Hagerstown briefs

December 22, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Council votes to renew legal contract

The City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to renew its contract with Urner, Nairn & Boyer LLC, which has served as the City Attorney's Office.

The three-year contract terms, according to information provided by the city, eventually will increase the monthly retainer fee by $1,000 from current rates, and hourly rates by more than 20 percent.

The city's costs will increase annually:

  • In calendar year 2005, the city will pay a monthly retainer of $4,000 plus an hourly rate of $115 for attorney time.

  • In calendar year 2006, the city will pay a monthly retainer of $4,500 plus $125 for attorney time.

  • In calendar year 2007, the city will pay a $4,500 monthly retainer fee, plus $130 for attorney time.

The current contract, which expires Dec. 31, provides for a $3,500 monthly retainer and a $105 hourly rate.

For the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2005, the city has budgeted $110,000 in expenses related to the City Attorney's Office.

Resident claims link to advocacy group

Hagerstown resident Frank Nobles, 71, told the Hagerstown City Council at its Tuesday meeting that he is the new local director of a public advocacy organization that has opened offices in downtown Hagerstown.

Nobles said he is the regional ombudsman for the organization known as Ombudsman International Inc.

Nobles said Tuesday he plans to begin a campaign to highlight the problems of teen drunken driving and other social problems.

Nobles was accompanied by the Rev. L.J. Guillory, who said he is the leader of Ombudsman International. He declined to give his hometown, but said the local offices are at 55 W. Franklin St.

Guillory said he has taken issue with the city's cable franchise agreement, and said the city should have included in the agreement language that would have provided studio equipment and personnel.

According to the Web site, Ombudsman International Inc. is a nonprofit organization in the care of Leroy J. Guillory and is based in Beverly Hills, Calif., with the same address Guillory provided in a business card.

According to the Web site, the group has no recorded assets or income.

Council approves some spending items

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved several spending items in its voting session. They included:

  • $14,017 for new water meters from Hughes Supply Inc. of Montross, Va.

  • $65,000 for items related to the city's sewage treatment plant rehabilitation project. The recipient of the money is Ulliman Schutte Construction LLC of Rockville, Md.

  • $18,328 for testing the city fire department's self-contained breathing equipment. The contract was with Allsafe-Municipal Emergency Service of Williamsport.

  • $85,920 for the rehabilitation of 46 Charles St. under the city's Home Ownership Program.

  • $21,865 to buy a used spraying vehicle from G.L. Cornell Co. of Gaithersburg, Md., to be used at the city golf course.

The items were approved as part of a consent agenda in a 5-0 vote.

Eastern Boulevard rezoning is approved

The Hagerstown City Council approved on a 5-0 vote Tuesday the rezoning of 19.33 acres along Eastern Boulevard to allow for a moderate commercial use of the land.

The land in consideration is on the western side of Eastern Boulevard, near Professional Court. The owners of the land are Dahbura Enterprises Inc. and Kensington LLC.

City Planning Director Kathleen Maher said no site plans have been submitted for either the Dahbura or the Kensington parcels included in the rezoning case, although a sign on Eastern Boulevard has indicated that a four-story building would be built on the Dahbura site.

Vote is to adopt big-box ordinance

The Hagerstown City Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday to adopt an ordinance requiring minimum distances between new buildings in some large shopping centers and residential property lines.

The ordinance is one of a number of changes being considered to address traffic and other perceived safety problems associated with so-called big box stores, such as Wal-Mart and The Home Depot.

Among the requirements, the largest minimum distance is a 100-foot separation between a building in a C4 district and a residential property line. The ordinance does not address the distance between residential property lines and parking lots in C4 districts, but the City Planning Commission is considering proposals to govern that issue, City Planning Director Kathleen Maher said during the meeting.

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