Bel Air commissioners look toward April, the last snow

Spring is Thursday and it can't come soon enough for folks in Bel Air and the rest of the Harford County area.
Spring is Thursday and it can't come soon enough for folks in Bel Air and the rest of the Harford County area. (The Aegis, Ted Hendricks)

Bel Air Mayor Robert Reier joked at Monday night's town meeting that Public Works Director Randy Robertson could probably "write a book" on clearing snow from municipal streets, sidewalks and facilities with the latest snow that hit Monday.

"The Minnesota DPW has nothing on you," the mayor told Robertson.


Harford County has been pummeled by snowstorms since December 2013, and town officials hoped the St. Patrick's Day storm, which dropped several inches Sunday night and Monday morning, was the last of the white stuff before the first day of spring Thursday.

"Once again, we certainly appreciate the efforts" of public works crews, Reier told Robertson. "Everything looked like it went very well around town, and let's keep our fingers crossed that this is the last go-round."


Thursday is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high temperature of 54 degrees, according to the National Weather Service's website.

Goodbye to winter

Bel Air town officials expect the second Saturday in April to be an extremely busy 24-hour period in town, with four events scheduled that day.

"April 12 is going to be a very busy night and day in town," Reier commented toward the end of Monday's town meeting.


The day begins at 10 a.m. with the Annual Kite Day Festival, which is sponsored by the town and APG Federal Credit Union and will be held on the Rockfield Park playing fields until 4 p.m.

Reier said officials "hope for a very pleasant and windy day."

A second event is scheduled for the grounds of Rockfield Manor next door – the manor's annual Easter egg hunt. The egg hunt is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., and the grounds are scheduled to open at 10 a.m.

Town officials expect the eager children will quickly swarm the field to get one of the hundreds of eggs hidden around the grounds.

"[It] takes all of 30 seconds, I believe, once the horn is sounded," Reier joked. "Hopefully the snow will be gone by then."

Bel Air Police Chief Leo Matrangola said via e-mail Tuesday that a police officer and several police Explorer Scouts have been assigned to monitor the parking and traffic flow for the kite festival and egg hunt.

"We realize that the Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Rockfield Manor House and our officer will work closely with the organizers to assure a safe traffic pattern for both events," he wrote.

Matrangola said officials "do not anticipate any major traffic conflicts" with the egg hunt being held on the manor house lawn and the kite festival near the park's softball fields.

Nighttime events scheduled for April 12 include the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation's annual fundraiser at the Bel Air Reckord Armory, as well as the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company's annual awards banquet at Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood.

Mid-year budget amendment approved

The town commissioners unanimously approved Resolution 1021-14, or the Mid-Year 2014 Budget Amendment during the town meeting.

A public hearing was held before the commissioners voted on the amendment, but no one was in the audience to speak.

The budget amendment adds $265,730 to the general fund of the town's budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2013 and ends June 30, and $134,450 to the special revenue fund to reflect mid-year changes in revenue and expenses.

Finance Director Lisa Moody said during her presentation on the amendment that the town does a mid-year budget review every fiscal year.

"We take a look at revenues and expenditures, compare them to the budget, project out to June 30," she said.

Moody highlighted changes on the revenue and expense sides of the budget.

General fund revenue changes include a $30,000 decrease in property tax revenue because of reductions in property tax bills after they were appealed, a $13,000 decrease in public works fees because of "less building permit activity," along with an increase in revenue through a $45,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration to purchase an emergency generator for town hall and the police station, plus a $178,884 increase from red light camera citations.

Expenditure changes include a $10,000 contract for an actuarial review of the town's pension plans related to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board's Statements 67 and 68, which cover changes to reporting and accounting for local and state workers' pension plans.

The town will also have to spend $30,000 more to administer the greater-than-anticipated number of red light camera citations, $22,950 on a new fuel dispensing system for public works vehicles, $8,000 on police uniforms and $24,000 on police accessories related to the Bel Air Police Department's role in the new municipal SWAT team made up of Bel Air, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace officers.

Moody said the special revenue fund increase covers grant money the town received from the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation and the Dresher Foundation for renovations to Shamrock Park.

Contracts approved

The commissioners unanimously approved the actuarial study contract with the Boomershine Consulting Group LLC of Ellicott City – Boomershine already serves as the town's actuarial firm.

They also approved a three-year extension of the town's contract with its auditing firm, SB & Company LLC of Hunt Valley.

Moody said the extension was critical because SB & Company has already been with the town for five years, and the firm's expertise and familiarity with the town are needed as the new GASB standards are implemented during the current fiscal year and next fiscal year.

The cost of the three-year extended contract is $16,986 for the 2014 fiscal year audit, the same as the cost for the FY2013 audit, then $17,486 for FY2015, which is a $500 increase, and $17,486 for the FY2016 audit, no increase.

Board member reappointed

The commissioners unanimously approved the reappointment of Chris Streett to the Economic and Community Development Commission, for a three-year term.

Commissioner Patrick Richards made the motion to reappoint Streett.

"We appreciate Mr. Streett's dedication and passion that he brings to the commission and all its dealings," Richards said.

Student honored

Matthew Resnik, an eighth-grader at Southampton Middle School, received a Student Achievement Award from the town Monday.

Matthew, who attended the meeting with his family and received a proclamation from the mayor, was honored for his work to fight bullying in school, as well as his academic achievements, assistance with school events, volunteer work with his church and musical and athletic abilities – he plays the saxophone and is a member of the Fountain Green Swim Team, according to the proclamation.

Reier said presenting the Student Achievement Award is "one of our favorite duties we have to carry out."