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Commission briefs

December 20, 2001

Commission briefs



Mount Aetna Volunteer Fire Co. can't find a place for its new fire station now that the land that had been set aside was taken by the state for a traffic circle, officials said Tuesday.

Comparable sites are more expensive than the one Washington County government purchased at the intersection of Mount Aetna Road and Md. 66, said Joe Kroboth, the county's emergency services director.

Washington County Commission President Gregory I. Snook said the Maryland Highway Administration should help the county pay for the added expense.

So far, highway officials have committed only to fulfilling their legal obligation to the county, said County Administrator Rodney Shoop.

"We said as local government we make decisions based on moral obligations, too," Shoop said.

State Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, and Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, are working with the county to find a solution.

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The Washington County Narcotics Task Force will spend $26,622 of drug money it confiscated to buy a piece of lab equipment.

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the purchase of the Fourier Transform/Infrared Spectrometer System from Thermo Nicolet Corp.

The Madison, Wis., company is the only maker of a spectrometer that is compatible with a $40,000 microscope in the lab, said Jeff Kercheval, supervisory forensic scientist.

One of the two most important pieces of equipment in the lab, the spectrometer is used in the crime lab to compare polymers, plastics and synthetic fibers. It also chemically distinguishes between powder cocaine and crack cocaine, he said.

The Washington County Commissioners voted Tuesday to create a new supervisor's job in the Buildings, Grounds and Parks Department.

The commissioners converted a vacant lead worker position to a higher-paying supervisor's position.

"Basically we have too many Indians and not enough chiefs. I'm spending 95 percent of my time in the field," said Director of Buildings, Grounds and Parks James L. Sterling.

Sterling said he realized the position will be viewed as another layer of supervision, but said he needs to spend more time planning and getting involved in larger issues.

The person who gets the position will be paid between $35,000 and $56,000 to supervise two employees in the maintenance shop and 14 members of the grounds and facilities crews.

The commissioners approved the new position on a 3-2 vote, with William Wivell and Paul Swartz voting against the change.

- Laura Ernde

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