Harford County Council held a public hearing for the government employee bonuses bill.
County Executive David Craig, who was not present, has recommended that county, public schools and library employees should receive a one-time $1,250 bonus. Craig's proposal is in light of the county's $32 million surplus.
Read highlights from the County Council meeting to see reaction from council members and union leaders.
The meeting is adjourned.
Councilman Slutzky said Aberdeen Councilwoman Ruth Ann Young has arranged the Maryland Transportation Authority to present a plan for the revitalization of downtown Aberdeen for next week's County Council meeting.
Councilman Guthrie said he wants state deligation to look into legislation for biodegradable crabbing cages to save sea creatures that become stuck in cages are lost from fishermen.
Councilman Slutzky accepts his role as the council vice president for next year.
The "emergency" water and sewer capital project fund balance transfer bill was approved 7-0. In addition, the water and sewer capital program resolution was approved 7-0.
The building and mechanics codes 2012 bill with approved ammendements was approved 7-0.
Ammendements to the funds balance transfer -- special pays bill will not be voted on.
Ammendments to the building and mechanics codes 2012, which includes the requirement of fire sprinklers in single-family houses and duplexes, were approved 6-1 with Councilwoman Lisanti voting no.
Ammendments to the ethics code repeal were approved 7-0.
Ammendents to the ethics code repeal, building and mechanics codes 2012 and funds balance transfer -- special pays were introduced.
The pawnbrokers, personnel -- classified service, tax credit for properties near refuse disposal system, water and sewer code changes -- connection charges and water and sewer rates and usage bills were introduced.
The Water and Sewer Capital Program resolution was not introduced. Boniface recommends waiting until after the previously mentioned water and sewer bill (6:34) is voted on.
Councilman Richard Slutzky gives the opening prayer.
The legislative session is now begining.
The public hearing has ended.
A Harford County resident argues with Boniface to testify even though she did not sign up beforehand.
Dave Pridgeon, a Harford County resident: "I stand tonight as a tired man." This money needs to go into a rainy day fund. There could be heavy layoffs in future years, and we need to prepare for future years. The only winner is David Craig, who is running for governor and trying to build relations with the unions.
Harfound County Education Association President Randy Cerveny: While we agree with additional compensation for educational employees, we don't agree with the Craig's proposal. It should be left to the Board of Education as to how these funds should be distributed.
Michael Keeney of the Maryland Classified Employees Association: We've been partnering with county since 1973. "Now is the time for the county to keep it's promise" and approve the government employee bonuses.
Verna White, a resident of Baldwin: The taxpayers should have known about the tax surplus as soon as Craig found out. I'm asking you to vote no in hopes of returning the entire $32 million to the taxpayers.
Public testimony is now open.
Boniface: It's the unknown of the next budgeting cycle that makes us concerned to spend this money now.
Giorno: There is no indication as to how the remaining $21 million in surplus will be spent.
The county employee bonuses bill will not affect the county rainy day fund.
The cost of living in Harford County has increased the last three years.
The bonus would come in two payments: one on Dec. 23 and another one in June 2012.
Councilman Chad Shrodes: I'm worried as to how this looks for state politicians, whom may want to cut things in this county if it looks rich.
A Harford County executive office spokesman said that the surplus came from a lower unemployment rate than expected in 2010 and 2011, which brought in more taxes.
Councilman Dion F. Guthrie: I'm sure employees who took "weeks and weeks" of furlough days are confused as to why there is now a surplus in funds.
Giornio states it was only five to seven furlough days.
Giorno: The passing of the employee bonuses bill won't prevent the possibility of salary raises within the next year.
Boniface to Giorno: "How can you be sure we don't end up in a short fall?"
Giorno: The bonuses amount of $11 million of $32 million of the available funds.
Council President Billy Boniface suggests County Executive David Craig should be at the meeting tonight to talk about his recommendation of employee bonuses.
Giorno is now introducing the county employee bonuses bill.
There is no participants in the public hearing for the Water and Sewer bill.
Harford County Legislative Liaison Nancy Giorno said the Water and Sewer Capital Project Fund Balance Transfer is an emergency bill to keep drinking water safe.
All council members are now here with Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti now arriving.
Our poll closes in 35 minutes. Do you support a one-time $1,250 bonus for county employees?
Many county workers, including police, construction workers and teachers, are now entering the council chambers.
The County Council meeting begins in 15 minutes. There's a gathering of about 20 people outside the AA Roberty Building. A woman said that the people are here for the public hearing on the government employee bonuses.