As supporters of a drive to incorporate Edgewood gather signatures for a referendum, a group of residents has organized to fight making the Harford County community a municipality.
Howard J. Latham, who heads Fiscal Responsibility in Edgewood's Economy (FREE), said the group of more than a dozen residents is worried that making the 15-square-mile area a city would mean much higher taxes.
"Becoming a city means having a mayor, a city council and more," Latham said. "All of these things involve equipment, salaries and buildings, and one of the ways they want to pay for this is by raising property taxes."
For more than a year, a task force has been exploring the idea of incorporation in hopes of revitalizing the community in southeast Harford. Members of Volunteers to Incorporate Edgewood (VIE) have been collecting thousands of signatures to place the issue on a referendum ballot.
Bel Air, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace are incorporated.
John Myrick, chairman of VIE, said he recently participated in a forum sponsored by the First District Democratic Club of Harford County, which brought together supporters and opponents of incorporation.
Myrick said he believes opponents were basing their position on partial information or misinformation.
Myrick said his group estimates that incorporation would mean a property tax increase of between $200 and $400 a year for a $100,000 home, which he feels is modest considering the increase in services.
It also would mean that the city of Edgewood would receive 17 percent of the state piggyback tax, which now goes to the county, he said.
"I grew up in an incorporated city, and one of the main reasons I moved to Edgewood was because it wasn't incorporated and I knew I wouldn't be ordinanced to death," said Latham, who grew up in Aberdeen. "No one wants to live in a place where there are higher taxes."
Said another opponent of incorporation, Samuel Gibson III: "All it would be is paying for a second layer of government, and I don't need a mayor and council to pay for."
Pub Date: 2/19/97