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County briefs

July 25, 2000

County briefs



County awards insurance contract


The Washington County Commissioners Tuesday awarded a $59,965 insurance contract for the County Commuter buses.

The contract is with J. Edward Cochran and Co., which submitted the lowest of three eligible bids. A fourth bid was lower but was withdrawn.

County adopts debt affordability policy


The Washington County Commissioners adopted a formal debt affordability policy Tuesday.

The move will aid the county as it plans for the future, Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian told the County Commissioners.

The policy will help the county manage its current and future debt, she said

The county has never before had a formal written debt policy, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

The policy puts existing guidelines into writing, Bastian said.

The county's total debt is about $148 million, Bastian said.

A recently completed $25,000 study done by Government Finance Officers Association, a Chicago-based organization of public finance professionals, suggested the county adopt a debt affordability policy.

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The consultant's study said Washington County's debt level was slightly above average compared to five similar Maryland counties but not the highest in any comparisons conducted.

As part of the policy the county will prepare an annual report showing how the county's debt compares to other Maryland counties, Bastian said. The report will be completed prior to the annual adoption of the Capital Improvement Program, according to the policy.

Commissioners OK change order


The Washington County Commissioners Tuesday approved a change order reducing the cost of a contract related to the biological nutrient removal at the Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The change order reduces the contract by $77,000, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said. Most change orders increase, not decrease, contract amounts, Shoop said.

"Someone lift me off the floor," said a shocked Commissioner William J. Wivell.

The total cost of the state-mandated work has dropped from $5.99 million to $5.91 million, Shoop said.

-Scott Butki

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