As the Joppa-Joppatowne Community Council meeting began Monday evening, everyone was in good spirits, and with good reason.
"Before we get started, there is something that I would like to say so everybody knows. We're not getting the waste transfer station," council chairwoman Paula Mullis said to applause from the 20 people in attendance, many wearing "NO TRANSFER STATION" T-shirts.
Mullis was referring to the agreement reached last week between Harford and Baltimore counties to have Harford County's solid waste transferred to a facility in White Marsh, eliminating the need for a new waste transfer station on the 22-acre former Plecker property on Philadelphia Road owned by Harford County.
"We're grateful the most to [Harford County Councilman Dion Guthrie] for helping us to alleviate the situation, but I think there's someone else you need to thank," Mullis said, speaking at the Sheriff's Office Joppa station. "I think you need to thank each one of yourselves."
"And I think that because we stood strong, we stood together and we stood united as one voice, and I think that we did it graciously, and we won, so I think we've all earned ourselves a pat on the back," Mullis concluded to more applause.
The council presented Guthrie with a certificate of appreciation stating "thank you for your diligent work and support of our community to eliminate the trash transfer station on Philadelphia Road in Joppa, Maryland."
"Thank you very much for all of your help. We know you worked a lot of long hours," council member Ron Sollod said to Guthrie.
"Believe me, I'm going to frame this and put it in my office," Guthrie said as he accepted the certificate. "I live in this community too. I'm fighting for myself also and my family. I didn't want to see [the transfer station] there and thought it was a terrible idea."
"Sometimes good things come out of bad decisions, and certainly a good thing has come out of these bad decisions," Guthrie added. "Who would ever believe when we got into this three-and-a-half, four years ago that all of our trash will now be leaving the county in the next couple years and we won't have to deal with it at all?"
Ideas on what to do with the Plecker property are already being discussed, and one popular idea is to have the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company relocate to a facility complete with a new fire hall that the company could rent out.
"They've outgrown the facility they're in now. They're on 4.3 acres. Even if they got half of the [22 acre] Plecker property, they'd have everything they need," Guthrie said. "Their calls for service are increasing every year."
Fire company president Jeff Wainwright attended the meeting and was asked by the council about the project.
"Right now, I will say that it has been lightly talked about. Nothing is confirmed, nothing is written in stone. It's been a discussion," Wainwright said. "Yes, we're interested in the idea, but there would have to be a lot of things that would have to fall in place. That's still months away before any final decision would be made."
Waste disposal agreement introduced
Bill 13-23, titled "Municipal Solid Waste Disposal Agreement with Baltimore County," was introduced to the Harford County Council at its meeting Tuesday.
The bill lays out the terms of the agreement between Baltimore and Harford counties, which will allow haulers of Harford solid waste to transport it to White Marsh.
A public hearing will be held June 4.
Also at the meeting, Sharon Lipford, deputy director of the Harford County Department of Community Services, gave a presentation about the efforts of the department in providing services to the community and in solving community issues.
"We pretty much, in our department, in one way, shape or form, touch the whole spectrum of citizens in Harford County, whether it be children all the way through senior adults," Lipford said.
One person asked about what to do if she sees homeless people. Lipford told her to call the department, 410-638-3389, and the caller would be directed to the right office. Lipford also urged people to call regarding other community issues.
Lt. Hugh John Dougherty from the Harford County Sheriff's Office reminded Joppa residents to lock their doors and not post on social networking sites about being on vacation or away from home, as it could possibly attract burglars. He also told residents to watch out for telephone scammers, which are increasing in the county.