Board of County Commissioners' Actions: Commissioners Hear First Operating Budget Review

Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners Hear First Operating Budget Review

In its regular meeting on March 2nd, 2010, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners got a first look at proposed operating budgets for Fiscal Year 2011, from the Public Safety category, made up of the Sheriff's Department and the Division of Emergency Services.
Sheriff Doug Mullendore told the Board that his department's preliminary operating budget was reduced by 2.09% or $448,450.00 over the FY '10 level. Total requested for operation of the Patrol, Detention, Central Booking, Judicial, Process Server and Narcotics Task Force functions is requested at $22.7 million.
There will be no new Capital Outlay in the coming fiscal year, Mullendore said, and the greatest decrease will be in the Patrol division, due to no new cruisers purchased. The Detention Center would also see a decrease of about 1.25% in its $11.3 million budget, due to wage and salary for personnel transferred to the Central Booking line item.
The Division of Emergency Services (DES) contains the County portion of funding for the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association's (WCVFRA) member companies, 9-1-1 Communications, Fire and Rescue Operations, Special Operations, Emergency Management and the Air Unit.
DES Director Kevin Lewis told the Commissioners that his division budget will be reduced by 1.49% or $152,470 for Fiscal Year 2011, for a total of $10.2 million.
The Largest reduction came within the Fire and Rescue Operations category, reduced by $1.3 million or 56.7%. Those funds had been programmed for personnel costs for Advanced Life Support employees and operations. The County transferred those funds to the WCVFRA earlier this year, in order to give Emergency Medical Services companies greater flexibility in 24-hour 7-day operations. The WCVFRA budget would increase by $1.35 million or 35.3% to $5.17 million as a result. Association President Glen Fishack requested additional support of $5,000 for road flares and $5,600 for reflective coats for Fire Police personnel.
All budgets will be reviewed on a line-item basis prior to the Public Hearing scheduled for May 4th at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater.
In other actions, March was proclaimed Red Cross Month in Washington County. Volunteers Al Martin and Bob Carter accepted the proclamation from Commissioners' President John Barr. The organization was lauded for its mission of providing essential services to the County, and the world through response to disasters. The County chapter helps save countless lives through training programs in CPR and use of automatic defibrillators. Blood drives help area hospitals save lives, and Red Cross provides volunteer aid to sick and wounded members of the armed forces and their families. Citizens were urged to support the work of this beneficial organization.
Commissioners approved a sole source service agreement for the Division of Emergency Services with Physio-Control, Inc., of Redmond, Washington in the amount of $58,940.80 per year for five years beginning in 2010 for maintenance on various types of defibrillators that were purchased utilizing a State of Maryland contract. The agreement provides on-site maintenance; including repair parts, materials, service technician labor, and travel expenses. Each defibrillator listed within the agreement will be on a scheduled inspection; which covers calibration and verification that the equipment is operating properly. Output measurements are checked to ensure that the equipment is within specifications. The county maintains 113 defibrillator units in public buildings, and as part of emergency medical service equipment.
Under Citizens' Participation, Peter Crawford and Jay Wandleski of Smithsburg requested further assistance from the Commissioners in mitigating flooding of homes in the Whitetail subdivision. The County has worked with the group over a 6-year period and the Engineering Department continues to work on a solution to the issue. A meeting with the homeowners, County staff and the County Administrator will be set. The group has not taken civil action against the developer.
The Board requested meeting dates and times for the Local Interagency Coordinating Council (LICC) for appointment of a Commissioner's representative. Community Partnership coordinator Melissa Nearchos brought the matter to the attention of the Commissioners. The LICC serves as the Advisory Council for the Washington County "Birth to Five Program" which is a federally mandated service for children five and under with developmental delays or suspected delay. The LICC recently reviewed its Bylaws and it became apparent that an official designation was needed for a local government representative. One of the membership requirements in the Bylaws specifically states "At least one elected official from a Federal, State, or Local office (may be an appointed representative from the office of an elected official)." Nearchos will serve in an ex-officio capacity until the appointment is officially made.
The Board approved authorization of a resolution to enter condemnation proceedings on a parcel of land located at the intersection of Halfway and Massey Boulevards. The parcel is needed as part of the upgrade of the intersection, and repeated attempts to negotiate a fair price with the owner, Half Mat LLC Have proved fruitless.
Human Resources Director Bill Sonnik requested and was granted approval to advertise a full-time 9-1-1 Dispatch Technician position.
Division of Emergency Services Director Kevin Lewis reported that a meeting has been set with Allegheny County officials to discuss FEMA reimbursements for the February snow events, on Friday at 1pm. There has yet to be a Presidential Declaration of disaster for those events.
County Administrator Greg Murray reported on an action by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation that would declare hangar space at Hagerstown Regional Airport occupied by for-profit companies eligible for property tax. Commissioners requested more information on the assessments of this mature before taking action in support of an appeal.
A request by the Convention and Visitors Bureau for an additional $9,500 from the Hotel-Motel tax for rent to be paid to the City of Hagerstown was deferred pending additional information.
Murray informed the Board that Senator Barbara Mikulski will visit the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center on March 29th, to award a grant to the City of Hagerstown for its portion of expenses for the consolidated interoperable radio communications system.
A change order in the amount of $1,595,270 was approved for the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center in order to properly record a state grant in the same amount. The state required the budget adjustment for the office equipment and communications grant it paid for in FY 2010.