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County Commission briefs from 7/23

July 24, 2003|by TARA REILLY

Capital investment hit $149.5 million in 2002


Washington County Commissioner James F. Kercheval told the County Commissioners Tuesday that economic development figures show there was $149.5 million in capital investment in the county in 2002.

There was more than $100 million in capital investment in the county in the first six months of 2003, Kercheval said.

Kercheval said he got the figures from a recent Economic Development Commission strategic planning session.

Humane Society director hired


Washington County Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell told the County Commissioners that the Humane Society of Washington County hired a new executive director.

Paul Miller of Chattanooga, Tenn., likely will start in September, Wivell said.

Miller, who has held similar positions, replaces Maria Procopio, who resigned effective June 13.

Amendments made to excise tax ordinance


The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday made a few amendments to the new building excise tax ordinance.

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The County Commissioners approved the tax on June 17, and it went into effect on July 1.

One of the changes exempts attached garages, attics and crawl spaces from the tax.

The ordinance also states the Growth Management Act of 2003 requires that all municipalities assist in collecting the tax by either collecting it or requiring the tax to be paid to the director of finance before a permit is issued, according to a county document.

The county also eliminated unnecessary provisions and made other minor changes for consistency.

Increase in hangar rates considered


The Washington County Commissioners are considering raising hangar rates by 4 percent at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

The increase would apply to new T-hangar rentals, officials said.

The revenue from the increase would go toward repairs to hangars, Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said.

Two pilots spoke in opposition to the proposed rates, saying they would cause a hardship to pilots and discourage young people from becoming pilots.

Shift supervisor vacancy to be filled


The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to fill a shift supervisor vacancy in the Washington County Fire and Rescue Communications Department.

The position's starting salary is $36,100 a year.

The position was held by Dave Phiel, who retired at the end of June.

Communications Chief Bardona Woods said the position likely will be filled from within, leaving an emergency communication specialist position open.

The County Commissioners also agreed to fill that position should it come open.

Culvert repair contract awarded


The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday awarded a contract to repair a culvert on Harpers Ferry Road.

Building Systems Inc. of Hagerstown received the $74,865 contract.

The project includes repair to a deteriorated culvert on that road, removal and disposal of existing pipe and the construction of a concrete structure, according to a county document.

The work is to begin on Aug. 4 and be completed by Sept. 7. The road will be closed during that period and detours will be posted, according to a county statement.

Bridge rehabilitation project has not begun


Washington County Chief Engineer Terry McGee told the County Commissioners that the contractor hired to perform the Broadfording Road Bridge rehabilitation project has yet to begin the job.

The contractor was supposed to start repairs on June 10, McGee said.

He said all steps, including legal procedures, are being pursued to ensure that the contractor lives up to the terms of the agreement, according to a county statement.

McGee said the road will have to remain closed until repairs are made because of recent damage caused by flooding.

Rezoning workshop schedules outlined


Washington County Planning Director Robert Arch on Tuesday gave the County Commissioners an update on rezoning as part of the Comprehensive Plan.

The plan calls for updated zoning districts in rural areas. The county held its first public informational workshop on the rezoning proposals Tuesday at Pleasant Valley Elementary School.

Another workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Agricultural Education Center on Md. 65 between Fairplay and Sharpsburg.

Workshops also will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 29 at Smithsburg High School and on July 31 at Clear Spring High School.

Copies of the proposed text and map amendments are available for review in the Planning Department at 80 W. Baltimore St. in Hagerstown.

Residents may attend any of the workshops.

Those interested in the rezoning proposals can call 240-313-2430 for more information.

County to piggyback onto state gas contract


The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to again piggyback onto the state's contract for natural gas with Washington Gas Energy Services Inc. of Towson, Md.

The contract will be from July 1 through June 20, 2004.

Assistant Buildings, Grounds and Parks Director Bob Graff told the County Commissioners that the county saved more than $100,000 in the first 21 months of a previous contract.

PILOT agreement OK'd for development


The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with Hagerstown Robinwood Senior Associates to develop the second phase of a senior-citizen housing development at Rosebank Way off Robinwood Drive.

State law authorizes the county to enter into such agreements so rental housing can be provided to seniors with low to moderate incomes, according to a county statement.

To encourage construction of such units, state and federal laws provide for tax incentives and the PILOT agreement constitutes a local match, according to a county document.

The second phase includes 56 housing units known as Francis Murphy Senior Apartments.

The first phase of the project consisted of 64 units.

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