County Comment: 2007 Commissioners' Goals

County Comment
2007 Commissioners' Goals
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

In its October 2nd meeting, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners discussed goals for the remainder of calendar year 2007 and some that should be moved into 2008 and beyond.
County Administrator Greg Murray presented a list of the items received from departments and from the Commissioners, since initial discussions in early spring. Several discussions on the goals had been held during the interim, and Murray said that some of the goals had been accomplished by that date, and some are ongoing, given their nature. Some of the goals in the list presented on September 11th to the Board would need additional time and be moved into calendar year 2008.
The revised list covered a number of areas critical to providing government services.
Commissioners said they wanted formal 2008 and complete term goal setting sessions before the end of the year.
Zoning classifications in the Urban and Town Growth Areas would be evaluated and recommendations adopted on appropriate uses and densities including potential transfer of development rights, development of new economic development related zoning designations, designations and allowable uses for educational sites such as Hagerstown Community College, and size of Growth Area boundaries. This goal is being accomplished, Murray said and will be presented to the Board for review in 2007.
The current Excise Tax Ordinance is being evaluated buy the Excise Tax Task Force and new fees and structure will be adopted as appropriate for legislative action before December 31.
Development of a comprehensive coordinated process for oversight of the developmental process through evaluation of the Planning, Engineering, and Permits functions has been accomplished, with a review committee established and working. Completion of the update for the County Water and Sewer Plan will take place prior to the end of the year, Murray reported.
The implementation method for the remainder of the Emergency Services Master Plan is being formulated and time will be set on the Commissioners' agenda for review prior to January 1st. This goal will provide comprehensive evaluation of all areas of emergency services to ensure that efficient coverage is maintained and that proper funding is going to areas where service need is greatest.
Murray cited the merger of the Solid Waste Department and the Department of Water Quality into the Division of Environmental Management and hiring a Director as an example of evaluating departmental structures and reorganization for maximum efficiency.
The Division of Budget and Finance is implementing automation of the capital budget process for FY 2009, to include external agency input and review. New software was purchased to facilitate that goal last week, Murray said.
The revitalized Salary Review Committee is working to review salary and benefits on a rolling schedule for budgetary purposes to include peer review of job descriptions and classifications, and recommendations for policy updates.
Implementation of procedures to allow for greater public accessibility to Board meetings have included scheduling evening venues and providing remote accessibility to routine scheduled meetings by way of voice transmission. That goal was revised to include remote accessibility by voice transmissions and/or televised meetings. The public has been able to hear streamed audio of Commissioners' meetings for the last several months, and a committee has been formed to look at the possibility of televising those meetings.
Actions taken on October 2nd, in which the 2006 International Code Council residential, building, plumbing, mechanical and fuel gas codes were adopted as the Washington County Building Codes completed the Commissioners' goal to "Evaluate, revise as necessary, and adopt the 2006 building codes."
Update the joint hearing process for review and approval of planning and zoning requests is another goal currently receiving attention by the Department of Planning and Community Development, Murray said. The Goal is set to be completed before year's end.
Development of a comprehensive approach to the agricultural industry economic development marketing and support needs is being accomplished through the hiring of an Agricultural Marketing Specialist.
A new goal "Evaluate and refine procedures for appointment and service of Boards and Commissions was established, to be completed by the end of the year.
The Commissioners thought that goals dealing with development of a long-range transportation plan for the County, comprehensive policy development for interaction with municipal governments, review of space needs for County government, and development of a Senior Center would require additional time and were moved into the 2008 calendar year. A new goal for 2008 that would develop a sewer capacity allocation plan was added to thatg proposed list.
The goals were adopted as amended by unanimous vote of the Commissioners.