The cost of having a mobile or car telephone in Harford County is about to get a little more expensive.
Responding to the proliferation of mobile phones, the Harford County Council approved adding a 50-cent monthly charge to all mobile phone users in the county to help pay for 911 services.
The law, passed unanimously Tuesday night, will go into effect in January.
The the same increase is being considered by several other jurisdictions in Maryland.
The new fee should generate about $100,000 in additional revenue for the county, said Larry Klimovitz, director of administration.
He said it could help pay for extra staff at the 911 emergency operations center in Hickory.
"We of course would like to have more people," said James W. Terrell, chief of the county's Emergency Operations Center.
"That, predominantly, is what we would be using the funds for."
Chief Terrell noted that there were 5,625 emergency calls in August, 15 percent more than in the same month in 1994.
Roughly 10 percent of those calls came from mobile phones, he said.
Telephone customers in Harford, both residential and commercial, already pay a 50-cent monthly fee on their bills to help pay for 911, said Mr. Klimovitz.
In other action last week, the council:
* Voted to close Boyer and Bush River roads, near Perryman, to prevent trespassers and others from going onto 700 acres of land owned by Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.
Before taking the action, council members agreed with a farmer's request not to close Bush River Road entirely, only from where the BGE property line begins.
* Recognized the Emmorton-A boys baseball travel team, ages 11 and 12, for having an excellent season.
The boys went 16-0 in winning the Harford tournament, won the APG World Series and finished third in the Overlea tournament, Councilman Mitch Shank said.
"Every boy on the team had better than a .400 on-base percentage," Mr. Shank said.
"If you follow baseball, you know that's pretty good."