Council members will vote Tuesday on whether to change the joint sewer service boundaries to accommodate Prime Retail at the northwest corner of the Interstate 70/Md. 65 interchange and whether to approve the sewer capacity. County Commissioners also must approve the boundary changes.
With joint sewer service the county would receive $201,250 and the city $115,000. The sewage would travel through county lines to the city's treatment plant.
City officials had said that in return for allowing joint sewer service, they wanted cooperation from the commissioners concerning the city's desire to annex land along Interstate 81. Construction of a $40 million shopping center to be called the Centre at Hagerstown is planned for the intersection of Interstate 81 and U.S. 40.
The commissioners reiterated that they don't have a problem with the annexation as long as sewer service goes to the county's Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the city essentially was asking for nothing since the county cannot fight annexation.
Councilman William M. Breichner said the shopping center developers asked the city to annex the land and provide sewer service.
City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said city officials must decide whether the city alone or the city and county will provide the Centre's sewer service.
City officials realize the county is trying to expand the Conococheague plant's customer base, just as the city is trying to increase its tax base by annexing land, he said.
While the sewer and annexation issues were not on the agenda for the joint meeting at the Washington County Administration Building, Commissioner James Wade encouraged a public discussion, saying elected members of both bodies had expected to address the matters Tuesday.
A lively debate ensued, during which Commissioner Ron Bowers accused the city's attorney, John Urner, of a conflict of interest because his firm represents the city and the Centre at Hagerstown developers.
Urner said both clients are aware of the situation and don't have a problem. He said the city and developers Petri Dierman Kughn have common interests.