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Article Archive >> In Your County

County Comment: How a Polecat Helped Improve Public Safety

County Comment
How a Polecat Helped Improve Public Safety
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

The Board of County Commissioners turned a polecat over to private ownership on Tuesday, April 3 and helped make Public Safety Communications a littler better in Washington County.
Well, not exactly a polecat, but 2.4 miles of unpaved, non-maintained roadbed called Polecat Hollow Road off Blair's Valley Road near Clear Spring. The county had owned the road since the 1700's, mainly a dirt and stone track on Washington County Sportsman's Club (WCSC) property.
Club members said that there have been numerous complaints of trash dumping and trespassing with off-road vehicles and recreational vehicles leaving the roadbed and vandalizing property. In exchange the club would donate a parcel of land for a communications equipment site on its property, and guarantee that the County would have access to the site to maintain that equipment.
The Department of Public Works said it did not anticipate development of the road for public use at any time in the future along the route it follows today.
The equipment site is necessary to provide adequate communications coverage in the Blair's Valley Lake area, which is shadowed for service by the mountains. DPW Director Joe Kroboth said that Blair's Valley is one of the weakest spots for public safety communications in the County.
In a related move, Kroboth requested that the Board authorize execution of a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Maryland and Washington County to cost share and complete Public Safety Communications System (PSCS) site developments.
The 23-million dollar PSCS project will allow, for the first time, all public safety responders, police, fire and ambulance service to communicate with each other using the same frequency. The system requires the development of new equipment sites along with improvements to existing sites.
DPW negotiated an agreement with the State of Maryland that would allow the state to be a partner in the cost for these site improvements. In exchange for cost sharing the County would provide space in its equipment shelters for state communications equipment, and the state would do likewise.
The site work would be competitively bid by the Maryland Department of Budget and Management and DPW would manage the project. Preliminary estimates for the site work in total is $2,828,700, with the state paying approximately $1,753,100 of the total cost through this partnering agreement.
Both of the measures were approved by the Commissioners, and that's the story of hoCounty Comment
How a Polecat Helped Improve Public Safety
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

The Board of County Commissioners turned a polecat over to private ownership on Tuesday, April 3 and helped make Public Safety Communications a littler better in Washington County.
Well, not exactly a polecat, but 2.4 miles of unpaved, non-maintained roadbed called Polecat Hollow Road off Blair's Valley Road near Clear Spring. The county had owned the road since the 1700's, mainly a dirt and stone track on Washington County Sportsman's Club (WCSC) property.
Club members said that there have been numerous complaints of trash dumping and trespassing with off-road vehicles and recreational vehicles leaving the roadbed and vandalizing property. In exchange the club would donate a parcel of land for a communications equipment site on its property, and guarantee that the County would have access to the site to maintain that equipment.
The Department of Public Works said it did not anticipate development of the road for public use at any time in the future along the route it follows today.
The equipment site is necessary to provide adequate communications coverage in the Blair's Valley Lake area, which is shadowed for service by the mountains. DPW Director Joe Kroboth said that Blair's Valley is one of the weakest spots for public safety communications in the County.
In a related move, Kroboth requested that the Board authorize execution of a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Maryland and Washington County to cost share and complete Public Safety Communications System (PSCS) site developments.
The 23-million dollar PSCS project will allow, for the first time, all public safety responders, police, fire and ambulance service to communicate with each other using the same frequency. The system requires the development of new equipment sites along with improvements to existing sites.
DPW negotiated an agreement with the State of Maryland that would allow the state to be a partner in the cost for these site improvements. In exchange for cost sharing the County would provide space in its equipment shelters for state communications equipment, and the state would do likewise.
The site work would be competitively bid by the Maryland Department of Budget and Management and DPW would manage the project. Preliminary estimates for the site work in total is $2,828,700, with the state paying approximately $1,753,100 of the total cost through this partnering agreement.
Both of the measures were approved by the Commissioners, and that's the story of how a Polecat may help save lives in Washington County through cooperation between County, State and private partners.w a Polecat may help save lives in Washington County through cooperation between County, State and private partners.

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