In a dispute that may signal rising hostility toward the area's homeless, a soup kitchen operator in the City of Laurel says that officials are pressuring him to stop serving homeless people from out of town.
Their immediate target appears to be a group of about a dozen men who spend their nights under a bridge just across the border in Howard County and who officials say drink, fight and panhandle on the streets of Laurel.
Monday, City Administrator Ernest Zaccanelli and Police Chief Roy Gilmore held a meeting with Robert Colnaghi, who operates the 5-year-old Elizabeth House soup kitchen in Laurel, the city's largest supplier of meals to the homeless.
Mr. Colnaghi said the two officials told him "we should not serve those people from Howard County that we're a magnet for homeless people from Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery counties."
But Mr. Zaccanelli said the meeting was held only to remind Mr. Colnaghi that Laurel has limited resources and that other counties should help care for homeless in the area.
"We don't want to stop feeding them at all," he said.