AIDS. Taxes. Recycling. Mailboxes.
Those were some of the issues residents raised with County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann during the second "Harford County Speak Out," Thursday night at the Southampton Middle School in Bel Air.
About 50 attended the meeting, speaking on a wide range of issuesand quizzing Rehrmann and about 25 members of her staff on solutions.
Beth Dail, a Bel Air High student, urged Rehrmann to work with the Board of Education to expand the county's AIDS education program, particularly for students in the seventh to ninth grades.
Dail said she agrees with the program's emphasis on abstinence as the best way to avoid AIDS. But she said schools also need to instruct students on safe sexual practices.
"Giving kids half the facts is just as dangerous as giving them no facts at all," Dail said.
County HealthOfficer Thomas M. Thomas responded that the county is increasing theamount of money going to AIDS treatment and education programs, evenas revenue sources are hard to find.
Joseph D'Arrigo, a Street retiree, urged Rehrmann to veto the County Council's approval on Mondayof a bill raising the cap on property tax assessment increases from 6 to 10 percent.
"That will really hurt a lot of people," D'Arrigosaid. "It's becoming almost unbearable."
Rehrmann, who supported the cap increase, said the county has kept employees and services, despite cutting $8 million from its budget and losing state money.
Pat Meehan, a Bel Air woman with two children in elementary school, said she would be willing to pay more taxes if she knew the money was going toward schools, books, computers and education programs.
Tim Chumley, president of the Harford Sierra Club, questioned the county's plan to charge trash haulers a $60 fee for each ton of garbage thatis not recycled, as part of Harford's proposed recycling program. Hesuggested that the "tipping fee" be charged directly to businesses and residents.
"It would encourage the public to participate in recycling," said Chumley, of Bel Air. "(The proposed fee) puts the onus of recycling on the hauler and not the individual."
Rehrmann's director of administration, Larry Klimovitz, said haulers who get customers to separate more recyclable materials out of their trash will paylower tipping fees and pass on the savings to customers by charging less for trash pick-up.
"The more trash you produce, the more you'll have to pay," Klimovitz said. "The more you recycle, the less you pay."
Robert D. Kracke, of Bel Air, told Rehrmann that the county needs to do more to prevent vandals from destroying mailboxes in rural delivery areas. He said the $15 fine does not reflect the seriousness of the crime.
"This is the heart of our civilization," Kracke said.
7:30 p.m. Jan. 15
Fallston High School