County, city submit their wish lists to delegation

December 17, 2004|by TAMELA BAKER

The Washington County Commissioners and the Hagerstown City Council on Thursday presented the county's legislative delegation with their agendas for the 2005 session of the Maryland General Assembly.

In addition to seeking the removal of a cap on the county's building excise tax, the commissioners asked for:

  • Adoption of the county's Salary Study Commission's recommendations. These include an increase of $1,500 to the annual salary of school board members, currently $4,800 for regular members and $4,900 for the president; an increase from $50 to $75 per meeting for Board of Election Supervisors; and an undetermined increase in salary for the sheriff. The commissioners want the delegation to determine the increase to the sheriff's $67,500 salary.

  • Authority to skip the usual bidding procedure for purchasing necessary items to avoid serious damage to public welfare in an emergency.

  • Clarification of the Washington County Electrical Board's authority to regulate the licensing and discipline of those engaged in electrical work.

  • Authority for criminal prosecution of violations of the county's Animal Control Ordinance as misdemeanors.

  • Authority to regulate weeds above a certain height. The county suggested that such a bill could include a provision to impose liens for the cost of removing weeds.

  • Authority to regulate alarm systems, including imposing fines for false alarms.

The commissioners also sought delegation support for a fifth judge for the Circuit Court and for the transfer of the Agricultural Education Center near Sharpsburg to the county from the University of Maryland. Commissioner Doris J. Nipps said the county's lease from the university severely limits the activities that can be scheduled at the center.


The commissioners also asked the delegation to support a bill to clarify the calculation of assessable base value of property used by businesses to create new jobs.

The Hagerstown City Council asked the delegation to fight for operating revenues for the new University System of Maryland at Hagerstown. Mayor William M. Breichner said a ribbon-cutting ceremony has been scheduled for Jan. 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the downtown campus.

The city also asked the delegation to submit legislation for:

  • State aid for improvements to the intersection of Dual Highway and Edgewood Drive.

  • An additional 2 percent on the Washington County Room Tax for hotels in Hagerstown, with that money dedicated to the city. Delegation Chairman Christopher B. Shank asked council members to take a formal vote on the 2 percent increase before the delegation gets involved.

  • Additional funding for the proposed School for the Arts on South Potomac Street.

  • Authority to license taxi drivers.

Del. Richard Weldon, R-Washington/Frederick, said such legislation should be proposed through the Maryland Municipal League rather than through a local delegation.

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