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Article Archive >> In Your County

Board of County Commissioners' Actions:Commissioners accept senior center funding, Hear update on Halfway Fire Company

Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners accept senior center funding, Hear update on Halfway Fire Company

In its regular meeting on July 20th, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners approved acceptance of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in the amount of $677,123.69 to assist in construction of the Senior Center.
On May 19th, 2009 the Board of County Commissioners discussed funding and possible locations for a new senior center. After discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to utilize CDBG program income of $673,511.11 for the senior center. On June 16th, 2009 the board approved selection of the site for the center on land owned by Hagerstown Community College. In April 2010, a letter was sent to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development updating the amount of program income, which had grown to $677,123.69, and to request a grant agreement in that amount for the construction of the senior center. Commissioners requested a legal decision on any restrictions on that funding. The possibility of recreation classes and HCC's use of the facility for night courses was discussed.
The Board discussed and approved continued funding for the Halfway Volunteer Fire Company. Following a meeting with the company's administrative and operational officers and County officials, Division of Emergency Services Director Kevin Lewis discussed meeting outcomes. Discussion points included continuance of open dialogue, collaborative efforts to develop future contingency plans for continuance of service delivery, and continuity of operations. In addition the Division of Emergency Services will continue to monitor statistical data specific to the company's provision of fire and emergency services.
It was determined that all funding would remain current while the Company's finances are reviewed by the County's Budget and Finance Department. Lewis assured the Commissioners that the Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway continues to provide a proper level of Fire and EMS services delivery.
In other actions, a School Mitigation Waiver was approved on a Clear Spring farm provided the farmer use any proceeds from selling lots for further support to that agriculture operation. John Horst requested the ability to subdivide an additional 6 lots on his property and mitigation would have been required under the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to alleviate school crowding. A $4,000 per lot mitigation fee would be charged if proceeds from the sale were not used to advance the farming activity.
The Board agreed to move ahead with scheduling a Public Hearing on proposed amendments to the Forest Conservation Ordinance. In this year's legislative session, the State Forest Conservation Fund Payment in Lieu amount was set at 30 cents per square foot of required planting in Priority Funding Areas. The legislation raises the amount to 36 cents per square foot for projects outside PFA's. Under the 2009 legislation the amount was the same regardless of whether a property was in a PFA or not. The legislation also stipulates that after September 30, 2014, Payment in Lieu of amounts must be at a rate adjusted for inflation for a project inside a PFA, and at a rate that is 20% higher for a project outside a PFA. A date for that hearing has not been set.
The Board approved modification of a memorandum of agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2677 as representatives of an additional 23 County employees in the Division of Environmental Protection. The wastewater collections and maintenance employees voted on March 4th to join that union.
Certificates of merit were presented to Mike Rohrer, Chief Plant Operator, Division of Environmental Management, and Rob Slocum, Director of Capital Projects Engineering on completion of the Certificate of Management program through Hagerstown Community College The program was set up to develop leadership skills among County staff. The employees were cited as exercising personal and professional commitment in completion of that course.
A Public Hearing was announced for August 3rd for proposed revisions to the Stormwater Management, Grading, Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance.
Division of Public Works Director Joe Kroboth told the Board that the State of Maryland has adopted new regulations with respect to stormwater management control for development and redevelopment projects. The Division of Public Works and the Soil Conservation District have drafted a new proposed ordinance for consideration by the Board of County Commissioners. The revised Ordinance is now available for review and comment. Copies may be obtained from contacting the Division of Public Works or downloading the document from the Land Development Engineering Department website. The proposed Ordinance covers stormwater management, grading activities and revises the existing Sediment and Erosion Control Ordinance. Time and location for that hearing will be announced at a later date.
Commissioners approved a request from the Community Action Council to submit the Emergency Shelter Grant application, the forthcoming grant and sub-recipient agreements to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
The annual grant, in the amount of $50,000 provides funds to prevent homelessness and to help improve the quality of existing emergency and transitional shelters for the homeless in Washington County. It is also designed to help meet the shelters' maintenance and operating costs and providing essential supportive services to those homeless individuals. Clients of Community Action Council, CASA, St. John's Family Shelter, and REACH, benefit from the funding.
County Administrator Greg Murray reported that a program providing information on the new Tax Differential method of setting property tax rates in municipalities is airing on Hagerstown's Channel 6 on Antietam Cable Television, on every even hour through the next several weeks. Then program features Murray and City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman.
Murray also told the Board that a Term Goal Review will be set in August to look at progress on the departmental goals and initiatives in support of Commissioners' goals over the past 4 years.
Under Staff Comments, Public Works Director Joe Kroboth reported that the ARRA stimulus project has begun at the Transit Department headquarters at 1000 West Washington Street, and that construction on the Transit Center on Franklin Street will begin July 26th. A meeting with representatives of Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance and allied agencies has been set and discussions have been held with the Maryland Historic Trust regarding the dam at Devil's Backbone Park. Hagerstown Regional Airport Director Carolyn Motz has announced her retirement, effective December 31st 2010. Kroboth Advised that the process for updating the job description should begin soon. Work on the old railroad station on Trego Road will begin August 3rd. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, owner of part of the land at that location, will conduct the demolition. Soil and lead paint testing have begun on-site, Kroboth said.
The Commissioners approved accepting the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention - Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $60,000.00 and adjusting the Sheriff's Department budget to that effect.
The Sheriff's Office plans to utilize the funding by purchasing eight additional in-car computers. These computers will run the E-Tix Programs, access MILES/NCIC intelligence information through Keystone Client, GOCCP's dashboard and allow deputies to do field reporting in their cruisers.
The Board appointed John Van Der Cruyssen and Eleanor Lakin to serve 3-year terms on the PenMar Development Corporation Board.

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