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Commissioners Hear "Clean" Audit Report

Commissioners Hear "Clean" Audit Report

In its regular meeting on November 18th, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners heard auditing firm SB & Company of Hunt Valley, MD give a "clean" report to County finances for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008.
Company representatives William Seymour and Gray Smith said there were "no issues" with the audit of revenues and expenditures for Fiscal Year '08, and told the Board that the County is better off than many other counties in Maryland, saying that Washington County was ahead of many local governments in terms of dealing with reductions in revenue and increased federal mandates regarding employee retirement plans.
Budget and Finance Director Debra Murray reported that the general fund realized a surplus of $930,000 for fiscal year 2008, which will fund the required cash reserve as of June 30, 2008.
Major points in fiscal year 2008 were excess business personal property revenue in the amount of $1.9 million, and $1.7 million in unused enterprise zone and homeowner credits. Interest earning from investments and property resulted in an additional $4 million, before the downturn in market yields. Unexpended funds from public safety of $2.3 million and $2.5 million from delayed debt service costs were seen, and an additional $500,000 in insurance savings and costs reductions were recorded.
Additional approved transactions included a $4.5 million asset purchase and a transfer of $7.5 million to capital projects to provide funding for future revenue and project stabilization.
The County's continuing conservative fiscal policies were responsible for its good fiscal health in a time of declining revenues and other economic problems.
In other actions, the Board further discussed its list of items to be presented to the legislature in the upcoming 2009 session. The list, including measures that would allow the Mental Health Advisory Committee to operate as a function of the Mental Health Authority, set certain fees for the Circuit Court, provide greater clarity to the County Sheriff's ability to "deputize" individuals from other agencies in certain situations, clarify provisions of regulations of electrical services granted in last year's legislative session, update regulations pertaining to Public Works, limit parking of certain commercial vehicles on County public roadways, and present findings of the 2008 Washington County Salary Study Commission, was refined, and was slated to be discussed again with members of the Local Delegation in a Wednesday morning meeting.
The Commissioners approved advertising a Motor Equipment Operator position and the Deputy Director of Water Quality position, made vacant due to resignations.
The 2008 Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) Cardiac Defibrillator Matching Grant was approved for the purchase of forty-seven LifePak Express, seven LifePak 1000 Kit 2, and one LifePak 1000 Kit 6 automatic external defibrillators. The grant award was $36,817 and represents 50% of the project cost. The Fire and Rescue Association will contribute $35,000 towards the 50% match.
Three City of Hagerstown annexation proposals were approved through grant of Express Approval or by consensus that Express Approval was not required for the action.
The Commission for Women Bylaws was approved for amendment regarding membership, appointments, officer duties, meetings and committee structure.
The annual contracts for Fuel Hauling services were approved for the responsive, responsible bidders with lowest cost. For the period December 1, 2008 through November 30, 2009, AC&T of Hagerstown will provide Gasoline delivery, and Petroleum Traders Corporation of Fort Wayne, Indiana will provide Diesel fuel hauling.
The annual contracts for Chemicals used in water treatment and wastewater treatment were granted to 6 vendors for 20 different items. The Division of Environmental Management uses the chemicals to treat swimming pool water by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Facilities and for wastewater treatment purposes. The City of Hagerstown and other local governments are allowed to piggyback on the County's low bids.
The Board of County Commissioners honored four local students with Youth Meritorious Awards for the months of September and October 2008. Leah Harrell and Morgan Pettner of Clear Spring Middle School, Lily Anna Mackley of Smithsburg Middle School and Christopher Bradford of North Hagerstown High School were honored.

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