Hagerstown briefs

November 18, 2004

Library considers expansion projects

Washington County Free Library's top official asked city officials on Tuesday for political support of an endeavor to expand the main branch of the library in downtown Hagerstown.

Library Director Mary Baykan told City Council Tuesday that library officials are planning a "robust building project." The project could include providing new sections for children, young adults, small businesses and local history, she said.

So far, officials have identified a need for at least $7 million, but it's possible a new site might be needed, Baykan said. The library is on South Potomac street.

After the meeting, Baykan said she hasn't asked the city for money, but she likely will.

During the meeting, Councilman N. Linn Hendershot said he liked the renovation ideas. The library "has the potential to be a regional and maybe even a national draw," Hendershot said.


City signs contract for AFSCME workers

In a special voting session Tuesday, the Hagerstown City Council approved and signed a one-year contract for one of the city's unions.

The contract governs wages and benefits for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1540, which represents 148 workers mostly in the city's Water and Sewer and Public Works departments.

The contract runs from July 5, 2004, to July 3, 2005, and will cost the city $6,184,930, Assistant City Finance Director Ray Foltz said Tuesday. That is $14,250 more than the city had expected to spend.

The workers will receive a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase and will not face a reduction in the amount of sick leave time they are allowed to sell back to the city.

The sick leave program allows workers who have a certain amount of unused sick leave to sell back a portion of the time to the city.

Blues Fest early costs at $245,000

A preliminary cost estimate for the 10th annual Western Maryland Blues Fest to be held next year was released Tuesday.

According to city documents, the Blues Fest to be held June 3-5 will cost $245,000. The musicians, technical equipment, marketing and related expenses will run about $200,000, and the city has set aside $45,000 for city services, city spokeswoman Karen Giffin said.

Carl Disque, the Blues Fest board chairman, said organizers plan an expanded festival that would include Thursday night entertainment. The festival recently has focused on Friday and Saturday for its main entertainment with a free event Sunday.

- Gregory T. Simmons

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