Hagerstown briefs

September 21, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

City, county dialogue improving, some say

The city and county governments are communicating well through regular meetings, Hagerstown City Council members said Tuesday during a discussion of how the arrangement should continue.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said a committee known as "2+2" formed more than a year ago, when the governments were bickering, particularly over the city's annexation policy.

The committee - named for its two City Council members and two Washington County Commissioners - has addressed zoning, downtown redevelopment, taxes and several other issues, Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said.

Metzner and Aleshire are the city's representatives. Commissioners James K. Kercheval and Doris J. Nipps represent the county.

Council members talked Tuesday about whether Metzner and Aleshire should stay on the committee or be replaced. Metzner said he has a conflict during football season, when he referees games.


The committee is worth continuing because, at the very least, it allows the governments to regularly talk about issues, Aleshire said.

The old method was "screaming, yelling and suing," Metzner said.

Council members agreed to take up 2+2 committee issues at council work sessions, starting next month. Metzner said the city should start by talking about Washington County Hospital's proposed move to Robinwood Drive.

City qualifies for federal funding

This past year, the city met the criteria for using federal Community Development Block Grant money, the Hagerstown City Council heard Tuesday.

Each year, as a requirement for receiving the grant money, the city reviews how it was used.

A report discussed Tuesday says the city's block grant program budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30 was $3.3 million.

Expenses totaled $2.7 million.

Of the $2.4 million that was spent on projects, 90 percent went to activities directly benefiting low- and moderate-income people.

The required minimum is 70 percent, the report says.

Firefighting book, radio show outlined

Two city employees spoke Tuesday about projects of theirs.

Justin Mayhue, a captain with the Hagerstown Fire Department, recently published his second book on the history of Hagerstown firefighting.

"It was time to recognize all of the firefighters for their efforts," he told the Hagers-town City Council.

He said the books cost $20 apiece.

Mike Weller, the fire department's public educator, said he has started a weekly radio program on WJEJ 1240 AM. Every other Wednesday at 2 p.m., he has a show that mixes contemporary music and news about good things happening in the city.

The show is called "Good News Hagerstown," according to a memo from Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker.

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