The Aberdeen City Council passed a $12.4 million operating budget for the 2013 fiscal year beginning July 1 at Monday's council meeting.
The new budget keeps the same city tax rates and fees and reduces spending by 28 percent below the 2012 budget.
The new budget is based on a real property tax rate of 68 cents per $100 of assessed value and an annual personal property tax rate of $1.70 per $100 of assessed value.
The water use rate will be a minimum charge of $14.50 for the first 3,500 gallons or less and $4.38 per each additional 1,000 gallons. The sanitary sewer use rate will be a minimum charge of $17.02 for the first 3,500 gallons and $4.85 per each additional 1,000 gallons.
Councilwoman Ruth Elliott said she would "happily" move to adopt the budget, in reference to the major savings for the city this year. The $4.8 million in reduced spending is primarily because of the savings from refinancing Ripken Stadium last fall.
The council also approved an annexation plan for 830 Gilbert Road LLC, a 38-acre addition to the city, and re-zoning applications for several sites.
The owners of two parcels at 1104 Old Philadelphia Road, totaling about 19 acres, asked to be rezoned from M-1 (light industrial) to B-3 (highway commercial), and the owner of Colony at Beards Hill to be rezoned from a split zoning of R-1 and B-3 to R-3 (high-density residential) and B-3.
The council approved a $16,000 budget amendment for the 2012 budget for an upgrade to the city's street camera software system.
Rental housing approved
The council also approved a revised final plat for two lots on Lands of Baldwin Manor Inc., where The Shelter Group plans to build the Villages at Highland Commons, a 22-unit project near the Winston's Choice development.
The project will be at Roosevelt and Polk streets. Maria Miller, representing The Shelter Group, said the project will take nine months to build and the rent for the units would range from $575 per month to $1,700.
The Shelter Group also plans to demolish a maintenance building on the property and repave Polk Street.
Dudley Campbell, of Bay State Land Services, and Miller thanked the city for being accommodating as the project had to meet federal guidelines because it got government grant funding.
"As you know, we are under budget constraints trying to get this done by the end of the state's fiscal year at the end of June," Campbell said.
Miller emphasized that the project would in no way be low-income or Section 8 housing.
"I want to be very clear that the housing we are intending to develop is workforce housing," she said. "We look forward to being part of the continued revival of the city of Aberdeen."
Dance team recognized
The council also recognized the Aberdeen High School Dance Team, which won five first-place national titles.
"It's so much fun to have these students from the high school come in and honor them," Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck said at the end of the meeting. "It seems we could do it every week."
Elliott said the Aberdeen Senior Center was the most giving during a recent countywide fund drive called Food for the Hungry. She said the senior center received a proclamation from Harford County Executive David Craig.
"I just wanted to let everyone know how very contributive our Aberdeen senior members are," she said, adding the center keeps attracting members.
Councilwoman Ruth Ann Young said the Aberdeen Proving Ground's Restoration Advisory Board is looking for new board members and encouraged residents to sign up by July 1, 410-272-8842 or 800-APG-9990.
The next meeting of that board is May 31 at the Ramada Hotel in Edgewood, she said.
The council also recognized Jonathan White, a new aide for Harford County Councilman Dick Slutzky, and issued a proclamation to the Aberdeen Heritage Trust for National Preservation Month.