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Taxation office told to move

September 08, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County government has told the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation to vacate its office in the Washington County Courthouse annex by March 2000 so the county can make some renovations and changes.

The county is leasing the state the 3,800-square-foot space at $11.70 a square foot, said Washington County Facilities Director Robert Graff. That is about $44,460 a year.

The lease expires in November but the county is giving the state a three-month extension to give it a chance to find new quarters, Graff said.

Four Circuit judges and their staffs are housed in the courthouse and annex at the corner of Washington Street and Summit Avenue.

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The state is accepting bids for a new downtown location but wants a 6,023-square-foot site so the office can expand, said Tim O'Rourke, supervisor of assessments.

The site must be within the following boundaries: Church and East streets to the north, Mulberry Street to the east, Antietam Street to the south and Prospect Street to the west. The proposals are due by Oct. 1.

The state wants to keep the office downtown for several reasons, including the fact that many of the office's customers also go to the Washington County Treasurer's Office, O'Rourke said.

Washington County has not decided whether the Treasurer's Office will be moved, Graff said.

That decision will be made in the next year as the county decides what to put in a new Washington County District Court building when it opens in the fall of 2000 at 36 W. Antietam St., he said.

Treasurer Todd Hershey said he is lobbying to stay in the annex. His office takes up only 1,600 square feet, he said.

It was convenient for residents to have the Treasurer's and Assessor's offices near each other, Hershey said.

The county is still determining what will go where as they renovate the court building and make plans for the new District Court building, Graff said.

Some of the space left when the assessor's office moves will be taken up by an expansion of the Clerk of Court's Office, he said.

The changes and renovations have been planned for about five years and the state has known the county wanted the office to move for a few years, Graff said.

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