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Board of County Commissioners Actions: Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Board of County Commissioners Actions
Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Each week the Board of County Commissioners sets aside time to hear from citizens of Washington County on matters of importance to the community.
Hagerstown City Councilperson Penny Nigh distributed a CD containing an anti-drug program to the Board and asked for support on anti-drug legislation at the state level. All City Council members should be made privy to information from "2+2" Committee meetings, and a second hospital should be brought to the County to offset current Trauma Center limitations, Nigh said.
Jerry Ditto of Clear Spring commented against the need for Civil Citations being issued by Codes Inspectors, questioned the use of alcohol at the Ag Center event described earlier and commented on parking issues regarding large events held at the Ag Center Park.
Sheriff Doug Mullendore and Sergeant Daryl Sanders brought this request, to accept a grant from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention for the period from January 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008. The request was to award the funds in the amount of $109,318.00 in order that Budget and Finance can continue and/or add the line item for disbursement purposes. The grant would address the need for a cohesive strategy for the investigation of criminal gang activities, sharing of information and development of strategies for the enforcement and suppression of criminal gang activity in Washington County. A Hagerstown City Officer would be assigned to the Gang Task Force and future funding would be sought to fund a Sheriff's Deputy in a like position. A coalition of community groups banded together to apply for the 18-month grant. The measure was approved by unanimous vote. The grant will be taken before the Mayor and Council of Hagerstown in its afternoon meeting for approval, Mullendore said.
Brien Poffenberger, President of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and Lobbyist Michael Johansen, an Attorney with Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver brought this report to the Board. The County has joined with the Chamber, CHIEF, The Greater Hagerstown Committee, and the City of Hagerstown to hire a lobbyist to represent Washington County's interest in Annapolis. Representatives from the five partners agreed on four issues for the 2007 lobbying program including Securing State Funding for Library Expansion, Protecting State Funding for Central Booking, Reform of the Prisoner Release Program, and Funding the Agricultural Commercialization Program. Johansen told the Board that the lobbying effort was successful in the 2006 legislative session. Discussion centered on Library Funding. The County has not seen a proposal from the Library for the FY '08 Capital Improvement Project budget as yet. On the issue of Prisoner release, Commissioner Aleshire asked if the project is "doable" or if there are federal or state regulations that prohibit change in the corrections process. Johansen told the Board that the list is preliminary and may be modified. Johansen said a meeting between the Commissioners and state legislative leaders would probably take place on the 21st or 28th of February.

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