Washington County briefs

January 29, 2003|by TARA REILLY

County staff to seek bid on new sound system

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday heard a presentation from staff members about the cost and feasibility of replacing the sound system in the commissioners' meeting room.

The current analog system doesn't function properly and people attending the meetings sometimes have a hard time hearing discussions, staff said.

A digital system, which would amplify the sound in the room, would cost about $16,000.

The system would come with a digital recorder that can store up to 27 hours of meetings.

Staff members will seek bid information about the system.

Rohrer to seek quotes on room renovation

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday instructed Director of Public Works Gary Rohrer to seek telephone price quotes to combine the commissioners' workshop meeting room with the conference room.

That work would include removing a partition to make room for public seating when the commissioners meet with other groups, such as the local delegation and the Washington County Board of Education.


A soundproof accordion curtain would allow the room to be used separately when joint use of the rooms is not required.

The county anticipates the cost to be $6,082.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell and Commissioner John C. Munson said they did not support the renovation.

Commissioners discuss four-year initiatives

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday discussed several initiatives for the next four years.

The initiatives include assuring public funds are being used efficiently and effectively, working with the Washington County Board of Education and Hagerstown Community College and other county-funded organizations on strategic and financial planning and investigating joint initiatives with other public entities to include such topics as central booking and systems consolidation.

Man's guidance earns him a Life-Saver Award

Washington County Emergency Communications Specialist William King received a Certificate of Merit from the County Commissioners Tuesday night when the commissioners held their meeting at Funkstown Town Hall.

King received a 911 call on Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. from a mother who reported her son was choking. He calmed the mother and gave her instructions for procedures to save the boy's life.

County Director of Emergency Services Joe Kroboth said the boy, Peter "Buddy" Szakacs, spent two days at Washington County Hospital and was released.

Kroboth presented King with the 2002 Life-Saver Award. The boy's family publicly thanked King and gave him a gift.

"This is how our employees truly add value to life in Washington County," Kroboth said.

"You never realize how important it is until you really need someone like that," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

Funkstown residents given bypass update

Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook told the Funkstown Town Council and residents Tuesday night that the county has asked U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett to lobby for federal funding to go toward building Southern Boulevard, a road that would bypass Funkstown.

The road would connect Edgewood Drive to Oak Ridge Drive, and alleviate some of the traffic through town, officials have said.

Snook's comments came in response to questions from residents on the status of the bypass. He said the bypass would cost more than $13 million, and that the county would need financial help from the federal and state governments and developers to build it.

"The county cannot pick up a tab like that," Snook said.

He said there's no funding in place for the first phase of the project, but that the bypass is important to the town.

"We still recognize the need for taking some of the traffic out of Funkstown," Snook said.

Commissioners asked for help with lagoons

Funkstown Mayor Robert Kline asked the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday night where the town could come up with $1.5 million to replace or repair leaky town lagoons.

The County Commissioners met with the Funkstown Town Council at Funkstown Town Hall.

Kline said the federal government told the town that its lagoons are leaking, but that it can't locate the leaks. He said the town was told it had to fix or replace the lagoons.

"Would you tell me where a little town like Funkstown could come up with that?" Kline asked.

"I don't know," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

"I don't either," Kline responded.

Kline said he could not put the burden on the town's residents, because one-third of the residents are senior citizens and can't afford the costs.

Snook said the county's water and sewer department would assist Funkstown with technical help on the lagoon problem.

Funkstown to get $5,239 in tax rebates

The town of Funkstown will receive $5,239 for fiscal year 2003 in property tax rebate money, the Washington County Commissioners told the Funkstown Town Council Tuesday night.

The 2003 rebate is down $38 from the $5,277 the town received in fiscal year 2002.

The rebate, known as tax setoff money, partially reimburses municipalities for police, parks and road services.

The county will allocate $1.12 million to municipalities this year. That is $95,370 more than last year's allocation of about $1.03 million, an increase of 9.29 percent, according to county documents.

The tax setoff is calculated based on population, assessable tax base and taxable income.

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