The City of Aberdeen's proposed budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year prompted few comments during a public hearing Monday, although two speakers addressed concerns over having the best possible lifesaving equipment at the Aberdeen Family Swim Center.
The proposed $14.08 million general fund budget, which reflects a 16.3 percent reduction in actual spending compared to the current fiscal year, does not include increases to the property tax rate or water and sewer rates.
During a public hearing on the budget at Monday's city council meeting, Bob Hartman said that about three years ago, city officials discussed placing Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, at the community pool, but the idea had not come to fruition.
He encouraged the mayor and members of the city council to put money in the budget for an AED, which is designed to restart a person's heart with an electric shock.
Hartman cited the case of Colleen Houck, a C. Milton Wright High School basketball player who collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest during a January 2013 game.
Her coaches and trainers brought her back to life with CPR and an AED that was on the premises.
"Let's think about that; I'm sure we can come up with money for that [AED]," Hartman said.
Tim Wills, executive director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County, which oversees the Aberdeen community pool, quickly took the podium after Hartman finished speaking.
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He noted his organization worked with The Connor Cares Foundation to obtain a donated AED for the Aberdeen pool. Wills said the device was installed on the pool premises last week, and staff became certified to use it Saturday.
The Connor Cares Foundation was established in 2007 after a 5-year-old Maryland boy, Connor Freed, died after being submerged in a swimming pool, and the lifeguards on duty could not use the on-site AED to save him, according to the foundation website.
Gov. Martin O'Malley signed Connor's Law during the spring of 2013; pools across Maryland are required under that law to have an AED on-site and personnel trained to use it.
No one else in the audience at city hall commented on the proposed budget. The property tax rate is projected to remain the same at 68 cents per $100 worth of real property and $1.70 for every $100 of personal property, according to the budget ordinance.
The water rates will remain at $15.23 for the first 3,500 gallons and $4.60 for every 1,000 gallons used thereafter.
Sewer rates will remain at $19.57 for the first 3,500 gallons and $5.58 for every 1,000 gallons more used, also according to the ordinance.
The budget is scheduled to be up for adoption during the June 2 council meeting.