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The turnout was slim for the second night of the Harford County Council's public hearing on the 2012 budget, held Thursday at Edgewood High School.

Only about 18 people sat in the auditorium and a handful spoke, mostly to again urge the council to support the Churchville library and sports complex.

Arden McClune, director of the recreation and parks department, was on hand, and Council President Billy Boniface said afterward that the sports complex is going to be built with or without the library.

"People need to understand the recreation piece is moving forward," he said after the meeting.

Donald Simonetti, of Jarrettsville, told the council he is active with the Churchville Recreation Council and hopes the science center and library move forward as well.

He said his children are homeschooled, and part of a group of at least 160 homeschooled children in the area.

"A science center and library are two of the resources the homeschoolers use quite a bit," Simonetti said.

The library system as a whole also got support from Don Hepner, of Joppa, who said the Joppatowne branch proved invaluable to him after he lost his job in March.

He said the branch connected him with a volunteer who helped him use the computer to find work.

"I didn't know the first thing about computers," Hepner said. "I couldn't have done this without the help of the library and their computers."

Several representatives for The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region also came out to encourage the council to support the organization for the developmentally disabled.

Teresa Herbert, of Aberdeen and Anne Cerruto, of Churchville, whose children get support from The Arc, said they wanted to put a face to the organization.

Herbert told the council her son, Jesse, has Down syndrome and autism, and she would not have imagined, back when she was graduating from Bel Air High School, that she would be in the situation she is.

"This is not what I had in the plans," Herbert said, becoming emotional. "I thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for the support of The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region."

Lester Harris, of Aberdeen, said he gets services from The Arc that he also needs to continue his job with Aerotek.

"When Harford [Transit] is closed, The Arc provides my transportation to and from work," Harris said. "I thank you for your support of The Arc."

Boniface said after the meeting he is continuing to meet with County Executive David Craig to work on budget issues, especially debt service, which he said is "a concern."

Otherwise, he said, the new budget seems pretty set, which may be reflected in the low turnout for the two public hearings, Wednesday at North Harford High and Thursday at Joppatowne.

"The budget is what it is," Boniface said, pointing out it has been flatlined and there is no tax increase.



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