Council considers benefits of COG

March 02, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown City Council members said Tuesday they likely would not object to being part of a proposed countywide Council of Governments (COG) that would include the Washington County Commissioners and representatives of other municipal governments.

Some council members, however, had questions about the implementation of the COG and the extent of its power.

Donna Brightman, chairwoman of the Boonsboro High School Citizen Advisory Committee, urged the council Tuesday to support forming a council of governments to improve communication and planning in the county, especially on issues of growth. She said issues such as school construction and rural redevelopment would be aided by such a group.

"When you're part of the process, you're more inclined to support the outcome," she said.

The COG would include county commissioners, school board officials and representatives from each municipality.

On Feb. 22, the county commissioners delayed a vote on formation of a council of governments. The commissioners called portions of the group's presentation unfair, inaccurate and unrealistic.


Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said Tuesday that such an organization might be good for communication, especially on larger issues affecting both the city and Washington County.

Aleshire said he has attended several of Frederick County's COG meetings and noted that they were good for communication among municipalities/groups.

Aleshire, like the county commissioners a week earlier, took issue with portions of the Boonsboro-area citizens group's report, saying some of the information on COGs in the report was "speculation at best."

Mayor William M. Breichner also said the COG has worked well in Frederick.

"I don't know if there's a lot of decision making, but at least there's communication where they are talking," Breichner said.

Breichner said it would be important to avoid creating an "all powerful" group, which is what he said he believes happened with the Washington, D.C.-area COG.

"You couldn't even breathe down there unless they approved it," Breichner said.

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