Washington County briefs

November 30, 1999|By KAREN HANNA

Motion to reduce the tax rate fails

Despite support from two Washington County Commissioners, a motion to reduce the tax rate failed Tuesday just hours before the County Commissioners' budget presentation.

"I really think we need a 2-cent tax cut, and we need it before we go to our hearing," Commissioner John C. Munson said Tuesday during the County Commissioners' regular meeting.

Commissioner James F. Kercheval said he believed the County Commissioners previously had decided to wait and determine later based on tax receipts whether tax refunds would be appropriate.

"Tax refunds, in my opinion, are hogwash," Munson shot back.

The current tax rate is 94.8 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell seconded Munson's motion, but Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook and Commissioners Doris J. Nipps and Kercheval voted against it.


Livability code revised on 3-2 vote

More than a month after residents turned out to speak against a proposed code setting standards for owner-occupied homes, the Washington County Commissioners voted Tuesday on revisions to a housing code that will not include the contentious section.

"I think we're taken away enough of people's property rights in this county," Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell said. "I'm not interested in adopting more than what is required."

With Wivell and Commissioner John C. Munson voting in opposition, the County Commissioners agreed to revisions to the livability code, which sets standards for tenants, landlords and property managers, and establishes the procedures for evicting residents, condemning buildings and dealing with people displaced from their homes.

Proposed requirements for owner-occupied dwellings have been struck from the code after residents spoke against them at a public hearing in March.

Requests approved for project grants

If they are approved, requests for funding from a grant program that benefits three Western Maryland counties would help pay for several projects in Washington County, including technology upgrades, road construction and student-enrollment tracking.

The County Commissioners on Tuesday approved grant requests from applicants, including Washington County Public Schools, City of Hagerstown and Town of Williamsport, which are seeking funds through the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The projects include the extension of Newgate Boulevard, the redevelopment of the area near Lee and Sycamore streets in Hagerstown, a renovation of Hagerstown Community College's Career Programs building, the purchase of property for a new business park in the City of Hagerstown, technology upgrades for the Boonsboro school campus and Washington County Planning Department, an expansion of the school system's math, science and engineering magnet programs, and an upgrade to the Williamsport pumping stations. The Community Free Clinic also is asking for money to help it maintain its current level of services.

Robert Mandley, of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said the Appalachian Regional Commission that distributes funds, makes its final decisions regarding funding in October or November.

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