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Council passes capital budget of nearly $100 million


Harford County will renovate six older elementary schools, build two firehouses, seal a closed landfill and repair a Deer Creek dam in the coming fiscal year.

The projects come as part of a nearly $100 million construction budget the County Council approved unanimously late Thursday night. The budget represents an estimated 50 percent increase over the current $66.3 million.

But the figures could prove deceptive, as two big-ticket items that account for $50 million, the Sod Run sewage treatment plant and White ford treatment plant sewer lines, hinge on getting $12 million in federal and state grants.

The council approved Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann's original $96.5 million construction spending plan and agreed to her request to add about $2.5 million.

About $1.5 million of the additional money will come from a new tax on real estate transfers, which takes effect when the new budget year begins July 1. The $3 million the tax is expected to generate will be split evenly between school construction and agricultural preservation.

The other $1 million added to the capital budget comes from countymoney, including income taxes and corporate property taxes expected to exceed earlier estimates for the current fiscal year.

Among the budget highlights:

* $11 million for school construction projects, including renovations to Havre de Grace, Darlington, Youths Benefit, Roye-Williams, Hickory and Norrisville elementary schools.

* $2.3 million to build firehouses in Abingdon and Havre de Grace, expand the firehouse in Fallston and renovate the Fawn Grove station.

* $800,000 to restore the dam on Deer Creek at Eden Mill park.

Restoration of the 18-foot, rock-filled masonry dam, which dates tothe 1800s, is tentatively scheduled for completion by the end of this year.

* $43.5 million in county money for expansion of the Sod Run sewage treatment plant, for which the county hopes to get $9 million from the state.

* $4.4 million in county money for sewer lines for the Whiteford area treatment plant, between Harford County and Delta, Pa.

The county won't build the lines unless it gets a $3 million federal grant.

* $5.6 million to cap the Tollgate Landfill, west of Bel Air. The landfill served as a central dump from 1954 to 1987, when it closed.

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