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Merger of housing agencies is delayed

February 15, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

The executive director of the Hagerstown Housing Authority said Friday that a decision on whether to merge with Washington County's Housing Authority has been postponed until the end of the year.

Hagerstown authorities have not been able to thoroughly investigate the county operation yet because county officials were late delivering documents, said Executive Director Roger Miller.

Miller said he received the county housing authority's audit for fiscal 1995 only five days ago when it was originally expected last summer. He hasn't received the audit for fiscal 1996.

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County Housing Authority Director Richard Willson said he didn't make any guarantees to Miller last summer on when the audits would be delivered.

One reason for the delay was the county authority switched auditors for fiscal 1994, Willson said. The new auditor required that some records be recreated, causing delays.

This is at least the second time the city housing authority has had to push back the deadline for a decision on the proposal. The last proposed deadline was March 31.

Washington County officials asked the city housing authority almost a year ago to consider the merger as a cost-cutting measure that would maintain public housing in the county.

Miller said city housing officials will inspect the county's housing properties and conduct a feasibility study for the proposed merger.

If city housing officials decide in favor of a merger by Dec. 31, it would take until July 1, 1998, before the merger could take place, he said.

The commissioners decided last December to extend funding for the authority through July 1, 1998.

In another matter, Miller said the authority's Board of Commissioners should name his replacement by Feb. 21. Miller is retiring on March 31.

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