this winter's snow melt away and the temperatures warm up, as the first of the community's early spring activities are quickly approaching.
"It can't snow on St. Patrick's Day," Town Administrator James Fielder Jr. remarked during Tuesday's town commissioners work session. "It just can't."
The next town hall meeting will also be Monday on St. Patrick's Day, and town officials reviewed matters Tuesday that would be on the agenda for that meeting, while also talking about the coming celebration.
Fielder noted operators of Bel Air eating and drinking establishments are getting ready for St. Patrick's Day, when downtown Bel Air is typically bustling with revelers.
He said town officials have recently been meeting with bar and restaurant owners and operators to ensure the holiday goes smoothly.
"Hopefully it's going to be a very smooth and positive period of time with a lot of people in town," Fielder said.
Town residents can also look forward to a series of annual Bel Air spring events coming in April, such as the Bel Air High School Spring Musical April 10-12 and the Easter egg hunt at Rockfield Manor and the Kite Day Festival at Rockfield Park, both on April 12.
Revamped website is live
Visitors to http://www.belairmd.org will see that the revamped version of the town's website, which was presented at a late February work session, is up and running.
"We're still making some small content adjustments and things like that," Director of Administration Michael Krantz said.
Visitors to the site can see features such as the calendar, meeting agendas and photos of events and scenes around town.
New accounting standards
At Monday's town meeting, the town commissioners are expected approved spending up to $10,000 to have the Boomershine Consulting Group LLC of Ellicott City, the town's actuarial firm, conduct a pension plan study.
Finance Director Lisa Moody explained Tuesday that the study, which is expected to take six to eight weeks, is necessary as the Governmental Accounting Standards Board's Statements 67 and 68 are implemented.
The two statements relate to how state and local governing bodies report the expenses and liabilities of their pension plans "resulting in a more faithful representation of the full impact of these obligations," according to the GASB website.
Moody said GASB Statement 67 affects the current fiscal year, and the GASB Statement 68 will be in effect for the 2015 fiscal year.
"The reason the town is paying for it is because it's accounting," Moody said of the actuarial study. "It's not funding; it's not something the pension plan should pay for, because it's an accounting requirement."
She said Bel Air officials must report the "unfunded" liabilities in the town's pension plans for town employees and sworn police officers on its financial statements in future fiscal years.
Moody noted private-sector entities have had to show unfunded pension liabilities on their financial statements "for quite some time."
Economic issues of the past five years have "pushed the view forward a little bit," so those who view government statements can see the pension liabilities, she said.