House bill

Legislative brief: Bill HB0042 on the Municipal Chamber of Incorporation

By JJ McQueen,
Special at AFRO

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

Why is this an important element?

With the current HB0042 bill on the table, Harford County Council is responsible for deciding whether to go ahead with the proposal, or veto it and leave the decision to registered voters in the area in question. For residents to have a real impact on the decision, at least 40% of registered voters must apply for a referendum for the application to become valid.

Why would this community benefit from his local government training?

In recent years, the communities of Edgewood and Joppatowne in Harford County have openly expressed 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 Mariner Point Park waterways, to air and noise pollution from construction vehicles, renovation delays at Edgewood and Joppatowne schools, and lack of funds allocated to a community resource center for youth and seniors.

Additionally, both communities expressed their inability to attract big-box investors due to poor relations and the action of its county leaders.

These are also matters of concern for Harford County Pioneer Councilor Andre Johnson.

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

The last time 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 budget and policy note of the HB1226in 1997 Harford County Council denied a similar petition from the community of Edgewood.

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

To learn more about how municipalities are formed and why, click on here.

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