December 21st  Weekly e-Newsletter for the Village of Harper's Choice.
Symphony of Lights: Midnight at 7
Join the Howard County community in a dazzling New Year's Eve celebration! Symphony of Lights will be holding a fireworks display set to music on Sunday, December 31, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Merriweather Park. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. and fireworks will start at 7:00 p.m.
The Nutcracker at the Black Box Theatre
This month, the Black Box Theatre at the Howard County Arts Council will be presenting The Nutcracker, performed by the Columbia Chamber Ballet. The show is on December 22 at 7:30 p.m. and will last for approximately one hour. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at this website or at the door. Proceeds of this show will be donated to hurricane relief.
Charity Holiday Gift Wrap

Now - Sunday, December 24 

The Howard County General Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary is holding its annual gift wrap event from now until December 24 in the Mall in Columbia. Come by for all your holiday gift wrapping needs! 100% of the proceeds will go to the HCGH Lundy Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Women's History Month Essay Contest

The Commission for Women has announced the 2018 essay contest, open to all Howard County middle and high school students. Completed essays are due by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 22, 2018. Download the essay contest flier . For full contest rules, visit their website .
Apply Now for Columbia Association Scholarships Rewarding Teens for Community Service Efforts

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Maggie J. Brown Spirit of Columbia Scholarship Award.

Columbia Association's scholarship program offers up to six $2,500 awards to graduating high school seniors who exhibit exceptional efforts in providing community service to benefit Columbia residents and those in the Columbia area.

The students must live on CA-assessed property or have a parent/guardian who works full-time on or owns CA-assessed property. Applicants must be graduating in May/June 2018 from an accredited public, private or parochial high school, or be home-schooled in accordance with COMAR 13A.10.01. The students must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better.

Applications are available online at Completed applications must be submitted by March 15, 2018. For more information, call 410-715-3161 or email

CA employees, members of CA's Board of Directors, or family members of employees or members of the Board of Directors are not eligible to receive the award.

About Columbia Association
Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit community services corporation that manages Columbia, Maryland, a planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses - and was named the No. 1 small city to live in by Money Magazine in 2016. Additional information about CA is available at
Millennial Work Group Application Deadline: Friday, December 29
CA seeks volunteers between the ages of 17-35 who will provide ideas about how to reach, engage with, and provide exciting programming and activities for these residents. Interested community members may review and complete the application online. For more information, please email Jane Dembner at
2018 ACS Mentoring Program
GIVE YOURSELF A GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING... Sign up for the ACS 2018 Taking Flight Mentoring Program today!

The ACS Mentoring Program helps our members increase their professional development  by pairing new and experienced nonprofit leaders in mentor-protégé relationships.

The goal is to develop trusted relationships where challenges can be discussed and
opportunities explored. The new mentoring program will kick off January 30, 2018
at the NonProfit Collaborative from 9:00-11:00 AM. This program is free
for members and anyone from an ACS member organization is eligible to participate.
Registration is required. Click here for the benefits of participating in this program for
both mentors and prot'eg'es.
County Finance Department Will Accept Prepayment of County Property Taxes for 2018

ELLICOTT CITY, MD - The Howard County Department of Finance accepts prepayment of county property taxes. Tax payers must specify such payments are intended as prepayment of their future tax obligations.
Residents are requesting prepayment of county taxes based on recent changes affecting the federal property tax deduction passed earlier this week by the United States Congress, said Finance Director Stanley Milesky. The county will accept prepayments by December 31, but Milesky cautions it is unclear whether there will be tax benefits in making prepayments.
"In the coming months, the Internal Revenue Service will develop regulations regarding the tax changes," said Milesky. "We don't know if the IRS will allow residents who make the prepayments to have the tax benefits they are seeking," Milesky said.
County Executive Allan H. Kittleman agreed it is unknown what benefit, if any, would come from prepayment of property taxes for 2018.
"We don't know what the outcome will be, and we're not encouraging anyone to do this," said Kittleman. "We simply want to inform those who want to prepay that our finance department will hold prepaid taxes in escrow."
Pending changes to the federal tax plan have prompted residents to consider prepayment of local property taxes. The new tax plan passed by Congress could take effect as early as January 1, 2018 and could cap deductions for state and local property taxes at $10,000.
Howard County's property tax bills will go out July 1, 2018 and are due September 30, although residents have the option of making payments in two installments. Milesky said about 80 percent of county residents have their property taxes paid through their mortgage companies.  
Some residents believe prepaying property taxes before the new law takes effect could ultimately save them money, but the actual impact will not be clear for months, said Milesky.
He urged residents considering prepayment to consult their tax professionals, adding the county's Finance Department cannot offer advice on the issue. Interested residents should check the Department of Finance website at or call customer service at 410-313-2062.
Covenant Corner

Christmas & New Years Schedule
T here will NO curbside collection of recycling, yard trim and trash on Monday, Dec 25 or Monday, Jan 1. All curbside collection of recycling, yard trim and trash will slide and be made one day later those weeks. The Alpha Ridge Landfill and County offices will be CLOSED on Monday, December 25 and Monday, 
January 1.

Household Hazardous Waste
HHW drop-off is closed for the season until April at the Alpha Ridge Landfill. However, there will be special drop-off days on the first Saturday of the month: January 6, February 3 and March 3. Regular Saturday drop-off will reopen on Saturday, April 7, 2018.

Curbside Christmas Tree Recycling - Through January 19
Residents with curbside yard trim collection can place their tree out for pickup on their yard trim collection day. Trees that are placed out on trash collection day will not be collected during yard trim collection season. After January 19th, when curbside yard trim collection is no longer available, trees can be placed out for trash collection and will be sent to a landfill (please only use this as a last option). Not sure if you receive yard trim service? Call 410-313-6444.

Successful Recycling Pickup Tips:
Set your tree out the night before. Trees are picked up by the yard trim truck as early as 6am or as late as 7pm.
Remove all tinsel, garland, ornaments, lights, tree stands, plastic bags, etc.
No need to bag, but trees must be cut into less than 4-foot lengths and tied. Bundles must weigh less than 40 pounds.

Don't worry if it's past January 19!
You can still recycle your tree at the Alpha Ridge Wood Waste Area, Monday through Saturday, 8am to 4pm. (No plastic bags.)
Give the Gift of Giving

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland: Support senior citizens in the greater Howard County area by participating in one of their holiday service projects. Details on the projects can be found here. For additional ways to help, visit the volunteer website.

Serve Food on Christmas Day: Give back to a family in need during the holidays by serving food on Christmas Day, or any day this month. For more details, please take a look at VolunteerHoward's flyer on holiday opportunities and food insecurity.

Grassroots Crisis Center: Take a moment to read the 2017 holiday wish list. Wish list donated items need to be delivered by Wednesday, December 13 at 6700 Freetown Road in Columbia. Thank you in advance for your donations.

HopeWorks: This holiday season, you can support Howard County's domestic violence shelter by making a donation or volunteering your time at HopeWorks. Take a look at their holiday giving campaign here.

Healthy Families: Help first-time parents in Howard County access resources to promote stability for their families and prevent abuse by donating diapers of all sizes, baby formula and wipes, or gently used baby clothing size newborn through the age of 5. Call 410-715-3716 for more information.

Project Linus of Howard County:
Project Linus provides blankets to children who are seriously ill or traumatized. The organization is looking for donations of hand-made blankets, child-friendly fabrics, acrylic yarn in bright colors, and gift cards to stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Joann's, etc. For more information, please call 410-730-8865.

Have you visited us on Facebook lately?
Please join us on Facebook for up-to-date information about what's happening in and around the Harper's Choice Community.

Architectural Committee Meetings

Please check the calendar on our website for the latest meeting dates.
Changes made to the exterior of homes in Harper's Choice require approval of the Village Architectural Committee (AC).
The AC will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 7:30 PM to review applications. 

The deadline to submit applications for approval is two weeks prior to the next meeting date.
Village Board Meetings

The next meeting of the Village Board is scheduled for January 2nd at 7PM. Approved Agendas and Meeting Minutes are/will be available on our website.
Keeping You Informed
This weekly e-Newsletter serves as a recap of news and events we share with our community throughout the week via other social media channels. Connect with us on Facebook  and  Twitter  to receive more regular announcements and information from us.
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Village Manager
Facility Manager
Covenant Advisor
Melanie Jeffers
Event & Community Outreach Coordinator

Your Village Board
Village Board Member
Village Board Member
Village Board Member
Erik Avant**
Village Board Member
Alan Klein *
Columbia Council Rep

Village Board Member

* Term expires 4/30/18
** Term expires 4/30/19

5440 Old Tucker Row  Columbia, MD | 410.730.0770 | Email | Website