Board of County Commissioners: Commissioners Adopt Ordinances, Purchase Land, Accept Grants, Authorize Advertising Bids

Board of County Commissioners
Commissioners Adopt Ordinances, Purchase Land, Accept Grants, Authorize Advertising Bids
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In its regular meeting on July 21st, The Washington County Board of County Commissioners adopted changes to two County Zoning Ordinances
Amendments to the County Zoning Ordinance by the Department of Planning and Community Development will update, modernize, and clarify various regulations. Among the proposed amendments are new and updated definitions, new language regarding abandonment of Commercial Communication Towers, clarification of accessory structures and uses, and re-organization of bulk regulations outlined in the Rural Area zoning districts. The Board reached consensus to approve the amendments as revised by comments made in the meeting. A formal resolution will be provided to the Board at a later date.
The other Zoning Ordinance amendment adopted dealt with fencing requirements in the IM (Industrial Mineral) District. The Washington County Planning Commission held a public meeting for the purpose of taking testimony on the proposed amendments on March 2nd, 2009 and the County Commissioners held a public hearing for the purpose of taking testimony on the proposed amendments on June 15th, 2009. The amended language gives the Planning Commission the ability to look at each proposal submitted and determine appropriate fencing requirements and appropriate fence height.
The Board adopted the "Fallen Hero Ordinance" that would provide County property tax benefits to surviving spouses of law enforcement officers, correctional officers, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians who die as result of, or in the course of their duties. The benefit applies to the spouse's home, until remarriage, and the home had to have been owned by the public safety employee at the time of death. The benefit will begin with this fiscal year, and those whose spouses died prior to the current tax year will also be eligible. The tax is not retroactive, and goes forward from the current year. More information and applications are available from the County Treasurer's Office at 240-313-2110.
James Devine, of Hagerstown commented on green issues and power generation during Citizens' Participation.
The Board approved Community Action Council's request for an authorizing resolution that would allow purchase of a transit vehicle and operating cost under the Maryland Transportation Administration's New Freedom grant initiative. Transportation grants have provided $284,000 in federal and state funds to establish and operate coordinated, consolidated human services transportation, in accordance with state law.
The Board awarded a contract for Clinical Services to Teens in an effort to reduce pregnancy rates and sexually transmitted diseases, to the Community Free Clinic in the amount of $66,860.00. The services were previously provided by the clinic. Teen birth rates in the County fell to a 5-year low in 2008, according to figures from the State Vital Statistics Administration. In addition, there were some 50 fewer teen births in 2008 compared to rates in 2007 in Washington County, down from 242 to 192.
The Commissioners accepted several public safety grant awards for police, fire and emergency services.
An Emergency Number System Board (ENSB) grant provides $144,000 in special project funding for the new Emergency Communications Center to include Logging Recorders. The ENSB grant award for Mapping of Parcel Layers using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology will provide $348,018.00 in special project funding. A Memorandum of Agreement with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will provide $90,631 for Emergency Management activities. MEMA distributes funding to all local jurisdictions on an annual basis to enhance and strengthen emergency management capabilities at the state and local level and provides funding to offset personnel, operational and training expenses for local emergency management.
The Board approved accepting two grants for the Washington County Sheriff's Department. The Warrant Reduction Initiative Grant from the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention provides $18,460.00 for overtime for deputies to locate and arrest wanted persons and for support of those activities. The Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention - Replacement Body Armor Grant provides $15,600.00 for a 50/50 match to replace bulletproof vests and body armor that have been in service for a five year period. Program funds will replace thirty Body Armor units for sworn personnel. Matching funds are available from federal grant sources.
The Board authorized the Board of Education to proceed with advertising of bids for the Eastern Primary School as required by state law following review of the plans for that school by the Advisory School Design Review Committee (ASDRC). That committee was established by the state legislature to review plans for all school construction over $2 million, to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness. ASDRC had approved the construction documents in its meeting on June 15th. Director of Public Works Joe Kroboth told the Board that there are some road widening issues that must be worked out, at the intersection of Mount Aetna Road and Yale Drive, and the approval is contingent on resolution of those road issues.