More funds for parking deck left out of budget

May 25, 2006|by TARA REILLY


The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday left out of their budget decisions a $600,000 request for Hagerstown's parking deck and downtown streetscape project.

That doesn't mean the city won't get the money, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said Wednesday. Snook said the commissioners could make changes to the budget at a later date.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II asked for the $600,000 last month - $300,000 for this fiscal year and $300,000 in the coming fiscal year.


He asked that the $300,000 from this year's budget go toward the five-level parking deck and the $300,000 for the coming fiscal year to go toward demolition of The Video Store, the widening of the alley behind The Alexander House and the creation of an open plaza.

The alley off East Washington Street will serve as the main entrance to the parking deck.

Bruchey said in a letter to the commissioners that the improvements will allow for two-way traffic to and from the deck. He also said the deck's total cost was $3.55 million.

Snook said he forgot to mention the request Tuesday, and none of the other commissioners brought it up.

As a result, the commissioners approved the budget without including the money. They also took no action on whether to use money from the current fiscal year toward the request.

Hagerstown City Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said Wednesday that, to his knowledge, the City Council never approved Bruchey's request to the commissioners. But "of course we would support financial participation by the County Commissioners if they were able to do so," Aleshire said.

If the commissioners were not to give the money, he said, "There's always other financial options."

Commissioner John C. Munson said Wednesday he didn't support giving the city the money because the commissioners already contributed $600,000 toward the parking deck. The commissioners made that decision in February 2004 by a 3-2 vote.

Munson and Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell voted against that contribution.

At Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council meeting, a motion to reallocate $95,900 in Community Development Block Grant money passed 3-2. The proposal included giving $15,000 more to the parking deck project.

Councilwomen Kelly S. Cromer and Penny M. Nigh voted against the motion.

- Staff writer Andrew Schotz contributed to this story.

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