From Annapolis

February 06, 2000

ANNAPOLIS - The Maryland Department of Agriculture has scheduled a public hearing in Hagerstown about its new farm runoff regulations.

The hearing will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Feb. 16 in room 111 of the Classroom Building at Hagerstown Community College.

Meanwhile, some rural lawmakers are pushing state officials to postpone the new rules.

Del. Paul Stull, R-Frederick, wrote a letter to Gov. Parris Glendening last week, asking for a delay on behalf of farmers.

"We're moving too fast. We're putting too much pressure on the agriculture industry," Stull said.

Shank: DNR admits goof in bill to county

ANNAPOLIS - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has admitted it goofed, said Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington.

The department mistakenly billed Washington County government for the cost of fighting fires on state forest land.

Now, Shank said he'll try to get back about $12,000 the county paid.


Tobacco money may pay for school nurses

ANNAPOLIS - Washington County Commissioners told local lawmakers last week they'd like to see the state use some of its tobacco settlement money to pay for school nurses.

"I think that's a good use of the money," agreed Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, who's been appointed to a group studying how best to spend the settlement that could reach nearly $1 billion over the next decade.

But when the commissioners told lawmakers that Washington County's limited school nurse program costs $1.2 million, lawmakers were surprised.

"There goes the tobacco money up in smoke," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

Allegheny offer good if stadium is on I-81

ANNAPOLIS - Allegheny Power President Al Noia was asked by a local lawmaker Friday if the company's 2-year-old offer still stands to buy the naming rights to a new minor league baseball stadium.

At a breakfast with lawmakers hosted by the Hagerstown-based company, Noia said Allegheny Power will pay $1 million over 12 years if two conditions are met: The stadium is next to Interstate 81 and the company supplies it with electricity.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, also asked Noia how close the stadium has to be to I-81, since a proposed site on Wesel Boulevard is somewhat removed from the highway.

"The idea is to get your name out there. It's not going to do any good if people need binoculars to see it," he said at the breakfast for local lawmakers hosted by Allegheny Power on Friday.

Mooney considers debt-limit request

ANNAPOLIS - Sen. Alex X. Mooney is considering asking the state to put stricter limits on Washington County's borrowing authority.

But commissioners told him last week that such a move would hurt at a time when they're experiencing a spike in their need for borrowing.

The county needs extra money right now to build a landfill that will be used for the next 75 years and match an unprecedented amount of school construction money being offered by the state, they said.

Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said it would be irresponsible for the county to pay off its debts more quickly instead of putting the money toward badly needed school renovation.

Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, said he regrets the delegation's decision last year to give the county the power to borrow $50 million over four years.

But he said he hasn't decided whether he'll pursue debt limits.

Substation money may come from state

ANNAPOLIS - If Washington County doesn't help the Boonsboro Fire and Rescue Company pay off a $1 million debt that grew out of its Rohrersville substation, state lawmakers said they might do it for them.

The County Commissioners have not wanted to give money to the substation, fearful that other fire and rescue companies would open substations and seek extra money from county government.

Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, and Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said passing a state law to give the substation $20,000 a year could solve that problem.

That way, fire and rescue companies would need state approval rather than local approval for an increase in their share.

The county is working on a solution to the problem, but is willing to look at the lawmakers' proposal, said Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook.

Snodgrass: Strings come with funding

ANNAPOLIS - Washington County Commissioners asked local lawmakers what political strings are attached to a $100,000 addition for Clear Spring Library that Gov. Parris Glendening might add to his budget.

"A lot," answered Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, said he gives a lot of credit to the community for lobbying the governor to add the money.

"We will do our best to keep it there," McKee said.

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