The Aegis
Harford County

Bel Air commissioners could add $50K to employee pensions

Bel Air town officials have an opportunity to put at least $50,000 into their employees' pension funds, if the town commissioners approve a resolution to amend the budget for the 2013 fiscal year during Monday's town meeting..

Resolution 1007-13, which was discussed along with the rest of the upcoming town meeting agenda during a commissioners' work session Tuesday, would allow town leaders to transfer the money not spent for the recent installation of a traffic signal at Gateway Drive and Boulton Street behind Harford Mall.


The resolution will be introduced during Monday's meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at Bel Air Town Hall at 39 N. Hickory Ave.

The town set aside $150,000 in the FY13 budget for the signal, which residents of the neighboring English Country Manor community had long been petitioning Bel Air leaders to install.


Town Administrator Chris Schlehr said a recent actuarial report indicated the pension funds are less than required; he noted employees had not been asked to increase their contributions during the current year.

"We're looking at this as an opportunity to maybe make that back," he said of the pension funds.

Finance Director Lisa Moody said using the lump savings was a better practice than taking smaller amounts of money from different funds in the budget.

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"When we had this larger savings in this one area, instead of it just going to the unassigned fund balance at the end of the fiscal year, we were just trying to find a use for it because we knew the pension, we were light based on the actuarial reports," she explained.

Moody said more than $100,000 was needed to meet the town's actuarial requirements for the pension funds, and Schlehr said the remainder could be made up with investment earnings through the recent surge in the stock market.

The total cost to install the signal at Gateway and Boulton was about $95,000, according to Public Works Director Randy Robertson. He said the cost covered installing the signal, plus several detection cameras on the light a block away on Boulton, serving the Best Buy and mall parking areas.

"It became apparent when we were out there installing the signal that it would be prudent, while we had the contractor out there, to go ahead and install four additional detection cameras on the mall/Best Buy intersection," Robertson explained.

Robertson told the commissioners during last month's work session that the cameras were needed to synchronize the new signal and the Best Buy traffic light, according to The Aegis.


Schlehr noted the town owns three traffic lights, at Pennsylvania and Hickory Avenues, at Gateway and Boulton and between Best Buy and the mall, plus one third of the light at Boulton and Tollgate Road. Harford County owns the other two thirds of the light.

A change order to approve spending $10,484 for the cameras will be introduced Monday.