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Board of County Commissioners' Actions: Commissioners hear budget recommendations

Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners hear budget recommendations

As part of its regular meeting on March 15th, 2011, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners heard Fiscal Year 2012 Budget presentations from Hagerstown Community College, Department of Solid Waste and Human Resources' Personnel requests
The FY 2012 budget proposal from the Department of Solid Waste (DSW), has a total of operating cost of $7.63 million. Due to reductions in the waste stream at the landfill a shortfall of $549,750 is expected.
DSW Director Cliff Engle presented a number of options to alleviate that deficit, including possibility of raising certain fees, removing recycling bins from inside Hagerstown city limits, and imposing a fee for support of recycling.
Proposed fee increases included $5 for regular, non-senior, permit fees to $130 per year, additions to municipal and commercial tipping fees, increasing the minimum scale fee and a new $15 fee to dispose of mattresses. Yard debris would rise $3 per ton, mulch costs would go up $5 per ton, the price for Compost would rise $8 per ton, tire recycling would go up by fifty cents and the cost of bulk tire recycling would rise by $22 per ton. County citizens could purchase a second Residents residential permit for $62.50 per year.
Transfer stations would be open 5 days per week instead of 6, and reductions in overtime would add to cost savings.
42% of the recycling tonnage comes from within the City of Hagerstown, while 43% of cost is associated with the same bins. City residents already have curbside recycling included as part of the trash fee. Savings would amount to $200,000.00 if those bins were removed.
All budget items will be reviewed on a line item basis prior to approval.
Only two new full-time positions would be created through requests from County departments. Human Resources Director Bill Sonnik told the Board that departments had requested 6.5 new positions, and all but two FTE were eliminated.
The Elections Board would see two new part-time Board members at a cost of $9,710. Communications Maintenance would see two part-time electronic technicians hired in January, 2012 at a cost of $30,070.00.
County employees were not proposed to receive increases in wages, salaries or cost of living, while employee health benefit costs would increase by about 10%.
All budgets will receive line-item review prior to approval.
Hagerstown Community College requested an increase of $135,680.00 in its appropriation from County Government for FY 2012. The 1.5% increase represents about 0.4% of the College's overall budget. HCC Officials cited increases in contracted services, materials and supplies, subsidies and grants, fixed expenses and salaries and benefits.
In other actions, the Board heard a report on Hunger in Washington County from members of the Washington County Hunger Group. Pam Christoffel represented the coalition of 20 non-profit organizations and individuals concerned with the problem of hunger in Washington County.
The group asked the Commissioners to support its efforts and be advocates for elimination of hunger in the County.
Statistics presented by the coalition showed the number of children under 18 in poverty at 16% for the County in 2009. Food Stamp program participants increased by over 3,000 from January 2010 to January 2011. 700 new students had been added to free lunch and breakfast programs in the current school year.
The group is meeting to discuss problems and solutions, visiting with the emergency food pantries, school nutrition representatives, extension service agents and similar operations in other states. The group is urging local gardeners and farmers to donate fresh produce to local food banks for distribution.
The Commissioners deferred action on renewal of a contract for Real Property Acquisition Services right-of-way related support from outside consultants. Commissioners requested further information on the amounts spent over the past three-year contract period.
Four new Washington County employees were introduced to the Board. Mauri Rodriguez moved from part time to full time Bus Operator in the Transit Department,
Carl Palmer is a new Equipment Operator I at Highways Southern Section, Lucas Barnhart was recently hired as a Plant Operator Trainee at the Water Quality Conococheague plant and Austen McCarter is a new Plant Operator Trainee at the Smithsburg Water Treatment Plant.
Under Citizen Participation, Vickie Chapman of Hagerstown commented on the restructuring plan relating to homeowner issues.
Under appointments to Boards and Commissions, Heather Guessford, Loretta Wright, and Rose Wolters were appointed to the Washington County Commission for Women, to first, three-year terms, Bonnie Errico was reappointed, to a second, three-year term.
Arnold Eby and Charles Semler were reappointed to the Washington County Plumbing Board, to second, three-year terms.

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