Hagerstown briefs

February 16, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Changes to city's sewage system outlined

City officials on Tuesday outlined changes being made to the city's sewage treatment and collection systems, which are under close watch by state regulators after recent wastewater spills.

The second phase of a major upgrade to the city's sewage treatment system is about 20 percent complete, said City Water and Sewer Department Assistant Manager Christopher Bordlemay.

Bordlemay said the replacement of the electric system that failed last August, resulting in one of the larger spills, is about 10 percent complete, but is moving quickly.

Problems with the city's sewage collection pipes, which have also been a problem leading to wastewater spills, are also being identified and fixed, said Bijan Haghtalab, who was hired to help manage the sewer system upgrades.


Haghtalab said both inexpensive and more costly measures are being looked at to solve the problem of storm water and groundwater leaking into sewer pipes.

He said one simple fix being tested - a plastic manhole cover - could reduce the amount of rainwater that enters the sewage system by millions of gallons in a single storm.

City's tax differential less than expected

The City of Hagerstown's share of the county tax differential will be $1,018,423 this year, $9,015 more than last year's share, but about $41,000 short of what officials expected.

The smaller-than-expected share is due to faster population growth outside city limits than what is seen inside the city, city Finance Director Alfred Martin said during Tuesday's council work session.

The money is collected by the county as part of the regular tax process and divided among the county's municipalities based on an equation that factors in expenditures on roads, police and parks, as well as the municipalities' populations, and total property and income taxes.

The city's share this year for police is $812,918, and $205,505 for parks. The county did not allocate any money this year for roads.

Change would allow alcohol at two parks

The City Council asked for a change to the city's ordinance regarding alcohol in city parks that would limit alcoholic beverages to two city parks.

City Parks and Recreation Department Manager John Budesky said several requests to hold events with alcohol in city parks prompted him to come to the council to ask for direction on the matter.

Some council members said during Tuesday's work session that they feared that allowing events with alcohol at city parks would prompt more such events, and the recreational purpose of the parks could be harmed.

The council asked City Attorney Mark Boyer to draft an ordinance change that would allow - with council approval - alcoholic beverages at Municipal Stadium and University Plaza, a new park adjacent to the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown.

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