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Tax revenue sharing discussed

January 31, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II received a less-than-lukewarm response Tuesday when he made a suggestion to the Washington County Commissioners that they share more tax revenue with the city.

The county generated about $17.5 million in 2006 by collecting recordation, title transfer and hotel/motel taxes, Bruchey said during a work session between the Hagerstown City Council and the County Commissioners.

Although 40 percent of the revenue came from the city, Bruchey said after the work session that Hagerstown hasn't seen a dime of the profits.

James F. Kercheval, one of five Washington County Commissioners, said Hagerstown is awarded so much of the county's tax proceeds that the county has accrued an $8 million shortfall.

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Hagerstown only brings in about 22 percent of the county's tax revenue, even though 28 percent of Washington County lies within city limits, he said.

"(Hagerstown) is getting quite a good deal," Kercheval said after the work session.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the city could disband the police department and other municipal offices to save money. Doing so would leave the county obligated to provide the services, he said.

"Let's talk about a metropolitan police force ... and a consolidation of fire and rescue," he said.

County Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire had the final word.

He said before decisions are made, county commissioners and city officials should meet with their respective department heads to identify revenue-sharing possibilities among services.

A list of services Bruchey provided earlier in the meeting included human resources, and water and sewer.

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