Edgewood Community News – March 2009 – Councilman Dion Guthrie’s Report

Cordish Company

Since my last report on the Cordish Company and their lack of improvements to the Edgewood Shopping Center, the following has been accomplished. We met with Mr. Cordish at the Edgewood Shopping Center to discuss the lack of capital improvements to the facility. Mr. Cordish has agreed to put a facelift on the entire shopping center and will start that part of the project by late spring or early summer.  He also has agreed to tear down the two buildings that are separate from the shopping center near the Southern Precinct Police Station.  In addition, he also has agreed to allow us to have our carnival this year on his parking lot in front of the old Giant store. Last year we made that request and were turned down. I am hoping that this will take place and that we are not getting the run around. I have no reason to believe this won’t take place but we are all keeping our fingers crossed.

Waste-to-Energy Facility

As you all know, the State, County and APG are planning to build an extension to the waste-to-energy facility which now exists at the end of Rt. 152, just before you enter APG. This new facility will “dwarf” the existing facility. It will be 4 times larger than the existing facility. Right now we burn about 360 tons of trash a day. When the new facility is built, it will increase to 1,500 tons a day, which will mean an estimated increase in truck traffic on Rt. 152. In addition, trucks will now run 24/6. That means 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. Right now the trucks only run day light hours. I am trying to get a road cut in off of Rt. 24 to enter the rear of the incinerator plant. My meetings with Garrison Commander Colonel Jeffrey Wiseman have indicated that he also favors such a road. APG is donating 34 acres to the State and the County to build the new plant. He also agrees to donate the land needed to put in the road coming to the rear of the facility.

The Administration of the County stated that they were opposed to my amendments on this bill that would create this facility because they stated that APG was opposed to it. Not true. The Garrison Commander, Colonel Wiseman, after attending the open meeting on this subject at Magnolia Middle School, was firmly in favor of it. The funding to build the roads is the question. I have met with County Executive Jim Smith of Baltimore County and he has agreed to come forward with $1.5 million for the new road. I am also working with Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger to find out if there can’t be some money in the “Stimulus Package” for this project. The entire road would be on APG property. We will need to bring this to a head no later than March 10, 2009 as that is the last day that these bills for this plant can be voted on by the County Council.

Harford County Offers Assistance to Those Facing Foreclosure

Harford County is taking action to help curb the number of potential foreclosures facing homeowners in Harford County. The initiative is a joint effort of the Harford County Housing Agency, the Law Department, the Treasury Department, and the Department of Community Services.

During this period of economic turmoil, citizens are looking to government to help them find ways to keep from losing their homes. Difficult times require leadership and the County is stepping up our efforts to help individuals and families keep their dreams alive and maintain ownership of their homes.

The multi-faceted approach includes counseling services by HUD certified counselors with the Harford County Housing Agency. The Housing Agency will work with families to help find solutions and advises them of their rights and obligations. All counseling is private and confidential in nature.

Attorneys with the Harford County Law Department will continue to provide assistance regarding foreclosures to the staff of the Housing Agency. The Law Department will also be working with the Housing Agency to help identify foreclosure scams. Often elderly and distressed families who cannot meet or who have fallen behind in their mortgage payments are the target of predatory scams.

Residents, who may be in danger of losing their homes because they cannot pay their property taxes, will have the opportunity to enroll in a deferred tax program of the Harford County Department of Treasury. This program allows qualified residents to establish a payment schedule with the County. Applications for this initiative will be available in March of 2009.

Additionally, HUD has provided the Department of Housing and Community development with more than $26,704,000 to distribute under Federal Law HR 3221, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The Harford County Department of Community Services and the Housing Agency are working together to obtain resources provided under HR 3221 to assist County residents.

Harford County is working hard to support families in need during these difficult times. It is important to remember two things: first, help is available; secondly, the sooner you contact the Housing Agency, the better chance one has of avoiding foreclosure. Also additional help can be found with foreclosure avoidance by going to www.mdhope.org.

During the first quarter of 2008, Harford County recorded 321 property foreclosure events, accounting for 2.8% of the total in the State. Additionally, this represented a 13% increase over the 284 recorded property foreclosure events during the fourth quarter of 2007.

It is my hope that we can revise the trend in coming months, particularly with the President’s Stimulus Package.