Harford Co. set to help areas affected by Hurricanes Irma, Harvey

Proposed bill sets aside $100,000 for relief
Posted at 11:46 PM, Oct 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-10 23:48:04-04

Harford County leaders are considering putting aside $100,000 for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief efforts.

It's a bill that puts that money aside to pay for resources to help rebuild after the hurricanes left devastation in their wakes.

"We feel compelled to continue to help other counties across the nation," said Harford County Council president, Richard Slutzky.

County Executive Barry Glassman proposed the bill and the council is behind it, harkening to a time when Harford County dealt with hurricane recovery.

"We had Hurricane Agnes that came through Harford County and we were badly damaged at that time and other counties and municipalities came to our assistance," Slutzky said.

But the money, which comes from the county's unassigned fund balance, won't just be funneled to badly damaged areas.

"What this is doing is just more procedurally in asking for an appropriation from the council to cover us for any reimbursements on any personnel or assistance that we offer," Harford County Director of Administration, Billy Boniface, told ABC2.

So the county won't simply cutting a check to help other areas.  Basically the money, if requested, would pay for deploying crews, vehicles or equipment to affected areas in need of relief.  Still, not everyone is on board.

"I could understand if this were Maryland aid, perhaps we would want to help another county this is far away and I don't think it's the business of or the job of local government to appropriate money for that type of thing," Harford County resident, Jean Salvatore, said. 

County leadership provided similar assistance after Hurricane Katrina.  If the funds aren't used to help Irma or Harvey relief, they will go back into the county's fund balance at the end of the fiscal year. 

Council members heard public testimony on the bill Tuesday night; only two people opposed it.

The council is expected to take up the bill for a possible vote at next Tuesday's meeting.