Hagerstown city briefs

July 21, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Snow-removal costs are on the rise

The cost of plowing snow is on the rise, City Public Works Manger Erik Deike told the City Council Tuesday.

During the council's Tuesday work session, Deike said the city spent nearly $1 million clearing snow from city streets in the past two winters.

Deike said the city will begin clearing Public Square after snowstorms, and if 12 inches of snow or more falls, the city will truck snow out of downtown. Deike said there wasn't previously a set time to clear the plowed piles of snow, which can hinder parking and traffic.

Deike also said the city is considering plowing alleys, which it has not done in the past.

Deike said the city's current annexation policy is posing a challenge to the snow-removal budget.

With new property that is being added to the city's borders, Deike said, there's more streets and "we'll have those also to maintain ... It's going to become more expensive every year."

New magazine will focus on Hagerstown

The editor and organizers of a new privately funded magazine focusing on Hagerstown told the City Council Tuesday about their new efforts.

Kate Rader, editor in chief of Hagerstown: The Best of Life in Washington County, said the magazine will publish every two months, but there are plans to later publish once a month.

Rader said the full-color, glossy magazine will be published this fall and will be distributed to local bookstores and travel-related businesses. She said the magazine will contain reported articles on the city about art, culture, food and businesses.

Rader last worked at a publication in Frederick and has worked at several other Maryland publications, City Economic Development Director Deborah Everhart said.

Everhart said the city plans on buying a full-page ad in the magazine for the first year at a cost of about $1,500 to the city.

Council tosses bid on water/sewer project

The City Council on Tuesday tossed out a bid on a Water and Sewer Department project that was $185,000 more than the city budgeted for the project.

Water and Sewer Department Manager David Shindle made the request that the bid be tossed out at the council's work session. He said the city budgeted about $200,000 for the second phase of a sewer-line replacement near Hamilton Run.

The undisclosed bidder said it would do the work for $385,426, according to information Shindle provided to the council.

Purchasing card system to get a look

The City Council gave the go-ahead Tuesday to pursue a purchasing card system for city employees.

The idea first was discussed in April but tabled after questions arose during a voting session.

On Tuesday, City Finance Director Alfred Martin stood behind the proposal, calling the new purchasing system cost-effective, yet safe.

The purchasing cards would work like credit cards, officials said. The owner of the card could purchase items without cash. There are several limits that can be placed on the cards, including the amount of money that can be spent, where it can be spent and by whom they can be used.

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