Nipps says city, county could meld operations

October 29, 2002

Editor's Note: This is the seventh in a series of profiles of the 10 candidates seeking election to the Washington County Board of Commissioners. Tomorrow: Gregory I. Snook

Doris J. Nipps


20236 American Way, Hagerstown


- Says the county's inevitable growth should be managed in a way that fits the needs of the community and the need for a strong economic base while preserving the area's agricultural heritage and quality of life.

- Says she wants to ensure there are sufficient emergency services by hiring more deputies and evaluating the current financing of the fire and rescue system.


- Says she believes there should be more money for renovation of schools and updating of technology in the schools.

- Says she wants to look at consolidating some government services, including buses, public safety and human resources.

Doris Nipps says she wants to give back to the Washington County community and not just to schools.

Nipps has served as a Washington County Board of Education member since 1994. Her term expires in 2004, but she says if elected commissioner, she would vacate her School Board seat and the governor would appoint a replacement.

Nipps said she thought now would be a good time to run for election to one of the five Washington County Commissioners seats on the November general election ballot.

As she gets older she wants to do something more for Washington County, she said.

"With eight years on the School Board, I decided that with the experience I have I can have a positive impact on the county," Nipps said.

She said she has experience with the county government through her School Board work and has relationships with business leaders and the state delegation members. During the campaign she has been trying to learn more about other county issues, she said.

Her interests as a commissioner, if elected, would go beyond education issues, she said.

She said, for example, she would like the county to explore merging some City of Hagerstown, Washington County and School Board operations, including Human Resources departments.

Nipps said she thinks the county should explore letting the School Board take over maintenance and operation of the County Commuter service since board employees have demonstrated their expertise in the area with school buses.

The county should also look into merging the Washington County Sheriff's Department with municipal police, including the Hagerstown Police Department, she said.

Citizens ask her why there is duplication in government, Nipps said.

"We seem to forget that we're all funded with tax dollars. We need to get off this turf thing and figure out the best use of taxpayer dollars," she said.

Nipps said she supports hiring more Sheriff's Department deputies but is not sure how the county would find the money to pay for them. And the county should study whether deputies are receiving sufficient pay, she said.

She said she opposes a fire tax unless there is no alternative to making sure the fire and rescue companies have adequate funding and resources.

Nipps said she does not think county taxpayer money, including hotel-motel tax proceeds, should go to a new stadium for the Hagerstown Suns.

She expressed disappointment that the city and county government have not resolved a months-long dispute about a joint city-county sewer service agreement.

Nipps said she thinks the County Commissioners should have released more information about how much former Economic Development Director John Howard was paid when he retired.

She said she supports planned growth but said the county needs to ensure that growth does not occur at the expense of what the county has now.

Nipps said a county proposal to prevent large residential developments from being built in rural areas for a year may have merit but she wants to find out how it would affect local builders.

The county needs to continue to monitor how the drought is affecting local wells, she said.

As of Sept. 9, the number of replacement wells in the county was at 117, compared to 91 as of Sept. 9, 2001, according to Washington County Health Department documents.

Nipps said she thinks the city and county should work more cooperatively to encourage economic development in the area.

Nipps works part time as a Habitat for Humanity community coordinator, working with volunteer committees and the families who apply for Habitat homes.

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