By J.J. McQueen,
Special to the AFRO

During the 2021 legislative session, HB1226 was one that could have opened doors for small communities within Harford County’s district 34-A to become municipalities. If approved, communities like Edgewoond and Joppatowne would have had the approval to form their own local governments within Harford County. 

Why is this an important item? 

With the current HB0042 bill on the table, the Harford County Council is tasked with making a decision whether to agree on moving forward with the proposal, or vetoing it and leaving the decision up to the registered voters of the area in question. In order for the residents to make a real impact in the decision, at least 40% of the registered voters have to petition a request for referendum in order for the ask to become valid. 

Why would this community benefit from forming it’s on local government?  

In recent years, the Edgewood and Joppatowne communities of Harford County have openly expressed their concerns about the lack of financial investment in the southern portion of the Route 40 Corridor by its County Council. These concerns range from water testing of the Mariner Point Park waterways, air and noise pollution due to construction vehicles, delayed renovations for the Edgewood and Joppatowne schools, and the lack of funds allocated for a community resource center for youth and senior residents. 

Additionally, both communities have expressed their in-ability to attract some big box investors due to the poor relationships and in action of its county leaders. 

These are also concerning topics for pioneering Harford County Councilman Andre Johnson. 

“We have to do what’s best for the residents on both ends of the county, and that means making sure that their needs are met in a balanced way.”

The last time that a petition of this magnitude in Maryland was successful was in 1996. It was the formation of the Village of North Chevy Chase. According to the Fiscal and Policy note of HB1226, in 1997, the Harford County Council rejected a similar petition from the community of Edgewood. 

If the referendum is approved, the decision could reshape the financial structure of Harford County. 

To find out more on how municipalities are form and why, click here

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