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Commissioners preparing county legislative requests

December 09, 1998|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners went over a proposed county legislative agenda Tuesday but the members balked at one request and scoffed at another.

The agenda is a list of requests for state legislative action the county gives the local delegation to the General Assembly. The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the list at their Dec. 15 meeting.

The county removed a request for the state to pay a larger share of the funding for the $4.5 million Biological Nutrient Removal upgrade at the Conococheague Industrial Pretreatment Facility. The action came because officials did not believe the request would be approved. The state is paying for 50 percent of the costs.

City and county officials are compiling a joint list of water and sewer projects. It might make more sense to ask for money from the state after the county submits its list and demonstrates cooperation, said Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook.

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The County Commissioners also were unenthusiastic about a request to increase the salary of Washington County Election Board members from $2,300 to $4,800.

The agenda contains the following position statements:




* The commissioners would ask the local delegation to support issuance of a bond to pay for the construction of phase two of the amphitheater at Hagerstown Community College. Cost is expected to be about $500,000.

-- Encourage the delegation to support any efforts to amend the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1998. The county is concerned about how some of the act's requirements will affect local farmers.

-- Increase the amount the county can borrow in bonds from $50 million to $60 million. The county probably would never have to borrow that amount, county officials said.

"If we need $60 million I guarantee none of us will be sitting here," said Commissioner William J. Wivell.

The commissioners were reminded that a state law requiring the county to engage in collective bargaining with county union workers expires this year. They must decide if they want to ask the legislature to renew the law.

The law followed a May 1997 decision by the commissioners to repeal all prior collective bargaining resolutions.

"We are going to be union friendly," said Paul L. Swartz.

The commission heard presentations on the following staff legislative proposals:

-- Change the wording of a statute governing bidding to make sure a bidder is not only "responsible" but also "responsive," specifically addressing a bid's request.

-- Empower the county zoning administrator to make decisions on some routine zoning issues instead of taking them before the busy Board of Zoning Appeals.

-- Increase the county's line of credit from $4 million to $5 million.

-- Give the Washington County Local Management Board an exemption on some purchasing procedures because some involve medical and mental health issues and are confidential.

The commissioners also added some items to the agenda:

-- Commissioner Paul L. Swartz wants the delegation to allow the commissioners to have staggered terms.

-- Wivell wants the delegation to see if the state would provide financial assistance for economic development and Year 2000 computer bug problems.

-- Snook wants the state to define nonprofit organization with regard to bingo operators.

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