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Bel Air commissioners honor legal organization

The Bel Air town commissioners recognized Monday nearly 25 years of work by the Harford County Bar Foundation to provide free and reduced-cost legal services to people in Harford County.

Commissioner Edward Hopkins presented a proclamation, which he and his fellow commissioners had signed, to Executive Director Nancy Mahoney and Adam Hyman, vice president of the foundation's board of directors, during Monday's commissioners' meeting in the Bel Air town hall.

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"We recognize that people from all walks of life, the privileged, the underprivileged, are entitled to free legal representation as part of their due process, and that's significant," Hopkins said.

Pro Bono Month is being observed across the country during October to highlight the need for low-cost legal services "and the unprecedented response of attorneys to meet this demand," according to the American Bar Association's website.

The Harford County Bar Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was established in 1991; free and reduced-cost legal services are provided by lawyers who volunteer their time, and the Foundation also provides legal education and referral services, according to the foundation's web page, http://www.harcobar.org/Harford-County-Bar-Foundation.

The foundation's efforts have been expanded to Cecil County in recent years, Hopkins said during the presentation.

"We, the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners, do hereby declare the month of October to be Pro Bono Month in the Town of Bel Air and encourage all of our citizens to support the Bar Foundation and its mission and endeavors," Hopkins said, reading from the proclamation.

Mahoney thanked members of the community for their support.

"The Harford County Bar Foundation is successful because the community is behind it, both through their generosity with contributions, and just word of mouth, sending people to us that need help," she said.

Vehicle purchases

The commissioners also unanimously approved the purchase of a new Ford dump truck for the public works department and a new Jeep Wrangler for the police department, which would be used for parking enforcement.

The commissioners authorized the $78,990 purchase of a 2015 Ford F550 dump truck from Apple Ford in Columbia.

Public Works Director Steve Kline told the commissioners his agency purchased a similar model dump truck during the 2012 fiscal year.

"The vehicle has far outperformed its expected usefulness to our organization," he said. "The truck's maneuverability and power to handle snow plowing operations in townhome communities, as well as other tight and confining streets and parking lot scenarios, is exceptional."

Kline said the truck comes with a snow plow and a salt spreader.

The police department will purchase a 2015 Jeep Wrangler from Hertrich Fleet Services Inc. of Milford, Del., for $25,835.

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Police Chief Leo Matrangola said the Jeep is needed to replace a parking enforcement vehicle that experienced mechanical failure. The old vehicle was sold at a public auction in July for $6,119.

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