Board of County Commissioners' Actions: Hold public hearing on solid waste plan

Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Hold public hearing on solid waste plan, hear public safety operating budget presentations

As part of its regular meeting on March 1st, 2011, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners voted to remove a provision of the Excise Tax Ordinance that had doubled the tax on more than 25 new homes in a single subdivision or redevelopment per fiscal year as provided for in Section 3.03 of the Ordinance.
A Public Hearing on the matter was held on February 22nd, and the Board prior to its decision considered input from citizens.
The Board conducted a Public Hearing to allow citizens to comment on the proposed 10-year Solid Waste Management and Recycling Plan. State regulations require the County to develop a current Solid Waste Management Plan for a minimum of a ten-year period. The new 10 Year Plan entailed a major rewrite and was developed with the assistance of the Division of Environmental Management, Department of Solid Waste and the Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
The Solid Waste Plan provides information on Forty West landfill development, updated waste flow and recycling data as well as solid waste management and recycling goals, objectives and alternatives. The revised Plan of Action recommends programs for the 10-year period to meet the stated goals and objectives.
Kathy Vesely, Chair of the Washington County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) testified in favor of the plan.
Richard Shulman, a member of the SWAC, also testified in favor of the plan.
No one testified in opposition.
Following public testimony, the Board adopted the Plan as presented, to be submitted to the Maryland Department of the Environment in accordance with state law.
The Commissioners got a first look at proposed operating budgets for Fiscal Year 2012 from Public Safety departments, including the Washington County Sheriff and Division of Emergency Services.
Sheriff Doug Mullendore reviewed 6 cost centers that make up the department, and proposed a total operating budget of $22.7 million, an increase of less than one-half of one percent over the previous Fiscal Year.
Mullendore said costs for Process Servers were down by .12%, for the Patrol Division down .02%, Central Booking down .92%, and Narcotics Task Force down 2.65%. Increases of less than one percent were seen for Judicial and Detention Center line items due to increases in health insurance and utility costs.
Emergency Services budgets for Fire and Rescue operations were projected to be up by 9.81% for a total of $11.07 million, primarily due to personnel, insurance and technology costs.
The Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association direct County contribution would increase by $422,830 to a total of $5.6 million, due to increases in firefighters' retirement, workers compensation, and utility costs and need for an employees assistance program for volunteers.
The Air Unit cost would increase by $2,190 due to fuel, trash removal, running gear and insurance costs.
Special Operations' budget would increase by $56,400 to $378,320, due to wages and benefits, insurance, air monitoring device maintenance and equipment purchases.
9-1-1 Communications costs would rise by 9.45% to $3.83 million due to costs associated with consolidation of all emergency dispatching at the new facility, including a request for three additional call takers to handle increased call volume.
Fire and Rescue Operations costs would total $11.12 million, reflecting an increase of $188,260 due to outsourced training, purchase of one replacement vehicle, and emergency equipment replacement.
Emergency Management would see a decrease of $11,270 or 8.91%, reducing its total operating budget to $115,230 for the Fiscal Year.
All budgets will be reviewed on a line-item basis prior to presentation at the annual budget public hearing.