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City Council unanimously approves APFO ordinance

April 26, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

An ordinance that allows Hagerstown to receive a portion of Washington County's building excise tax revenue was passed Tuesday and will take effect next month.

The Hagerstown City Council unanimously passed the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance.

The ordinance says the city's planning commission shall not approve new development that doesn't have adequate public facilities to serve it - "unless the developer reaches an agreement with the Mayor and Council ...."

In particular, public schools either must be sufficient to accommodate more students at the time of the residential development or through planned construction projects or redistricting.

The ordinance, which takes effect May 25, does not include requirements for fire, water, sewer or other services.

By passing its own APFO, the city may keep 28 percent of the county's excise tax revenue collected in the city, according to the ordinance.

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Last month, after the council approved a first reading of the APFO, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the city's share of the county's excise tax is about $910,000 this fiscal year.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said Tuesday that the city sent a final version to the county for its review a week ago, but didn't get a response.

The county had sent the city recommendations about how the ordinance should be worded.

At its April 11 meeting, the council decided not to follow certain changes suggested by the county and the Washington County Board of Education.

Aleshire said Tuesday that the city might have to reconsider the APFO at some point because of a question about how the county counts students.

Other municipalities in the county have passed their own versions of the APFO.

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