Board of County Commissioners' Actions: Commissioners' hold public hearing; Visit Maugansville

CAPTION: Commissioners meet in Maugansville


Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners' hold public hearing; Visit Maugansville

In its regular meeting on August 3rd, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners heard from members of the public regarding adoption of a new County Stormwater Management, Grading, Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance.
Division of Public Works Director Joe Kroboth reviewed actions on the proposed changes, made necessary in order to bring the County document in line with mandated changes by the State of Maryland.
This was the second public hearing held for the purpose of consideration of the repeal of the Stormwater Management Ordinance for Washington County, Maryland, adopted and effective on July 17, 2001, and the repeal of the Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance for Washington County, Maryland, adopted and effective October 29, 1985, and the enactment of a new ordinance entitled "Washington County Stormwater Management, Grading, Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance."
Kroboth recommended the Board not adopt the proposed ordinance until after the public had additional time to make comment, and Public Works had time to make any changes to the document from that input.
Elmer Weibley, District Manager of the Washington County Soil Conservation District spoke in favor of the changes proposed in the Ordinance, citing the need for prevention of soil erosion.
Tim Fields of Smithsburg, representing a local Building Trade Association told the Board the proposed changes could add $7,000 to the cost of a single-family home in the County, and urged Commissioners to be flexible in approaches to engineering and surveying, asking if developers could provide some of those services in order to lower costs.
The Commissioners will take the requests under advisement, and the Ordinance will be brought back for a vote later this month.
The Board approved renewal of the contract for Landfill Inspection Services with Cumberland Geoscience Consultants (CGC), of Carlisle, PA, for Contract Year 3 at a 3% increase.
Construction Inspection hourly rates for Straight Time would rise from
$40.53 to $41.75, with Overtime rates increasing from $44.50 to $45.85.
Senior Construction Inspector rates for Straight Time increase from $45.20 to $46.55 and Overtime from $49.61 to $51.10. The company did not request increases in Year 2 of the contract.
An Evening Meeting was held at the Ruritan Building in Maugansville.
Commissioner Kristin Aleshire asked about posting the County's toll-free number for residents of South County on the website. County Administrator Greg Murray noted that an 800 number for residents of other areas of the County is available as well. The posting of those numbers will be reviewed and corrected as needed.
Commissioner Bill Wivell asked about progress on allowing dogs in County Parks. County Administrator Murray said that dogs are allowed with leashes, and owners are required to clean up after their pets. Clean-up supplies are being provided. A special area designed for walking dogs is being developed in Marty Snook Park in Halfway.
Commissioner Terry Baker commented on the recent fire in Clear Spring that destroyed several row houses, and thanked all fire and emergency services personnel for their efforts. Special thanks were given to staff of the Division of Environmental Management-Water Quality for keeping water pressure up through the night so firefighters could extinguish that blaze.
Commissioner Jim Kercheval suggested that the County be a host for the I-81 coalition meeting in the fall. A time and location for such a gathering will be discussed. That Coalition is made up of government representatives from states along the Interstate route concerned with securing federal funds for improvements and economic development.
Commissioner's President John Barr announced the groundbreaking for restoration of the Big Slackwater area of the C&O Canal at Dam #4 with federal and state officials expected to attend. That ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 7th at 10 a.m. The project will repair the only impassable area on the canal towpath. The 184.5 mile long canal is the nation's longest national park, and Barr noted that 42% of its length forms the Washington County Border with West Virginia and Virginia along the Potomac.
Under Citizens' Participation, Sarah Baker of Maugansville asked for information on a possible extension of the Excise Tax waiver that the County put into place this spring. The Department of Permits and Inspections is developing a report on the effectiveness of that venture, and any extension would be based on data in that report, County Administrator Greg Murray said.
Mary Webb of Hagerstown asked if the Commissioners' meetings would be televised. Commissioner Jim Kercheval explained the cable franchise the City has with Antietam Cable, which the County does not have. That franchise enables the City to cablecast its meetings. The County is streaming live video of Commissioners' meetings on the Internet, and is working with Antietam Cable TV to place meetings as "Video on Demand" segments. Commissioner Bill Wivell discussed the franchise fee associated with cable bills.
Doris Filson of Maugansville requested the URL for the County website, which is www.washco-md.net.
Marty Lumm of Maugansville asked about Phase II of the Maugans Avenue Project, and stated that residents were pleased with the first phase of the intersection realignment at Pennsylvania Avenue. Public Works Director Joe Kroboth said that due to state funding cutbacks, some projects in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) had to be moved back, and that Maugans-Phase II is scheduled in Fiscal Year 2017. County Administrator Greg Murray commented that reductions of $10 million per year in the state Highway User Revenue has meant reworking priorities for road projects.
Charles Lumm of Maugansville asked about a previous program for first-time homebuyers in the County. Administrator Murray said that program was for government employees, and was only in effect a short time. A very few County employees took advantage of that program, he said.
Jerry Ditto, a member of the Urban Growth Area (UGA) Advisory Committee commented on effects of potential zoning changes on agricultural operations in areas near Hagerstown. Ditto requested review of the committee's report and that the County look again at Transfer of Development Rights (TDR's) for landowners in the affected areas.
Appointments to Boards and Commissions included Lynn Rushing, Tennielle Aleshire and Teresa Shifler as regular members of the Local Management Board and Richelle Scrugham as Ex-Officio agency representative to that Board.
In Staff Comments, Public Works Director Joe Kroboth told the Board that construction of the Transit Transfer Center has begun on Wareham Place Alley behind the Administration Building at 100 West Washington Street. That construction project will continue through December. In addition, a private contractor will be removing an old parking garage in the same area, but the County has no part of that project.
The Trego Road demolition project will begin at 8am on Wednesday. Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the County Highways Department will work together to remove the old railroad station, which has been in poor condition for years, and was posing a safety hazard to motorists. The project will include removal of fuel tanks and contaminated soil and will last several months, Kroboth said.