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Harford County government will spend nearly $5 million on improvements to the Bush Creek Sewage Pumping Station in Abingdon.

During the Harford County Board of Estimates meeting Thursday, the board approved a contract in the amount of $4,941,000 with Pizzagalli Construction Company, of South Burlington, Vt.

The project includes improvements to the existing Bush Creek Sewage Pumping Station and the installation of a new gravity sewer line for the Lower Bynum Interceptor Sewer.

County Council President Billy Boniface was absent from Thursday's meeting, but sent Councilman Jim McMahan instead. McMahan voted against the contract for the pump station improvements.

McMahan said he is a firm believer in "buy local," and that he supports local construction companies.

"Why should a Vermont company get a $5 million contract when local companies can do the job?" McMahan said.

Rewarding local companies with a contract is the "greatest stimulus package ever," McMahan said.

Also during Thursday's meeting, the board approved the surplus of property known as Proctor House, 54 Gordon St., to the town of Bel Air in the amount of $200,000.

Kelly Financial Group, LLC, whose office is next to the vacant, wood frame house will get a tax credit up to $100,000 for its planned work in restoring the property.

The Proctor House historic tax credit is one of four statewide that were announced Jan. 8 during a ceremony in Baltimore attended by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Formerly used for offices by the board of education, the Proctor House is at 54 E. Gordon Street.

In October 2007, the county council adopted Resolution 22-07 approving the surplus of this property.

On Oct. 11, 2007, the board of estimates approved the surplus of this property to the town of Bel Air for the appraised value of $300,000 to be paid after sale of the property.

On May 29, 2008, Structural Preservation Systems submitted the highest bid submitted for the property at $250,000 as was approved by the board of estimates on August 7, 2008.

Carol Deibel, Bel Air's director of planning, said the Structural Preservation Systems decided not to move forward, mainly because of the economy.

Kelly Financial Group, LLC was the second-highest bidder during the town's search for a new owner. The firm agreed to buy the house, if it could get the tax credit.

Deibel said Kelly Financial Group, LLC, will expand its offices into the Proctor House, but the exterior will remain the same.

Structural Preservation Systems had originally intended to invest an additional $450,000 in the house, turning it into either a bed and breakfast or an office building.

This property has been vacant for almost five years, according to the action agenda from the board of estimates.

The town of Bel Air has a potential purchaser who will retain and restore the house's historic significance. But due to the economic climate the town is requesting a decrease in the purchase price to $200,000.

The board also approved a parking lease agreement to Miranda Yost for the amount of $40 per month. The agreement is for one parking space at the county-owned property known as 119 Hays Street in Bel Air.

Following the public portion of Thursday's meeting, the board voted unanimously to hold a closed session to discuss two road improvement projects and small easements.

During its earlier meeting on Jan. 14, the board approved a contract with Hatch Mott MacDonald, of Hunt Valley, for $359,490.17 for design services required for the Joppatowne Wastewater Treatment Plant enhanced nutrient removal upgrade.

The board also voted to award a contract for $53,000 to L.J. Brossoit & Sons Inc., of Baltimore, for on-site welding services at the Harford Waste Disposal Center on an on-call basis.

Following the public portion of the meeting, the board voted unanimously to hold a closed session to discuss a water main project and road project.


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