Board of County Commissioners Actions: Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Board of County Commissioners Actions
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Debra Murray, Director of Budget and Finance, David Jordan, Executive Director of the Community Action Council and City of Hagerstown Finance Director Al Martin brought this request, to approve a State of Maryland Bay Restoration Fee (SBRF) Exemption Program for income eligible families, before the Board. The exemption program would follow State guidelines and suggestions. Applicants must meet two of the financial hardship criteria suggested by the State: Receive energy assistance through Community Action Council; The household would have to be at or below poverty income guidelines for Maryland per the Energy Assistance Office; The individual would have to be eligible to receive Supplemental Security income (SSI) or food stamps; or receive Veterans or Social Security Disability benefits. This approach is being utilized by other jurisdictions, and the Community Action Council would manage administrative oversight. A fee of $1.50 per application would be charged against the State Bay Restoration fee program remitted to the State of Maryland. Annual applications would be mailed out with the MD Energy Program to assist residents in qualifying for the program. The City and County are jointly working with the Community Action Council for a uniform program. Jordan said that about 350 households would be eligible for the program. The measure was approved by unanimous vote.
Chief Planner Steve Goodrich of the Department of Planning and Community Development recommended adopting an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan to include needed specific references to the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area and Management Plan. The Washington County Planning Commission recommended adoption of the amendment that would make adjustments to the text of the Plan to include more specific references to the Management Plan for the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. The amendments would provide a link and consistency between the County's Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Management Plan. This amendment will insure that Washington County and other tourism and heritage related non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for the benefits of the heritage area program, matching loans, grants and other forms of assistance. Goodrich stressed that the Civil War Heritage plan is voluntary, only affects an entity's ability to access grant money and does not pertain to land use or rezoning issues. The measure was approved by unanimous vote.