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Breichner seeks third council term

January 10, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Incumbent Democrat William M. Breichner filed Friday to seek his third term on the Hagerstown City Council, although he hasn't given up on the possibility of running for Washington County Commissioner in 1998.

"I'm not going to abandon the City of Hagerstown, regardless of what happens," said Breichner, who was first elected to the Council in 1989.

Breichner, 65, of 1117 Oak Hill Ave., said he would consider running for commissioner if he thinks he could make a reasonable contribution to the community in that role.

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"I think I owe this community service," said Breichner, who has served the City of Hagerstown for about 38 years, either in public office or as a city employee.

Breichner began his service to the city in 1956 as a junior draftsman. He later became head of the city's water department for 16 years before taking over as city administrator in 1983. He resigned that job on Nov. 18, 1986, at the request of the council, which had been dissatisfied with his job performance.

"There are some things I want to see finished naturally. There's also some projects I'd like to see undertaken," Breichner said.

A $5 million filtration plant near Smithsburg for the Edgemont reservoir, which is expected to be done by October, is among the projects he would like to through, said Breichner.

Breichner also wants to see the $550,000 renovation of Public Square completed this year after the project was delayed a year, allowing more citizens to help shape the renovation project.

Among the projects Breichner would like to see undertaken are a new stadium for the Hagerstown Suns. Without a new stadium, the city may lose the minor league baseball team, which adds to the quality of life here, he said.

Losing the Suns because of a lack of support for the team would be a "death blow" to minor league baseball locally, Breichner said.

The state of Maryland, which has helped finance new major and minor league baseball stadiums for other Maryland communities, should help finance a new stadium here, he said.

Breichner also said he would like to see city officials take a different approach to revitalizing downtown. Some of the vacant buildings downtown, including a couple the city has purchased, should be razed rather than renovated, he said.

For example, Breichner said he would prefer to have the Baldwin House complex on West Washington Street torn down to open up that area for a plaza with small shops. The former TriState Electrical Supply Co. Inc. building at 38 S. Potomac St., which the city purchased last November, could be razed to create more parking spaces downtown, he said.

Breichner voted in favor of a recent salary hike to $8,000 a year for the council members elected in the general election on May 20. He cast the sole dissenting vote against raising the next mayor's salary to $28,000 a year.

Breichner, whose family moved from Emmitsburg, Md., to Hagerstown when he was 6 years old, is a 1950 graduate of St. Mary's High School.

He served the U.S. Navy as a quartermaster in the navigation department aboard a small aircraft carrier during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953.

For about 10 years he has held a consulting job for Mainlining Services, a firm located in Alma, N.Y., that rehabilitates water distribution systems.

He is married to City Clerk Gann Breichner and has three grown children from a previous marriage.

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