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Article Archive >> In Your County

Board of County Commissioners' Actions: Commissioners Approve Transit Center, Finalize Emergency Medical Service Staffing

PHOTO CAP: Maryland Transportation Administration Head visits County Commuter on June 7th L-R James F. Kercheval - Wash. Co. Commissioner; Beth Kreider - Director, MTA Office of Local Transit Support; Ralign Wells - MTA Administrator; Kevin Cerrone - Director, Wash. Co. Transit; Kristin B. Aleshire - Wash. Co. Commissioner; Lenny Howard - Manager, MTA Statewide Planning


Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners Approve Transit Center, Finalize Emergency Medical Service Staffing

In its regular meeting on June 8th, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve the bid contract for the Transit Transfer Center and lot to Callas Contractors of Hagerstown in the amount of $1.01 million.
Commissioner's President John Barr told the Board that his company, Ellsworth Electric, which had been a subcontractor on the project, was removing its portion of the bid to offset any perception of a conflict, following a tie vote one week ago, with Barr abstaining.
The Transit Center will be built with a combination of Federal and County funds, and a further delay in approval of the bid would have meant loss of about $250,000 in federal money from the Neighborhood Conservation Initiative.
The project, featuring off-street bus parking and passenger shelters will allow a move of the transit transfer point, which is now located beneath the railroad overpass on West Washington Street. A parking lot for County employees will also be constructed. The Center will be located on West Franklin Street between Jonathan and North Prospect Streets beginning at the former bank drive-through site.
Commissioners discussed the visit of Maryland Transportation Administration head Ralign Wells to County Commuter on Monday. The visit included a tour of the transit headquarters at 1000 West Washington Street and a bus tour ending with a visit to the proposed transfer center site.
The Board approved and formalized an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Staffing Agreement, developed by the County Attorney's Office, Division of Emergency Services, and the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (WCVFRA).
The purpose of the "Emergency Medical Services Plan for the Future" is to create a strategic plan, phased for implementation in such a way that the volunteer component of the emergency medical services system will be preserved and a customarily high level of emergency medical services will be provided to the citizens in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible. The primary objectives remain, to preserve the volunteer component of the emergency medical services system; and enhance the level of emergency medical services provided to the citizens of Washington County.
The agreement would allow for $1.7 million in funding to the County's EMS companies to ensure paid staff on duty around the clock 7 days per week.
The Association's 8 companies would agree to provide full disclosure of financial activities in order to monitor the proper and appropriate use of public funds raised by and distributed to Washington County Volunteer Fire, Rescue and Ambulance Companies.
In its presentation, the Division of Emergency Services said, "To make informed decisions regarding allocation of funds for public safety services, the Board of County Commissioners needs financial information at least annually. Public funds are distributed to volunteer fire, rescue and ambulance companies in Washington County for the purpose of supporting fire protection and life safety initiatives and to ensure the provision of public safety services to the citizens. Furthermore, citizens contribute to these companies with the expectation that their donations are being used for the direct provision of emergency services. Therefore, to ensure confidence in the use of these financial resources, the Board of County Commissioners wishes to establish a procedure for reporting and auditing the financial activity of volunteer fire, rescue and ambulance companies."
That policy would withhold subsidy payments to EMS companies that did not provide timely and adequate reporting on operations and finances, and impose penalties for late reporting.
Representatives of the EMS companies and the WCVFRA attended the meeting.
In other actions, the Board awarded a contract for construction of a Fuel Center at the Southern Section of the County Highways Department at Keedysville, to the low bidding firm of Commercial Fuel Systems, Inc. for the amount of $289,965.
The project involves construction of a fuel system to include an above-ground storage tank, fuel dispensers with fleet management and monitoring system, dispenser island, island canopy, fueling slab, and all associated piping and wiring. In conjunction with the proposed fuel center, the existing onsite underground diesel fuel tank will also be upgraded to comply with current standards. This facility will be useable to all County vehicles, Sheriff's Office vehicles, and the Board of Education vehicles. Fire and Rescue companies will also be able to utilize the fuel station. The facility will save staff time and fuel for those operating in the general vicinity.
Under Citizens' Participation, Sally Hatch of Beaver Creek announced a meeting of the Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance dealing with a proposal to remove the dam at Devils' Backbone Park.
Commissioners approved moving forward with a Public Hearing on July 6th, after hearing a report from Permits and Inspections (P&I) Director Dan Divito and Deputy Director Angie Smith on the possible repeal of existing Residential, Building, Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical, and Fuel Gas Codes with local amendments and adoption of the 2009 Residential, Building, Mechanical, Plumbing, NEC 2005 Electrical Code, Electrical Administration, and Fuel Gas codes with local amendments
International Code Council Residential, Building, Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical Administration, and Fuel Gas Codes are updated every three years. The State of Maryland has adopted these codes as The Maryland Building Performance Standards effective January 1, 2010. In order to conform to Maryland State standards and State Law and to allow for the latest in technological advances in the construction industry, P&I recommended that Washington County adopt the codes with local amendments.
In January, the Maryland Codes Administration announced adoption of the 2006 ICC Residential and Building codes as the Maryland State Building Performance Standards. Subsequent announcements from DLLR Plumbing and HVAC Commissions followed adopting the relevant ICC code updates. The Code Review Committee studied changes to the Codes and at the same time, the Washington County Plumbing Board and the Electrical Board of Examiners and Supervisors convened to review any changes in their respective codes. These Boards met weekly for several months and reviewed the proposed new codes as well as existing local amendments.
Recommendations included requiring all new homes to be equipped with fire-suppressant sprinkler systems. DiVito told the Board that many of the State's Counties had already adopted the measure. The State is pushing toward full adoption, which would add about $5,000 to the cost of a house.
Commissioners approved award of the contract for Physical Examination Services to Health@Work of Hagerstown in the base bid amount of $72,211.60.

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