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Bel Air commissioners approve Thanksgiving holiday pay, check signing policy

Sworn police officers with the Bel Air Police Department will receive holiday pay for shifts worked on Thanksgiving, the Board of Town Commissioners decided Monday.

The commissioners approved the policy during Monday evening's Town Hall meeting after Joyce Oliver, Bel Air's director of administration, recommended it. Police officers are paid time-and-a-half for working normal shifts on the Fourth of July and Christmas, Oliver said, and the amended policy would allow for Thanksgiving pay as well.

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In doing this, she added, it would allow the police department to better staff the holiday as well as show appreciation for the officers. The money was included in the fiscal year 2012 budget and, according to Police Chief Leo Matrangola, it should cost $2,000.

Commissioners also approved an amended check signing policy, which was more for "housekeeping," Director of Finance Lisa Moody said, in order to remove former commissioner Terence Hanley's name from the approved signers list and add new Commissioner Susan Burdette.

Sustainable Communities

Bel Air Commissioners also approved a resolution, submitted by Planning Director Kevin Small, to reinstate the town's designation as a sustainable community through the State of Maryland.

The Sustainable Communities Act of 2010, according to Small, authorizes tax credits and funding for such communities and Bel Air's current designation is set to expire in 2012. The Sustainable Communities action plan needs to be submitted to the state to renew the designation.

Noted in the plan are several goals, Small said, including creating a safe and walkable community, enhancing economic competitiveness and providing more transportation options.

Other Business

French Poole, a town resident, welcomed Burdette to the town board and asked the town board about several portable toilets by the Ewing Street parking lot, to which Matrangola said he would look into.

Mayor Eddie Hopkins recognized and thanked members of the police department for their work catching Rakim Raid Muhammad, who recently entered a guilty plea for second-degree murder in connection with a 2010 fatal shooting outside an American Legion Post on Bond Street.

The next Bel Air town meeting will be Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall at 39 N. Hickory Ave.

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