County Comment: Commissioners' accomplishments highlighted

County Comment
Commissioners' accomplishments highlighted
By Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

As part of its regular meeting on August 31st, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners heard reports from County Division and Department Heads and the County Administrator on goals set for the 2006-2010 Board term.
County Administrator Greg Murray called the progress good, and cited a report containing 31 pages of accomplishments under the current administration.
Murray said that four years ago, there was no Agriculture Marketing Specialist in place to assist farmers in marketing their locally grown wares. Citizens have greater access to Commissioners' meetings through Internet streaming of audio and video and most recently, on Antietam Cable TV through its Video on Demand service. Council of Governments, embracing all municipalities and the Board of Education, meets regularly now due to actions of the current Commissioners.
The County will soon have a new Senior Center, a safer Transit transfer location downtown; municipalities have benefited through the property tax differential, and seniors benefit from tax caps and credits. Aviation maintenance will be the focus of the new Hagerstown Aviation Academy, and economic development strides have been made by aviation businesses at the airport.
The current Board updated the Metropolitan Planning Organization plan, the Stormwater Management plan, the Water and Sewerage Plan, and significant progress was made on the Urban Growth Area plan.
Then Washington County Free Library will soon have a new home in Downtown Hagerstown through actions and support from the Commissioners.
Many Public Safety improvements have been accomplished under this Board's purview. Consolidated 9-1-1 Emergency Services Dispatch, Consolidated Booking at the Detention Center, improved Advanced Life Support through full-time paramedics assigned to EMS companies, improved security for the Courts, and the interoperable Public Safety Communications System are highlights.
Tough economic times called for conservative fiscal policies, which earned the County its third Double-A rating by bond agencies. Full funding of cash reserves and fully funding Government Accounting Standards Board requirements were keys to those rating upgrades, Murray said.
Significant accomplishments by departments were highlighted, with departmental leaders outlining goal completion or progress in ongoing projects.
Planning and Community Development, Permits and Inspections, Gaming Commission Office, Land Development Engineering, County Transit, Parks and Recreation, Hagerstown Regional Airport, Environmental Management, Solid Waste, Purchasing, Economic Development Emergency Services, Sheriff's Office, Human Resources, Information Technologies, and the Washington County Community Partnership/Local Management Board reported on progress made during the past 4 years.
"Much has been accomplished and this Board has been instrumental in making these improvements happen for our citizens," Murray said.