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Clear Spring, Hancock lobby for funds

March 26, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Knowing that both state and county budgets are already under the knife, the mayors of Clear Spring and Hancock still lobbied the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday night for their support on several "hometown" projects.

The annual tax setoff meeting for the two county towns was held at Clear Spring Town Hall.

"Our biggest concerns are the water storage tank and water filtration system, which we are under state mandate to install in Clear Spring," said Clear Spring Mayor Paul Hose Jr.

Hose said water and sewer rates probably will have to increase 157 percent to meet the costs the town will face. The schools could see $25,000 in extra charges for services, he said.

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Currently, in-town water customers pay $18 and out-of-town water customers pay $27 per quarter for water; all sewer customers pay $85 per quarter.

The improvements were mandated because tests of the town water supply showed infiltration of contaminated groundwater. The town has negotiated a low-interest loan with the state for the nearly $1 million project.

"We suggest that once you receive that loan money, you ask the delegation to see about having part of that loan forgiven," County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

But Hose said the town already has gone that route and met with no success.

Clear Spring resident Tom Grosh asked the commissioners to place parks on a priority list for any county money that might be available.

"I noticed when I drove into town tonight there wasn't an empty parking space at the park," Snook said. "It is definitely on our priority list."

Clear Spring historian Joan Hull thanked the commissioners for "monitoring the agricultural and historic integrity of the area."

Hancock Mayor Dan Murphy asked the commissioners if the upgrade of the bridge at the Rayloc Plant was still on schedule. And he asked all five commissioners in attendance to look into ways to provide a better retirement package for the town's four-person police department.

"We hire them, train them and then lose them to the Washington County Sheriff's Department because they have a better retirement plan to offer," Murphy said, suggesting there might be a creative way to make Hancock's police officers county employees.

Washington County Administrator Rodney Shoop said there have been other such requests over the years and none has been granted.

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