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Letters to the editor for 9/5

September 05, 2002

Group seeks to combine services



To the editor:

The Consolidation of Government Functions Task Force, created by the Greater Hagerstown Committee, is considering ways that local government agencies might be able to consolidate and save money.

The task force recently held a follow-up to its first initial meeting. The group is working together in a very positive way to find agreements in areas that have been targeted for possible consolidation. Rich Reichenbaugh is the task force chairman, and is a principal of Associated Engineering Sciences, Inc. of Hagerstown.

The meeting of the Consolidation of Government Functions Task Force, made up of government, education, and business leaders, included the selection of subcommittees. These subcommittees are now examining ideas and suggestions for saving money for the citizens of Washington County. The task force is made up of representatives from the private sector, along with leaders from the City of Hagerstown, Washington County, Board of Education, Hagerstown Community College, the State of Maryland, and the Greater Hagerstown Committee.

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The Greater Hagerstown Committee Consolidation of Government Functions Task Force believes that this could be an exciting time for the county, and the task force is working hard at examining how all of the government entities utilize resources. There is a real potential of being able to not only save money, but also to make several of the individual governments work more efficiently. It's going to be a very careful review, and the city, county, school board and the community college are taking the opportunity to work together to bring significant cooperation. The task force's mission is to find ways to increase efficiencies and to make the best use of tax dollars. It's not just purchasing, or insurance, it's getting down to how each of the governments does things.

The subcommittees are now studying the following areas: Information technology, human resources, employee training, and printing. The subgroups are examining everything from systems to software, employee certifications to benefits, and training to print production. It's a lot to look at, but the task force feels that if the goal of increasing benefits for our citizens is met, it's a worthwhile challenge.

The task force was created to find ways to save the taxpayers' money, and to try to avoid duplication of services in Washington County. The business leaders and government officials in this group are going to be making some serious recommendations. The goal is to uncover areas that have the potential of being modified and recommend ways to make things more efficient.

The task force members will be asking some tough questions of the government entities. The task force has agreed that it wants to see justification for the same services being performed by separate governments, and perhaps is going to uncover some real savings, but that won't be known until the subcommittees research each targeted area.

Task force members have already suggested the county do more partnering with other governments. There are duplications between the county, the City of Hagerstown and the Washington County Board of Education and savings could be realized by working together.

Tom Riford

For the Greater Hagerstown Committee

Hagerstown




Thanks to all



To the editor:

Special thanks are due to all who helped make Real Life Community Church's recent concert at the City Park Bandshell a success. Thanks to our sponsors for providing donations of food and drinks, so that we could distribute them to the community absolutely free of charge.

Our sponsors for this event were Pepsi, the Martin's at Fountainhead and the Wonder/Hostess outlet. We thank Marlo Barnhart and The Herald-Mail for their coverage of our event, Dave Greenwood for coordinating the concert, Chris Chevalier for coordinating the food, Butch Moser for leading the band in a great performance and to the members of PS 150. Thanks to each of you for making things come together so well.

Pastor Jim Chevalier

Real Life Community Church

Hagerstown

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