Board of County Commissioners': County Commissioners issue bonds
Board of County Commissioners'
County Commissioners issue bonds, Honor teacher of the year, Approve park funds, Hear tourism report
As part of its regular meeting on May 19th, 2011, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners issued Maryland Public Improvement Bonds for the current fiscal year at below 3.5 percent interest.
The $14.9 million sale to Janney Montgomery Scott, Inc. contained $10.9 million in tax-supported bonds and $3.2 million in self-supporting bonds.
County Financial Advisor Lester Guthorn said the low 3.499758% rate was due to the County's AA rating by the three major bond rating agencies, Standard and Poor's, Fitch, and Moody's, because of its very conservative financial plan and budget control.
The winning bid was lowest among 9 bidders, which indicated the County's strength and desirability in the bond market, Guthorn said.
The borrowing level was approved in the 2011 fiscal year budget in May of 2010, and was one of the lowest in recent years.
The issue was approved by a 4-1 vote with Commissioner's President Terry Baker voting "no".
Commissioners honored Washington County Teacher of the Year Katharine Long, who teaches Social Studies at Western Heights Middle School, with a Certificate of Merit,
A proclamation read by Commissioner Bill McKinley stated: "In recognition of being awarded Washington County's 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year. Your motivation to encourage life-long learning enables students to achieve goals and meet their full potential. We, the Board of County Commissioners of Washington County, Maryland commend you on your professional achievement and promotion of education excellence in Washington County."
Long was a student at Williamsport High School when McKinley was its Principal.
The Board approved priority rankings for State of Maryland Program Open Space funds for Park development in the municipalities and the County system as recommended by the Recreation and Parks Board.
Parks and Facilities Director Jim Sterling told the Commissioners that of the $1.4 million in requests for funding for the coming fiscal year, the County will receive only $146,333.00 for FY 2012, a portion of the total allocation that the state will spread over three years. That sum will fund projects in 6 community parks.
Through recovered or reverted funds from prior projects an additional $354,300 will be available to fund 9 projects in the towns and in the County system, Sterling said.
Funded projects include $13,500 for a Tube Slide at the City of Hagerstown's Potterfield Pool; $25,000 for a pavilion at Kirkwood Park in Hancock; $13,900 for a pavilion upgrade at Veterans' Park in Smithsburg; $3,375 for Signage and a Directory at Williamsport's Byron Park; $36,000 for an upgrade to the entrance of Community Park in Funkstown; and $54,588.00 for playground equipment at Winter Street Elementary School in Hagerstown.
Projects to be funded from recovered/reverted funds include $60,000 for further development of King Farm Park in Boonsboro; $19,800 for a portable shade canopy and a stationary stage at University Plaza Park in Hagerstown; and $7,200 to upgrade parking at Beard Pool in Williamsport. The County Parks system would receive $22,500 for Storm Water Management improvements at the Agricultural Education Center; $31,500 for repairs to the concession stand at Pinesburg Park; $58,500 for Irrigation system upgrades at Black Rock Golf Course; $118,000.00 for improvements to the water system at the Ag Center, and $36,000 for development of Tammany Park near Halfway.
The Board heard the annual report by the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and proclaimed May 7 through 15 as Tourism Week in Washington County.
Tom Riford, CVB President told the Board that the tourism industry is strong in Washington County, and local hotel occupancies were slightly up in 2010. The local hospitality economy is improving and visitation at many local attractions increased as well.
The CVB's finances are solid, and its board of directors and professional staff were able to pay off the organization's debt in 2010. Lodging tax revenue was slightly up in 2010 compared to 2009, while the CVB reduced some of its controllable marketing costs.
CVB Board Chair Carrie Cerrito told the Commissioners that the CVB, honored by the State of Maryland for its events surrounding the 150th anniversary of John Brown's Raid, is now planning events to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
In other actions: the Commissioners approved amendment of a School APFO mitigation agreement for Churchey Group III, LLC, for development of the 25-unit Regent Park subdivision on Trovinger Road.
The original agreement called for up-front payment of $145,000 prior to recordation of the subdivision plat. The amendment would allow Churchey to pay on a per-home basis, at time of application for building permits. That fee would be $5,182 per lot.
In addition, the developer would have a balloon payment due at the end of five years, to account for any remainder of the $145,000 total.
In Other Business, under Appointments to Boards and Commissions, Brooks Long was reappointed to the Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board for a second, five-year term, extending through April 30, 2016; and to David Roth wax appointed to that Board for a first, five-year term, extending through April 30, 2016.
County Administrator Greg Murray reminded the Commissioners of the Public Hearing on the FY 2012 Budgets, to be held Thursday, May 12th at 7pm at Hager Hall in Hagerstown.
Murray told the Board that a formal workshop will be held on May 17th to discuss Yale Drive. That road project has been an issue of concern, and was included in the proposed Capital Improvement Project budget for FY '12 provided such a workshop was held.
The Election Board has requested that the Commissioners discuss further issues related to salaries of its members and staff, in particular the Attorney's salary, after other salaries were upgraded, Murray reported
In Staff Reports, Public Information Officer Norman Bassett advised the Board that the proceedings of the Budget Hearing, normally broadcast live on Antietam Cable Television, would be taped for delay broadcast on that cable system's Video on Demand. The hearing is being held in Hager Hall, and ACTV is unable to do the broadcast live, as is the case when the hearing is held at Hagerstown Community College. Kepler Theater, the usual location for the hearing is under renovation at this time.