Board of County Commissioners Actions: Commissioners Approve Scholarships

Board of County Commissioners Actions
Commissioners Approve Scholarships

The Commissioners approved criteria for award of the first $2,500 Commissioners' Scholarship for students attending the University System of Maryland-Hagerstown.
Previous Boards donated a total of $50,000 to the scholarship fund, administered by the Community Foundation of Washington County and USMH, and with community matching funds that are currently being raised, scholarships in the amount of $5,000 will become available in 2011.
Brad Sell, Community Foundation Director told the Board that the funds that will be used for the current scholarships were raised through the "Feaste and Frolic" event held last fall. The Commissioners' scholarship is one of ten that will be available for the coming fall semester at USMH.
The Board was asked to set criteria for the scholarship it sponsors. Recipients would have to be residents of Washington County, have lived here for at least one year, be a graduate of a Washington County High School or two-year college program in the county, with at least a 2.5 GPA.
Applicants can be of any age group, due to increasing numbers of displaced adult workers that choose to pursue college degrees. Household income limitation would also apply, with $75,000 as the limit for family income.
The Commissioners also wanted to make sure that the recipient had an active role in the community as a volunteer.
The $2,500 amount would pay for one semester at USMH, but the cost of books would not be included.
Applications for the scholarship will be advertised in February, and the awards will be made in April or May. Interested persons should contact the USMH financial aid office at 240-527-2060 or go online to
In other actions by the Board, approval was given for continuation of the Agricultural Land Preservation District program. The State of Maryland had administered such a program, but stopped last July, giving Counties the option to continue the preservation program.
Public hearing on the issue was held January 6th, and the approval will allow continuation of the 10-year districts, which provide tax credits for preservation of farmland. The approval also included a new set of regulations for that program.
A further discussion of the Commissioners' goals for the term 2006-2010 was heard. Departments reporting included the Washington County Community Partnership/Local Management Board, the Economic Development Commission, the Purchasing Department, Budget and Finance, and the Division of Environmental Management. Additional departmental reports will be heard in the meeting on January 20th.
Division of Environmental Management Director Julie Pippel and Division of Public Works Director Joe Kroboth presented further information on projects that could be eligible for federal funding under the Economic Stimulus plan.
Pippel reported that Water and Solid Waste Projects will be administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment in a manner similar to the current state revolving loan programs.
Kroboth presented a joint list of projects three categories: Shovel-ready in 90 days; Advertisable within 180 days; and Ability to be completed within two years.
Priority one projects included a fire station at Hagerstown Regional Airport, the Burnside Bridge Road stream stabilization project, the Halfway I&I sewer project, the Full Depth Reclamation road paving projects, Mills Road Bridge, Snow Removal Equipment for the airport, and Safety and Resurfacing projects. These projects meet all three criteria, Kroboth said.
Four Priority areas contained 45 projects and the entire list will be sent forward for funding consideration.
Commissioners' President John Barr presented a Certificate of Recognition to Budget and Finance Director Debra Murray, and members of the department staff for being named recipient of the 2009 Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Budget Presentation Award,
GFOA awarded Washington County Government its Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the Fiscal Year 2009 budget. GFOA says the award represents a significant achievement for the governmental entity, reflecting the commitment of the Commissioners and staff in meeting the highest principles in government budgeting.
The Commissioners also approved appointments of Forrest Easton, William Vantz, Melinda Probst and Patricia Ieraci to the Disabilities Advisory Committee. Judith Ferro was reappointed to the Gaming Commission and Susan Elgin was appointed to the Board of Social Services.