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News Maryland Harford County Bel Air

Harford to start meetings to lay out specifics of countywide water authority

Harford County is set to kick off public meetings to discuss the feasibility of a countywide water and sewer authority, public works director Tim Whittie said.

The authority would be a quasi-governmental agency to own and operate all the local water and sewer systems in Harford County

The study, an $831,000 contract awarded in February to GHD Inc. of Bowie, will take about a year, Whittie told members of the citizens' budget committee during the County Council's review of the proposed 2015 budget Tuesday.

He said dates of the meetings, as well as minutes, will ultimately be posted on the county website.

The authority would only come at the tail end of four phases, roughly estimated to cost $2 million, Whittie said.

The actual cost of implementing such an authority would be determined by the Phase 2 study, he said.

The study will also sort through all aspects of transferring ownership of municipal and county systems to a quasi-independent water and sewer authority and assess the ripple effects on customer rates, employees and existing services.

Public works officials have spent much of the past several months trying to convince Harford's three municipalities to sign on for the second phase, as each was expected to foot part of the bill for the report.

Havre de Grace will pay $83,100, Aberdeen will pay $81,438 and Bel Air will pay $25,761; the county will pick up the remainder of the tab, which is $640,701.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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