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Officials of Md. counties meet in Hagerstown

December 02, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Elected county officials from across Maryland began arriving in Hagerstown Wednesday for the Maryland Association of Counties' annual winter conference.

The conference, which rotates to different counties around the state, hasn't been held in Washington County for about five years, Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said. This year's conference is being held at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on Dual Highway. It will end on Friday.

The association has an active membership of 147 elected county officials, association Communications Director Ellen Clarke said. Clarke said she expected about 200 to 250 participants.

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The association's outgoing president, James M. Harkins, of Harford County, Md., said this year's conference will focus on county budget issues.

"Budget is the most critical component of county policy, given that the state has had such a challenge balancing the budget," he said.

The conference will include workshops addressing some of the following: Maryland's Public Information Act, public safety, potential water supply contaminants and affordable housing.

On Thursday night, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele will install the association's new board of directors and give remarks.

Tom Riford, president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the conference could pump as much as $125,000 into the local economy.

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