Board of County Commissioner's Actions: Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Board of County Commissioner's Actions
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Human Resources Director Bill Sonnik brought four new employees before the Board for introductions and welcome. Greg Barnes was recently hired as a Civil Engineer in the Engineering Department, and Scott Brown is the new Work Crew Supervisor in the Alternative Sanctions Department of the State's Attorney Office. Corey Cunningham and Terry Harnish were recently employed as Detention Officers in the Sheriff's Department.
Reports from County Staff: Gaming Office Director Jim Hovis told the Board that House Bill 14, introduced this week in Annapolis, would impose state regulation of tip jar fund collection and distribution in all of the Counties in Maryland that now have local regulations for the control of Gaming. Hovis will testify in Annapolis this week against that bill, and requested Commissioners' support for that position. The Board will craft a letter of support and send it to the Chairman of the Local Delegation, Del. Leroy Myers. All non-profit organizations that benefit from the Gaming contributions were urged to call or email the delegation in support of the Cou
nty's position.
Recreation Director Jaime Dick told the Board that the contract between the County and the basketball referee's association was accepted by that body. Dick will sign the letter of intent on behalf of the County.
Public Works Director Joe Kroboth reported that he had been invited to present testimony on the Gasoline Tax proposal in Annapolis. The current proposal would raise gas taxes 1 cent in 2008, and tie future links to inflation rates. Kroboth said the alternative would be for the State to take back the Highway User Revenue as it has in the past. Those funds provide for paving roads, Kroboth said. The Commissioners advised Kroboth to go forward with comments from the County perspective, citing the need for funding for road infrastructure repair and maintenance.
County Administrator's Comments: County Administrator Greg Murray reminded the Board that the Greater Hagerstown Committee will host a breakfast meeting at Robinwood Medical Campus on Wednesday to focus on legislative issues for the Special Session.
Land Preservation Planners Eric Seifarth and Holly Thibault brought the Priority Ranking Spreadsheet and list of properties applying to sell FY '08 easements through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program (MALPP) before the Board. The request was to approve the ranking spreadsheet of 25 applicants who applied to sell easements, and to approve the use of State and County Agricultural Transfer Tax matching funds in the amount of $1.34 million for the purchases. Seifarth told the Board that Annually the Agricultural Advisory Board ranks properties for the MALPP based on soil type, productivity, property size, proximity to other easements, etc. Landowners are paid by the order of ranking until the funds run out. State funding is 60%, up to $2 million, with 40%, up to $1.34 million, of County matching funds. $700,000 would come from the State Ag Transfer Fund and the remainder would come from the County Ag Transfer Fund. Beverly Schreiber of Fairplay testified in favor of easements. Sam Hunter testified that all farms should be included in preservation programs. Following the hearing, the measures were approved by a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Aleshire voting "no".
The Board toured The ARC of Washington County facility at 820 Florida Avenue in Hagerstown. Members of the ARC Board of Directors discussed the challenges facing the organization, as well as funding sources and future plans to address them.