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Snook wants to discuss rescue system changes

February 13, 2001|By SCOTT BUTKI

Snook wants to discuss rescue system changes



After hearing a presentation on a report that suggests changes to the fire and rescue system, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook Tuesday asked for a joint meeting with the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association board to begin discussing which changes to implement and how to pay for them.

After the 90-minute presentation, the commissioners had little reaction to the report beyond making plans to meet with the Fire and Rescue Association.

The Emergency Services Council's 18-page report and 18-page appendix addresses more than 100 recommendations made by a paid consultant in 1998 and 1999.

The intent was to look at challenges facing the existing system and make suggestions for possible improvements.

"We have a good system and it's working," said County Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger, an ex-officio member of the council.

"This is an attempt to move the system forward," he said.

The report does not suggest how to fund the more than $2 million in changes and takes no position on whether the county should establish a fire tax.

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The report suggests that in the future, the county spend about $1.8 million to buy property for a countywide training facility and then design and construct it.

The City of Hagerstown's facility is pretty full, said Emergency Services Council member Joe Kroboth, chief of the Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway.

Snook suggested talking with city officials about sharing some costs for a new facility.

Kroboth was asked if existing facilities in Allegany or Frederick counties could be used. That could work, he said, but would mean some companies' vehicles would be unavailable for service while they traveled to and from those locations.

Commissioner Paul L. Swartz suggested using one of the schools that would be left vacant if consolidation efforts are successful. That way the county can save the cost of buying new land, Swartz said

Kroboth agreed that might work.

No action was taken on the matter Tuesday.

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