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Decision expected soon on housing agency merger

February 06, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Decision expected soon on housing agency merger

The Washington County Commissioners hope to decide soon whether to go ahead with a proposed merger between the Washington County Housing Authority and the Hagerstown Housing Authority.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said after a 90-minute closed session between the parties Thursday morning that he hopes the commissioners make a decision by the end of next week.

Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers said that one potential sticking point is the makeup of the combined governing board. Bowers said the board should be expanded from five members to seven, with the commissioners having two or three appointees.

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Commissioner John S. Shank said he felt positive about the merger, but said the commissioners want to make sure that future housing projects for senior citizens, including those planned for Hancock and Clear Spring, stay on track.

Commissioner James R. Wade said he wanted to make sure county housing projects would receive the same priority as city projects.

The Hagerstown Housing Authority closed the meeting, which was held at Potomac Towers. Executive Director Ted Shankle said closing the meeting to the press and public was justified because acquisition of real estate and personnel would be discussed.

The main purpose for a merger is to save money through consolidation of the two operations, Shankle said. The merger would also benefit citizens because people could have one-stop shopping for all their public housing needs regardless of where they live in the county, he said.

The quality of service would not be affected by a merger, he said.

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