County Comment: County Sets Legislative Proposals for 2007 General Assembly

County Comment
County Sets Legislative Proposals for 2007 General Assembly
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

In its meeting on December 12, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners gave consideration to potential legislative items for the 2007 session of the Maryland General Assembly, as provided by County staff.
A request that the Delegation be encouraged to continue its support for State funding for the proposed central booking facility, proposed by Sheriff Mullendore was approved by consensus.
A request by Sheriff Mullendore to increase the number of Fire Police, those persons who may be appointed from a fire company to perform the duties of deputy sheriff while going to, functioning at, or returning from fires, accidents, floods, other emergencies, or other functions conducted by a fire company, was approved. This is the same request presented last year that was not passed because the General Assembly ran out of time. Up to 20 members of a Fire company could be appointed under the legislation. Currently only three persons from an individual company may be appointed. The measure was necessary, Mullendore said, due to companies that have substations away from the main company location.
A proposal to adopt legislation making it a crime to intentionally lure a child into a motor vehicle or structure without the presence of the child's parent with the intent to commit a future criminal act was approved. Called the Child luring law, it was also proposed by Sheriff Mullendore.
A proposal to require the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, when mergers of a fire or rescue company with another company take place, to maintain funding to the merged company at a level equivalent to the pre-merger funding, was not pursued. Emergency Services Division Director John Latimer told the Board that a recent vote by the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association preserved the previous funding formula, protecting the merged company's funding.
A request for legislation that would require budget figures specific to Washington County be used to determine the prevailing local wage, when a project requires that workers be paid the prevailing local wage, was approved to go forth.
A request for legislative authorization to allow the County to issue civil citations in enforcement of its trade and building codes in addition to the criminal proceedings currently allowed, was approved.
A request for legislation authorizing the Board of County Commissioners to issue $80 million of general obligation bonds over the next four years to finance the construction costs of public facilities, proposed by the Director of Budget & Finance, was approved.
An addendum was presented that would affect the Fire and Rescue Length of Service Program (LOSAP) retirement system. The amendments would, if state action were necessary, add the Emergency Services Director to the Committee overseeing the LOSAP program, and set minimum age requirements for accruing retirement credits at age 16. That measure was approved by consensus.