Letters to the editor - 8/24/02

August 24, 2002

Suns night a success

To the editor:

On behalf of the staff and local advisory board of Catholic Charities, Washington County, I wish to express our gratitude to the local community for making the Friday, Aug. 9, "Catholic Charities Night at the Hagerstown Suns" such as success.

The weather was perfect; families came out for a nice evening of fun and celebration. Special thanks to the Suns' staff for cooperation - and to the local media for helping us get the word out on this event. Thanks, too, to our colleagues in other United Way agencies for supporting the effort and coming out with their families, friends and customers for the evening.

Our local program, focusing on mental health counseling for families, couples, and individuals, ages 3 years and up, is available to any race or creed. We hope Friday night's success has served to make more folks aware that we are here to serve them in their need. This is a great community.


Peg Whyte

Catholic Charities

Washington County

A tenant tax

To the editor:

The rental inspection ordinance being proposed is just another city tax on the landlords/tenants, that will only add undue costs which will be paid for by the tenants.

Presently the city has inspection personnel which deal with city codes and safety violations, the Hagerstown Housing Authority also carries out rental housing inspections, the Health Department can also be used when health problems are in question, and now the city is adding a fourth inspection group?

The majority of landlords benefit by properly maintaining their rental units and taking care of good tenants.

There are many codes, ordinance, safety codes, etc., to deal with the slumlords. How many slumlords have been prosecuted, fined and jailed for not meeting the present city codes and ordinances in the past four years? Five? 10? 20? 30?

As for the provision that would allow for exemption if the unit passed for two years, the concept is government thinking, Inspectors are bureaucrats and always find and make lists for repairs.

As a landlord who just paid $4,000 to repair a vandalized rental unit that was rented for three months, I can assure you that nobody will do anything to help the landlords recover the repair costs. We file the paper work, we hire the lawyers, we go through the courts and four months later if we win we still lose, because the tenant has left the area. (And yes, I do a check on my prospective tenants.)

When a tenant steals the refrigerator and the cooking range and punches a couple of holes in the wall, will the city make sure that the city police will vigorously go after the tenant? Will the city provide assistance to collect the judgment? I don't think the city will provide any of the above.

If the city is trying to ensure good rental housing, they should enforce the existing city codes and ordinances.

The rental inspection ordinance tax which will be paid in full by the tenants, and creates another endless tax that will not benefit 98 percent of the tenants. It will increase costs by creating the number of repair lists by inspectors and the fee this year would be $45, next year it will be $55 and following year $65, etc.. And will slumlords really become caring, loving and responsible? I don't think so.

Dennis L. Rocco

Bethel Properties, LLC


Standing up for Don

To the editor:

As a member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, I try to stay informed about budget items throughout the state. I was quite surprised to read the recent letter to the editor written by the opponent of Washington County Sen. Don Munson.

Without citing a source, she provided statistics o the amount of "state capital improvement and bond monies" received by Washington County in fiscal year 2000. She stated that the county had received "$4 million or $35 per Washington County man, woman and child."

However, a recent analysis prepared by the non-partisan Maryland Department of Legislative Services reveals something entirely different.

In fiscal year 2000, Washington County received $19.8 million in capital aid for local projects and state facilities. That is a total of $150 per capita, significantly higher than the numbers floated in the recent letter to the editor.

State appropriations that year included projects involving Clear Spring Elementary School, Potomac Heights Elementary School, the Hagerstown YMCA, the Washington County Hospital Association, upgrades for two water treatment plants, and a water storage tower in Elk Ridge, to name just several of the state-supported projects on the list.

I have known Senator Munson for 12 years. Don's integrity and knowledge of our state's fiscal climate are valuable assets to the Budget and Taxation Committee. His advocacy for Washington County and its people make him an extraordinarily capable and conscientious legislator.

Sen. J. Lowell Stoltzfus

Westover, Md.

Jefferson County needs a plan for the future, and needs it now

To the editor:

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