The Harford County Council meeting took on a cautious tone shortly after the Pledge of Allegiance and Opening Prayer on Tuesday when Council President Patrick Vincenti announced that all cellphones and electronic devices must be muted and banned the taking of photos and videos within the chamber.
“Our intent is to run an orderly business meeting and maintain proper decorum in the chambers,” Vincenti said.
The request stemmed from “ongoing disruptions at recent council meetings,” Vincenti said, perhaps alluding to the Nov. 2 meeting when more than 60 members of the public spoke and the crowd at times became volatile. At the previous meeting, Councilman Andre V. Johnson made a similar request, noting the photos and videos captured could be used to intimidate speakers from returning to share public comments.
After Tuesday’s opening remarks from Vincenti, the council got to its agenda, presenting a proclamation declaring November 2021 National Adoption Month and recognized a local couple, who adopted a 17-year-old, as the adoptive family of the year.
Jerry Reyerson, the director of Harford County Social Services and Debbie DiEdoardo, an adoptions supervisor, then gave a heartfelt presentation on the importance of adoption. They announced this year’s theme as “Every Conversation Matters.”
In other business, three resolutions — Elite Comfort Solutions-MEDAF and EDOF Loan; Enterprise Zone Tax Credit-1306 Continental Dr. Abingdon; Enterprise Zone Tax Credit-1802 Fashion Court Joppa — were passed unanimously by the council.
One bill was introduced requesting additional funds from the general fund to cover estimated expenses during the current fiscal year, more staff in the State’s Attorney’s Office and overtime and additional staff for the board of elections. A public hearing will be held on Dec. 14 at 7:15 p.m.
The Tax Credit For Properties Near Refuse Disposal System legislation as amended was approved unanimously, as was the Amendment to Edgewood Neighborhood Overlay District.
Vincenti spoke on touring Upper Chesapeake Medical Center’s new center devoted to expediting patient care, as well as a conversation with Major General Edmundson at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds about the revitalization Route 40.
And at the meeting’s end, a total of 44 people participated in public comment time, which lasted more than two hours. Once again, most comments pertained to the dismissal of Dr. David Bishai from his position as health officer; three people were thrown out of the meeting at this time.