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Council briefs 1/29

January 31, 2002

Council briefs 1/29



Revitalization of city, property part of goals


The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday formally adopted goals, including property revitalization and city revitalization.

The council had discussed the goals during several meetings since July.

The council listed several specific objectives including creating tax incentives for improvements to rental properties, increasing police protection downtown and hiring more firefighters.

The goals also include improving parking availability, improve relations with the new owner of the Hagerstown Suns baseball team, and improving the relationships with the city employees' unions.

Grants to fight domestic violence, drug dealers


The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved accepting state grants that will help pay for the police department's domestic violence officer as well as a Narcotics Nuisance Abatement attorney who works with landlords to get drug dealers out of properties.

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The domestic violence position is funded with a $36,380 grant.

The $17,385 grant for the nuisance abatement attorney helps pay for six months of the attorney's services and requires the city and Washington County governments to make matching contributions of $2,898 each.

City Police Chief Arthur Smith has said the nuisance abatement attorney works by encouraging landlords to screen their tenants and write leases that allow the landlords to evict problem tenants.

Neighborhoods 1st Month to be February


February will be designated as Neighborhoods 1st Month in Hagerstown, Mayor William M. Breichner said Tuesday.

The Neighborhoods 1st program, which began in February 1999, helps form community groups and provides money for neighborhood projects.

There are six Neighborhoods 1st groups in the city, Breichner said.

Open container law to take effect in 30 days


Walking around with an open beer will soon be illegal in Hagerstown.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a law that makes it illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage container in public. The law takes effect in 30 days.

City Police Chief Arthur Smith has said that without this law it's only illegal to drink alcohol in public, which meant that police needed to see someone drinking to make an arrest.

Under the new law, someone caught with an open alcoholic beverage container could be fined up to $250 in court or pre-pay a fine of $50.

- Dan Kulin

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