Board of County Commissioners Actions: Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Board of County Commissioners Actions
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

No formal action was required for this item. University System of Maryland at Hagerstown (USMH) Director Dr. David Warner, staff member Dr. Gaye McGovern, and USMH Board member Greg Snook brought this update on the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown and the scholarship fund for Washington County residents to the Board. Warner updated the commissioners about program development and enrollment. 6 Universities are represented at the center, up from 3 when classes began in 2005. The number of degree programs has increased from 12 to 19. Operating budgets increased from the 1995 level of $1 million to $2.016 million, with revenue increasing from zero to $50,000 and scholarship funding going from zero in 1995 to $425,000 today. Student services have increased, classroom capacity rate is at 85%, and Library space and computer labs have grown over the 2-year period. Student enrollment grew 13% in the period from 2005-2008. Warner told the Board that daytime enrollment fills about 33% of classroom space, and that 6-8 classrooms requested by the School Board to support the School for the Arts will be available. The Center will host its first doctoral program in 2009, Warner said. McGovern provided current information about the local scholarship effort and the fundraiser to be held at Duffy's on Potomac and the Maryland Theater on September 13th to build the scholarship fund. The Board of County Commissioners has supported the scholarship fund from surplus funds after the annual audit in the past. Consideration for a contribution to the scholarship fund was requested if excess funds permit following that audit. Former Commissioner Snook explained the investment of funds that the County has donated for the scholarship programs. A decision on donation of funds will come at a later date.
The Board of County Commissioners approved this measure, as amended, by unanimous vote. Public Works Director Joe Kroboth brought this item before the Board, with a request to approve revisions to the Transportation Advisory Committee's (TAC) By-laws as proposed. TAC was established to advise the Board of County Commissioners on matters of transportation operations, safety and functions. This committee consists of technical professionals and transportation practitioners working in various positions within the City of Hagerstown, Washington County and the State of Maryland. This committee reviews and resolves traffic complaints through education, engineering and enforcement measures. Kroboth said the Committee sought to discuss and reaffirm the role and mission of the TAC to ensure it is meeting the expectations of the Commissioners, and ascertain if any additional duties are required. The By-laws for this committee have not been revised since 1999. TAC recommended that the membership be expanded to include individual positions that did not exist prior to present day, such as the County Transportation Engineer, or to include jurisdictions that may be interested in participating in the process. Discussion centered on the number of members, and whether the Economic Development Commission should have a presence on that committee. The revisions were approved, with the stipulation that Kroboth talk with EDC Director Tim Troxell about possible participation of his agency in TAC.
The Board approved reorganization of the Permits and Inspections Department at the request of Department Director Dan Divito. Several personnel actions and position realignments were requested.
The Commissioners approved promotion of Scott Hobbs to Chief of Capital Projects in the Division of Public Works, and approved advertising the position that was vacated due to the promotion.
Each week the Board of County Commissioners sets aside time to hear from citizens of Washington County on matters of importance to the community.
Keedysville Mayor Matthew Hull commended the Commissioners and the Sheriff's Department for the support of the town, especially following the severe thunderstorms in early June. County highway crews worked quickly to clear roads in and around the town, Hull said. Speaking as a private citizen, Hull said that personal property taxes on a piece of equipment he owns may cause him to relocate his private business to Frederick County, where there is no such tax. County Administrator Greg Murray will look into that matter.
Holli Nigh of the Halfway area brought a noise complaint to the Board. A neighbor is playing music very loud on large outdoor speakers all day. Nigh presented a petition signed by residents of that neighborhood requesting assistance. Sheriff Doug Mullendore commented that a state law on noise only affects nighttime hours, and that the individual is playing the music during the day.
Williamsport Councilman Jeff Cline invited everyone to attend Williamsport Days on Wednesday through Friday of this week.