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County Comment: Breaking New Ground and Reaching New Accord

County Comment
Breaking New Ground and Reaching New Accord
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

On October 24 the Washington County Board of County Commissioners attended groundbreaking ceremonies for the $2 million Boonsboro Branch of the Washington County Free Library. Commissioners' President Greg Snook represented the Board in turning the earth, along with representatives of federal, state and local government as well as libraries' boards of directors.
State Senator Don Munson, Delegate Chris Shank, Mayor Skip Kauffman, Juliana Albowicz representing Senator Barbara Mikulski, Tim McGrath of Senator Paul Sarbanes Office, Jeanine Solberg of the Boonsboro Library Board and Washington County Free Library Board of Trustees President John Hershey, III used golden spades to turn the earth.
The bid for the project was let on September 26 to the lowest acceptable bidder, Callas Contractors at a total of $2.05 million.
On that day, Kauffman and Free Library Director Mary Baykan told the Commissioners that after three years of fund raising by the Boonsboro community, $1,583,614.51 has been secured to build the library branch, and there another $430,000 has been pledged.
The modern library will hold an expanded book collection and have high speed Internet, CD's, books on disc, study and research space, plus a meeting room for children's and adult programs.
The branch is being built along Maryland Route 34 west of the town, and replaces the current location, an old bank building on U.S. 40-Alternate near the Town Square. Construction is expected to be complete in the fall of 2007.
On October 25, the Washington County Gaming Office and the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Company held a joint press conference at the Clear Spring Fire Hall to announce a resolution of past violations.
On October 16, the Washington County Gaming Office entered into a settlement agreement with the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Company resolving violations of the Washington County Gaming Regulations. The Gaming Office took great care to ensure the integrity of Washington County gaming while at the same time enabling the Fire Company to continue the necessary fundraising to support its firefighting efforts. The Gaming Office is satisfied that these two goals have been accomplished. The agreement between the Gaming Office and the Fire Company includes assurances that the Fire Company will comply with all gaming regulations, and will undertake acceptable record keeping practices.
The Gaming Office received open and full cooperation from the leadership of the Fire Company throughout this investigation. Members of the Fire Company initially brought the deficiencies to the attention of the Gaming Office. Without their cooperation these deficiencies would have been more difficult to correct. The Fire Company has demonstrated by its actions its desire and intent to restructure its gaming operations to comply with all local and state gaming regulations. The Gaming Office has worked and will continue working with the management of the Fire Company to assist them in the resumption of fundraising activities.
The fact that these violations were reported, properly investigated, and adjudicated serves as evidence that the system of gaming regulation instituted in 1995 by the Maryland General Assembly and the Board of County Commissioners works effectively as intended.
The Gaming Office takes very seriously any and all allegations of gaming violations. The Gaming Office routinely investigates any alleged violations of the County's gaming regulations and has established a system of checks and balances that ensures accountability by all license holders. Washington County requires that tip jar operator's comply with all regulations and submit to audits at the request of the Gaming Office.

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