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Substation funds requested

February 26, 2001

Substation funds requested



By SCOTT BUTKI -- scottb@herald-mail.com


A week after agreeing to provide funding for the First Hose Company of Boonsboro's Rohrersville substation, the Washington County Commissioners have been asked to fund Community Rescue Service Inc.'s Maugansville substation.

The commissioners agreed earlier this month to send a letter to Boonsboro station officials promising funding.

The commissioners each year distribute about $40,000 to each fire and rescue company in the county. They agreed that Boonsboro will continue to get its standard allotment while Rohrersville will get half of that amount, or about $20,000. The decision makes it the only substation to receive direct county funding.

CRS has operated a substation at Maugansville Goodwill Fire Co. since 1981. It had 859 dispatches in calendar year 1999.

CRS, a private, nonprofit ambulance company, serves about 34,000 homes in Hagerstown and parts of the surrounding area.

Michael Nye, CRS interim director, last Tuesday gave the commissioners a letter asking for substation funding.

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Commissioner Bert Iseminger told him the commissioners made the Rohrersville substation funding decision after the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association recommended they do so.

Iseminger suggested that Nye's first step should be to go before the Fire and Rescue Association.

"Before we do anything, you need to do a formal presentation to them," Iseminger told Nye.

"And if they deny it?" Nye asked.

"Then you have every right to appeal it to us," Iseminger said.

CRS' previous attempts to get Fire and Rescue Association money for the substation have been rejected, Nye said. He was told that no other substation received payments, but that is no longer the case, he said.

Nye said he would send a letter to the association.

Commissioners President Greg Snook said he was not surprised by the request to fund another substation.

"We all recognize the action taken last week opens the door to other requests," he said.

County Attorney Richard Douglas has said the Rohrersville decision does not constitute a precedent the county must follow.

The commissioners' decision on Boonsboro came less than one week after a proposed bill to require county substation funding was introduced in the Maryland General Assembly.

The bill was co-sponsored by Del. John Donoghue, D-Washington, and Del. Chris Shank, R-Washington.

Shank, reached last Tuesday night, said he agreed that Nye should take the CRS request to the association before asking the commissioners to take action.

Shank had said he would withdraw the bill if the commissioners provided substation funding. On Thursday, he said the bill had not been withdrawn. That will be done when he receives a letter from the county confirming payment of the funding, he said.

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