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Two new ordinances to be introduced in city

June 23, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

The Hagerstown City Council narrowly voted Tuesday to introduce two development-related ordinances, one to allow the city to collect an excise tax on new buildings as well as an adequate public facilities ordinance.

The council voted 3-2 to introduce the ordinances, both times dividing the same way.

Council members Kristin B. Aleshire, Lewis C. Metzner and Alesia D. Parson-McBean voted in favor of the measures. Councilwomen Kelly S. Cromer and Penny M. Nigh voted against the measure.

"What I've seen so far, I'm not satisfied with," Cromer said after the meeting. "It doesn't sound that the city's going to benefit. ... And in the meantime, the schools aren't being fixed."

The measures are a result of action in this year's Maryland General Assembly that allowed Washington County to change the way it collects the building excise tax and to link the ability to build new homes to the amount of space available in county schools through a so-called adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO).

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Hagerstown must pass legislation to collect the excise tax for the county, but can get a portion of the new county excise tax revenues if it adopts its own APFO.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said earlier this week that more work on the ordinances is expected next month before an anticipated vote to adopt the ordinances July 26.

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