Washington Co. defines goals for 2000

January 11, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners began refining their list of goals for 2000 Tuesday.

County Administrator Rodney Shoop led the one-hour discussion on the goals, most of which were related to decisions the commissioners have made and information obtained at meetings with department heads.

The proposed goals are to:

  • Establish county urban revitalization initiatives. This would include working to revitalize downtown Hagerstown as well as other regions in the county, Shoop said.
  • Develop final recommendations for the revised county Comprehensive Plan.

The plan lays the groundwork for Washington County over the next 20 years, especially in areas of land use, growth management policy, roads, sewers and sensitive environmental areas.

The plan won't be finished before July 2001, but some recommendations and changes will be made this year, Planning Director Robert Arch said.

  • Adopt a plan to transfer wastewater flows west of Hagerstown to the county's Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Commissioner John L. Schenbly said a plan will come before the County Commissioners by June. Schenbly is on a joint city-county committee studying merging city and county water and sewer systems.

That panel has been looking at sending up to 200,000 gallons of daily sewage flow, including that from the Centre at Hagerstown, to the plant. Under the plan the city would contract with the county to take on the flow of the properties, which are west of Interstate 81 and north of U.S. 40.

  • Transfer ownership of water service areas at Martin's Crossroad and Conococheague to the city of Hagerstown.

While those areas are not scheduled to be transferred to the city for more than 12 years, it makes more sense administratively to do it now, Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian said.

  • Adopt and implement a formal debt management policy.

A policy is in place, but a more detailed one would be beneficial to the county, Shoop said.

  • Develop and adopt a comprehensive land use plan for Hagerstown Regional Airport and vicinity.

The county must ensure that development near the airport doesn't hinder future airport development, said Shoop, who was airport manager before becoming county administrator.

The county is studying whether to extend the airport's 5,450-foot runway to 7,000 feet, Shoop said. Cost of the runway extension has been estimated at $25 million to $40 million because it would cross U.S. 11.

  • Resolve county government downtown space needs.

Shoop says the county is out of room at the County Administration Building. But the County Commissioners have rejected a proposal to buy the nearby Wareham Building so the offices could expand.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook added one item to the list: Adopt a long-range plan for the Washington County Free Library.

The County Commissioners want to look at the library's plans, which call for building new libraries in Boonsboro and Sharpsburg and renovating the downtown library.

Snook said the commissioners need time to discuss the goals before they can approve a final list.

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