Board of County Commissioners Meeting: Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Board of County Commissioners Meeting
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Human Resources Director Bill Sonnik brought the departmental requests for new personnel and wage/salary adjustments for Fiscal Year 2009 to the Board for review. 67 new positions were requested across County government, at a potential cost of $2.991 million. The request included positions in the Sheriff's Department to support patrol, detention and Central Booking. Fire and Emergency Services requested Basic and Advanced Life Support specialists and dispatchers to support the consolidation of 9-1-1 services. Other positions were requested in Parks and Recreation to support the Community Resource locations at the three new elementary schools, Transit-County Commuter for support of expanded operations, the Planning Department and Solid Waste. Discussion took place on efficiencies realized through consolidation of the dispatch and central booing operations, making shift differential percentages of salary, and overtime pay. A part-time Mechanic position at the Department of Transit-County Commuter was discussed as being moved to full-time. Several of the requested positions were not approved by the County Administrator. All personnel requests will be given further agenda time prior to the Public Hearing on the Fiscal Year 2009 budget set for May at Hagerstown Community College.
Each week the Board of County Commissioners sets aside time to hear from citizens of Washington County on matters of importance to the community.
A group of business people from the Oak Ridge Drive area commented on County plans to repair the stone arch bridge at Funkstown. The group favored a temporary bridge or waiting until a bypass could be built around Funkstown.
Funkstown Assistant Mayor Paul Crampton also commented on the need for a bypass there.
Diane Eads of Hagerstown addressed the Board on the "State of the Middle Class".
Nancy Race of Homes for America gave the Board information on a plan by that non-profit entity to rehabilitate Hopewell Manor and construct workforce housing apartments at that location.
Monda Sagalkin of the League of Women Voters inquired about $1 million was put in a set-aside for property tax relief. County Administrator Greg Murray said that a decision on that fund has yet to be made, and that the lowering of the property tax cap to 5% saved taxpayers additional millions.
County Attorney John Martirano, Real Property Administrator Joe Kuhna and Communications Maintenance Manager Pete Loewenheim brought this matter to public hearing, to permit any interested person to appear and testify concerning the acquisition of the parcel of land consisting of approximately 5 acres, with improvements, situated at or near Quirauk Mountain, located off High Rock Road in Cascade, Maryland, for the sum of $170,140.00. The public hearing was held to meet the requirements of Section 1-301(b) of the Code of the Public Local Laws of Washington County, Maryland. It has been determined that the Property is needed for a public purpose. The property contains a communications tower and equipment building and would be used as part of the County's Public Safety Communications project. Loewenheim told the Board that the County currently uses a nearby tower owned by the U.S. Army for several communications antennas, but has been asked to reduce or eliminate its presence at that location. Loewenheim also stated that several cellular communications providers have been interested in using space on a tower in the area, and would be a source of revenue for the County. No one testified either for or against the proposal. The record was not required to remain open, and a motion to approve the purchase was approved by unanimous vote.