Metzner files for council

January 18, 1997


Staff Writer

Local attorney Lewis C. Metzner filed Friday to run for one of five Hagerstown City Council seats that will be up for grabs in the city's May 20 general election.

"I have found the last two and a half years fascinating," said Metzner, a Democrat appointed to the council in October 1994 to replace John L. Schnebly, who had resigned because he moved outside the city limits.

Metzner, 44, of 322 E. Irvin Ave., said he is just starting to feel comfortable on the council now that the learning curve is mostly over and his knowledge of city services has grown greatly.


Except for a major roadblock - the $9.96 million debt the city owes the Maryland State Retirement Agency - many positive things are happening for the city, Metzner said.

"I think we've made a difference," he said, referring to his colleagues on the five-member board.

While it will take hard work to figure out how best to take care of the pension debt, Metzner said he hopes that burden won't prevent the city from pursuing other goals, such as lowering the property tax rate.

That may still be possible if state officials waive the proposed 7.5 percent interest rate to pay off the pension debt over 40 years, he said.

Metzner said he wants to be in office to see the completion of several projects, including a substantial part of the master plan for downtown.

Downtown improvements Metzner wants to see through include the expansion of available parking spaces as well as the renovation of the Baldwin House complex on West Washington Street.

Metzner said he supports the city's role in redeveloping downtown in a limited manner and has learned from mistakes he has made.

His lack of experience played a role in his support for a proposal to renovate the Baldwin House - a proposal that fell through because the funding wasn't lined up, delaying the rehabilitation of a downtown eyesore.

In the future when it comes to choosing between a rehabilitation proposal he prefers and that relies on public funding or another proposal that has private funding already secured, Metzner said he would go with the privately funded project.

This will be the first time Metzner has run for City Council, the only public office he has ever held.

He ran for Washington County Commissioner in 1986 and narrowly lost a mayoral bid against Republican Don Frush in 1981. Metzner also lost a bid for a state Senate seat in the 1982 primary election against incumbent Democrat Victor Cushwa, who went on to win in the general election.

Metzner is a 1970 graduate of North Hagerstown High School. He earned a bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Maryland College Park in 1974 and received his law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1977.

He has practiced law since 1977. He opened his own law firm, which is located at 103 W. Franklin St., in February 1984.

Metzner has a wife, Sharon, a stepson Ken, 20, three cats and a dog.

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