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County needs home rule board

August 16, 2006|by TARA REILLY

With home rule back on the agenda next month, the Washington County Commissioners are looking for nine people to serve on a charter home rule board.

The County Commissioners are expected to discuss appointments to the board, which will be tasked with writing a charter, on Sept. 19.

Each of the five commissioners will make an appointment, and they'll choose the remaining four people by consensus, the commissioners decided last week.

Under charter home rule, the county would be governed according to what is written in its charter. County voters approve the charter and have the ability to challenge local laws by referendum.

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Voters will vote on the charter in the November 2008 election, according to a written statement from the county.

A change to charter home rule likely would lessen the county's dependency on state legislators in creating some local laws, county officials have said.

The county currently operates under the commission form of government. The commissioners would be called a County Council under charter home rule.

Applications for the nine-member charter board are on the county's Web site, www.washco-md.net, and can be accessed by clicking on the "Home Rule Task Force and Charter Board" link. Click on the "Volunteer" link to fill out the application.

The county has asked applicants to write "Charter Board" in the "Other Areas of Interest" text box.

Those who do not have access to the Internet may contact County Clerk Joni Bittner at 240-313-2077 for an application.

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