City Council Briefs

July 24, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

Black leaders' remarks irk two council members

Two members of the Hagerstown City Council, during Tuesday's meeting, said they disagree with comments made by black leaders at an NAACP Family Celebration at Wheaton Park on Saturday.

Two black leaders addressed about 100 people Saturday, telling them local politicians were ignoring their community and it had to stop.

Councilmen N. Linn Hendershot and Kristin B. Aleshire said they object to that allegation and disagree with it.

Hendershot said he did not think the speakers' comments were representative of the feelings in the area.

Aleshire called the remarks "completely uncalled for" and "a slap in the face."

The comments were made by Rev. James Irvin, president of the Washington County NAACP, and the invited speaker, Del. Joanne C. Benson, D-Prince George's.

City Council endorses park land transfer

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday endorsed an ordinance transferring the Elgin Park property on the north side of Elgin Boulevard from the city to the Hagerstown Housing Authority.


A final vote on the property transfer is scheduled for Aug. 27.

A $4.5 million, 23,000-square-foot community center is scheduled to be built on the property.

Tuesday's vote was 4-1, with Councilwoman Penny May Nigh opposed. She said she voted against the property transfer because the community center will take away open space in the city and because she thinks there was not enough public participation in the process.

The new community center would be built as part of construction of public housing replacing the Westview public housing complex.

Demolition of the Westview Homes public housing complex is scheduled to start in November or December, Hagerstown Housing Authority Executive Director Ted Shankle has said.

Construction on the $73.5 million replacement project will start around the beginning of 2003, and some new homes will be finished by the end of 2003, he said.

The Elgin Station community center would be open and accessible to all West End residents, not just those in public housing, Shankle said.

New sewer manager takes oath of office

David Shindle, Hagerstown's water pollution engineer, took the oath of office during Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council meeting to become manager of the city's sewer department.

As water pollution control manager, Shindle, 40, fills a vacancy left by the retirement of Rick Thomas, who served in that position for 17 years.

Shindle, who has worked for the city since 1989, starts in the new position Monday.

Shindle's annual salary will be $59,758.

Administrative services director takes oath

John Budesky took the oath of office Tuesday to serve as the city's director of administrative services.

He started the position on July 15.

Budesky previously served as the executive director of the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families

Budesky worked for Washington County since October 1997.

Budesky's annual salary is $50,239.

City thanks retiring pollution control boss

Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner Tuesday read a proclamation for Rick Thomas, who has retired from the city after working there since 1972.

Thomas served as the city's water pollution control manager for 17 years before retiring last month.

The proclamation thanked Thomas for his work for the city.

Proclamation thanks Kautz for city service

Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner Tuesday read a proclamation Tuesday for Ric Kautz, who is retiring after serving for 24 years as Hagerstown planning director.

The retirement of Kautz, 59, was announced at the July 16 meeting. His last day with the city is Friday.

The proclamation thanked Thomas for his work for the city.

City Council approves Augustoberfest permit

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday approved a permit application for Augustoberfest to be held Aug. 23 and 24.

The permit rents the Central Parking Lot to the Augustoberfest Charitable Foundation and allows liquor to be sold.

Elvis Lives permit OK'd

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday approved a permit application for Elvis Lives to be held Sept. 7.

Four Elvis Presley tribute artists are scheduled to perform on a stage that will be constructed in front of The Maryland Theatre on South Potomac Street. Seating will be arranged both north and south of the stage.

The permit rents the Public Square and surrounding area to the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring the event, and allows liquor to be sold.

State grant to pay for dispatchers' overtime

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday accepted a $33,488 state grant that will pay for overtime for police dispatchers to enter domestic violence orders into computers.

Domestic violence information currently is not entered as fast as the city would like, Lt. Gary Spielman said.

City's Revolving Loan Fund focus changes

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday approved changes to the Hagerstown Revolving Loan Fund's focus so it can help more downtown businesses.

The fund's purpose is to encourage the retention and expansion of existing businesses or to help recruit new businesses, a staff report said. The fund is not intended to be the primary lender to businesses.

There is $308,569 currently available through the program.

The approved changes include offering a 1 percent discount on the interest rate to borrowers in the downtown area. The resolution increases the interest rate on fund loans from the prime rate to the prime rate plus 2 percent.

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