Board of County Commissioners' Actions: Commissioners Hear Gaming Report, Discuss Other Funding Requests, Deny Rezoning

Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners Hear Gaming Report, Discuss Other Funding Requests, Deny Rezoning
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In its regular meeting on August 4th, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners heard a report from the Washington County Gaming Commission (WCGC) on its $2.23 million fund distribution for 2009 (see County Comment column) from Commission Chair Judith Ferro and Gaming Office Director Jim Hovis.
Ferro told the Board that in this economic climate, the WCGC is making sure that applicants for the funding adhere to the Commission's guidelines for reporting on use of the funds. The Commission was formed in 1995 by the Maryland Legislature to regulate gaming in Washington County and ensure that revenue from licensing of tip jars was distributed to charitable organizations in an equitable manner.
Outgoing WCGC members Dan Seiler and Penny Pittman were honored for their service to the citizens of Washington County with a Commissioners' Certificate of Merit.
A method for ensuring the exhibit center at Sideling Hill would remain open through the remainder of the current fiscal year was discussed. The State Highway Administration has said that the center would be closed at the end of August if $53,000 needed to fund operations for the remainder of the fiscal year could not be found by August 21st. The center houses geological and archeological materials used in educational programs for travelers and schoolchildren. The County will request information on any other options for continued operation in its response to the state.
The Board declined to approve a request for funding from the Conococheague Little League that would have provided funds to enable families of the 9-10 and 11-12 year old Maryland State Championship teams to travel to the Regional Championships in Bristol Connecticut. Two of the four Commissioners present cited the current economy and reductions in County programs, and requests for assistance from numbers of community groups that have had to be denied this year.
The Board voted 3-1 to deny a rezoning request from Bowman Cavetown, LLC for 0 .76 acres of land located at the intersection of MD 66 and MD 64 from RR - Residential Rural to BL - Business Local. A public meeting was held by the Washington County Planning Commission on this rezoning request on April 21, 2008 and a public hearing was held by the Board of County Commissioners on May 19, 2008. A supplemental public hearing was held on June 15, 2009. The developer wished to construct a convenience store at that intersection, and requested the parcel be rezoned in order to provide adequate square footage to an adjacent property for that development.
The Commissioners approved two policies designed to improve operations of the Budget and Finance Office. Policies are reviewed on an annual basis to see if the need exists to update policies due to new/changes in regulations, internal control updates, or other issues requiring a need for policy change or addition. The Budget Amendment and Transfer Policy revisions included creation of a new budget amendment form, changing the process for electronic submission as well as manual submission, and providing for electronic signatures. A new Development Financing Policy was added due to Government Financial Officers Association recommendations that state and local government policy address capital improvement financings and tax increment financing. The policy gives goals and objectives for staff on providing guidance to developers for project financing, provides the same starting base for all developers, and establishes procedures and guidelines for the County and developer for future project development.
The Human Resources Department brought nine new employees before the Board for introductions. Gregory Spaulding is the new Deputy Director of Operations for Water Quality in the Division of Environmental Management. Elizabeth Camuti-Carranza is a new Assistant State's Attorney. James Adenhart and Nicholas Perkins were recently hired as Detention Center Officers in the Sheriff's Department. New Emergency Communication Specialists are Andrew Repp, Jacqueline Guessford, James Miller, Denise Dillon, and Patricia Jacobs.
The Board approved appointments of Peter Thomas and Marta Trumble as regular members of the Local Management Board and Dena Holder as ex-officio, and the reappointment of Daniel Grove to the Fire and Rescue Communications Advisory Committee.
County Administrator Greg Murray reported that CSX Railroad will make repairs to the crossing on Eastern Boulevard beginning August 17th requiring the road to be closed for several days. Engineering and Highways are working on appropriate detours, and notifications will be posted on the website and through news releases.
The Commissioners approved advertisement of a Motor Equipment Operator I position in the Highways Department.