The Town of Bel Air is moving forward with the second phase of establishing a regional water authority in Harford County.

Commissioners voted Tuesday night to take part in the study, becoming the last municipality in the area to sign onto the next phase, which establishes a memorandum of understanding to study the financial aspects of creating a regional water authority. The Town of Havre de Grace, City of Aberdeen and Harford County have already signed into the agreement.

The town will pay about $25,000 for the second phase, Town Administrator James Fielder said during the town hall meeting.

"The study will look at the financial performance and look at the assets of the water and treatment facilities," Fielder said.


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The town of Bel Air has been looking for a short-term and long-term solution to deal with a pending water supply issue if a drought impacts the area. According to Bill Walsh, of Maryland American Water, which supplies water to Bel Air, the town's main water supply, Winter's Run, has become less reliable in recent years.

The study phase of the water authority project will cost up to $830,000, said Michael Krantz, director of administration for the town. Bel Air is responsible for paying 3.1 percent of the cost of the study, Aberdeen will pay for 9.8 percent, Havre de Grace will pay for 10 percent and Harford County will pay 77.1 percent.

Town Mayor Robert Reier said the town is not fully committed to the regional water.

"We're moving forward, but not fully," Reier said. "We're supporting the study at this point of time."

Mid-year budget amendments

The town commissioners introduced legislation to approve mid-year budget amendments for FY2014

Bel Air Director of Finance Lisa Moody said the finance department performs a mid-year budget review annually and makes a number adjustments as deemed necessary.

The budget includes a $265,730 amendment to the town's general fund to reflect revenue and expense changes during the fiscal year, and a $134,450 amendment for special revenue for renovations to Shamrock Park.

Other adjustments included funding needed for police enforcement, including traffic and distracted driver initiatives, and cell block training for Bel Air officers.

Moody said the town will hold a public hearing to discuss the amendments on March 3.

Sustainable incentives

Commissioners introduced a resolution to provide sustainable incentives to residents within the town limits.

To promote environmental goals of sustainability in Bel Hair, Harford County and the Chesapeake bay, the town is offering a rebate for recycling and promoting yard waste recycling through waste bins, Planning Director Kevin Small said.

Residents may buy pre-selected bins from businesses within town limits of Bel Air, Small said. Then, residents present their receipt and proof of residency and receive a rebate for a portion for the price for promoting green sustainability.

Buyers will be refunded between 20 to 30 percent of their purchase, Small said, pointing out that items vary in price, such as composting bins, which can cost up to $250.

"This program is already being done in Bowie and it had moderate success and grew over the years," Small said. "But, this is sort of a beta test for us."