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Council of governments proposed

February 08, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Most of the Washington County Board of Education members said a proposal from a group of Boonsboro-area residents to have local elected officials meet regularly to improve countywide communication about growth has merit.

Members of Boonsboro High School's Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) gave copies of their report and a proposal to form a Washington County Council of Governments (COG) to the School Board during an Evening with the Board on Jan. 25.

The CAC is expected to speak during citizens participation before the School Board at its Feb. 15 meeting, Board President Paul W. Bailey said. Bailey said the board could decide what action to take regarding the CAC's recommendations at the following board meeting.

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The proposal for a COG would have the Washington County Commissioners, the school board, representatives from each municipality, various department personnel and other organizations, as needed, meet at least every two months.

The CAC report states that the informal, social local Maryland Municipal League meetings fall short of what is needed to coordinate countywide services, policies and plans.

The COG would share information "to provide a safe, coordinated and comprehensive approach to growth and development," the proposal states.

"I think it has some potential. I don't know where county government stands on the issue. I think it has potential for unifying the district as far as the aim to get schools built and fund them," Bailey said.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said a COG "has its place," but said he thought the plan should be tabled until the county gets state approval to levy an excise tax within local towns' limits.

CAC Chairwoman Donna Brightman said the CAC was to make presentations to Boonsboro and Keedysville officials on Monday night and to the commissioners and School Board next week.

School Board Vice President Jacqueline B. Fischer said she wasn't sure a formal COG was required, but it would be good for the government groups to get together.

While the board hasn't discussed the COG proposal, member Bernadette M. Wagner said it is a good idea that deserves further consideration.

Board member Wayne D. Ridenour said he hasn't read the CAC's entire report, but thinks the group would be more efficient and effective as a formal group.

Board member W. Edward Forrest said if everyone can get together and share information, the government groups can get a "better handle on what's happening and how to plan better and meet the needs for the students."

Board member Russell F. Williams said it would behoove him to read and reread the proposal, listen to the pros and cons, and vote on the proposal - if it comes to a vote.

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