Hagerstown briefs

May 12, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

City OKs borrowing$9.5 million in bonds

The Hagerstown City Council during a special session Tuesday approved an ordinance to borrow up to $9.5 million in the form of bonds.

The money raised from the sale of bonds would be used to pay for a number of items in the budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30. The bonds also will be used to refinance some of the city's outstanding debt, resulting in savings of up to $230,000, city Finance Director Alfred Martin said.

The projects the money would help pay for include construction of the five-level parking garage off South Potomac Street, rehabilitation of the City Park lake walls and road improvements at Fairgrounds Park.

The mayor and City Council must approve a resolution with final details of the size of the bond issue once the city has finalized terms of the sale. The sale of the bonds is scheduled for mid-June, and the city would receive the proceeds in late June.


Rain insurance for Blues Fest approved

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved the purchase of rain insurance policies for the 2004 Western Maryland Blues Fest.

City spokeswoman Karen Giffin said during the council's work session that the conditions of last year's insurance policy kept the city from collecting money, even though a heavy downpour on the headliner day kept attendance low.

Instead of keeping last year's rainfall limit of a half-inch, the city this year will use two different limits.

The council gave preliminary approval to buy a $5,000 policy for Friday, June 4, which the city can collect if one-third of an inch of rain is recorded at Hagerstown Regional Airport between 3 and 8 p.m.

For Saturday, June 6 - the heaviest attendance day - the city plans to buy a $4,640 policy that would become effective after a quarter-inch of rainfall between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

City may alter trash collection

The City Council asked City Engineer Rodney Tissue to perform a three-month trial of a new residential trash collection program that aims to keep "mountains of trash" off the city's sidewalks.

Tissue presented a plan at Tuesday's City Council work session to begin collecting trash in the city's alleys instead of from sidewalks that face the street where mounds of trash can be an eyesore.

Tissue proposed that residents within a 12-block area in downtown begin placing their trash in nearby alleys beginning June 1 and would continue through September.

Because the 12 city blocks that would be part of the study have different collection days, Tissue said his department will determine a collection day and publicize it.

Crackdown on trash, unkept lawns slated

Residents and property owners who leave trash around their properties or don't take care of their lawns might be more likely to get a $200 fine this year, city officials said Tuesday.

In a recap Tuesday of city code procedures, Chief Code Compliance Officer John Lestitian said the city is no longer giving any lenience when it comes to sanitation and nuisance abatement codes. The codes target people who keep unused appliances in their yards or on sidewalks, don't trim their yards or allow garbage to collect.

Lestitian said property owners or tenants will be notified they are not in compliance, and will have a 10- to 15-day period in which to comply. If the person notified isn't compliant, the city will clean up the problem and fine the person $200.

Lestitian said if the problem is bad enough to pose a health risk, code enforcers can remove items only 24 hours after posting notice. If the city has to clean up properties, property owners can be charged a $100 administrative fee.

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