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Delegation seeks water/sewer panel

February 05, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A 21-member commission would spend two years studying the future of water and sewer service in Washington County, under legislation sought by local lawmakers.

Washington County lawmakers voted unanimously Wednesday to create the Washington County Water and Sewer Infrastructure Commission.

Among other things, the commission would study the feasibility of consolidating Hagerstown and Washington County's utilities under a new regional authority.

Under the legislation, the commission would:

  • Assess the capacity and deficiencies of the water and sewer system.

  • Review state and federal requirements of providing water and sewer service.

  • Examine the services provided by neighboring counties and regions.

  • Find the most efficient ways to provide future water and sewer service while ensuring public health.

  • Consider economic development issues.

  • Consider how prepared municipalities are to handle growth.

  • Consider consolidating the city and county systems under a regional authority.


"All options should be on the table. There should be no foregone conclusion," said Delegation Chairman Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington.

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If approved by the Maryland General Assembly, the legislation would require an interim report by Jan. 1, 2005, and a final report by June 2006.

Members would be appointed by local lawmakers, the Washington County Commissioners and the Hagerstown City Council.

The county's Water and Sewer Advisory Commission, Health Department, Planning Commission, Economic Development Commission, Chamber of Commerce and Greater Hagerstown Committee all would have representation on the commission.

"I think this gives us a basis to move forward in Washington County in a way we've never had before," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

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