Washington County briefs

April 05, 2007

Commissioners plan to abandon road

The Washington County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to advertise their intent to abandon a portion of Polecat Hollow Road, described by Real Property Administrator Joe Kuhna as a 2.4-mile stretch of unpaved roadbed outside Clear Spring, and convey it to the Washington County Sportsman Club in exchange for a communications equipment site.

Kuhna said the road has been used by off-roaders, and Kuhna said club members had complained about trash dumping, trespassing and vandalism in the area.

He added that an additional communications site at the club's property would permit coverage for the Blair's Valley Lake area, which he said now has poor communications service.

County Administrator Gregory Murray said the board must advertise its intent for at least 14 days and hold a public hearing before reaching a final decision.


Having been assured there would be no adverse affects to traffic from neighboring Pennsylvania, Commissioner William J. Wivell had only one other issue with the request to resolve.

"Does this open the name up for use elsewhere in the county?" he asked.

Recycling equipment bid awarded to firm

The Washington County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to award Aggregate Screen & Crushers of White Marsh, Md., a base bid of $122,500 for a Powerscreen Phoenix 1600 trommel screen to be used to recycle compost, which will then be sold.

Recycling Coordinator Harvey Hoch told the commissioners the trommel screen would help filter contaminants from yard debris to improve the quality of the resulting compost. The county's Solid Waste Department recycles thousands of tons of yard waste each year, he said.

Commissioner William J. Wivell cast the lone dissenting vote against the purchase, contending that while the base bid from another vendor, Wildcat Manufacturing Co. of Freeman, S.D., was more $700 more expensive, its replacement parts were cheaper, making it less expensive long-term.

A third vendor, Neuenhauser Inc. of Greer, S.C., submitted a base bid of $143,000.

- Tamela Baker

County dedicates $3.3 million for farm preservation

The Washington County Commissioners will spend $3.3 million to preserve four more area farms as part of its program to permanently preserve 50,000 acres of county farmland.

In a public hearing Tuesday, Eric Seifarth, the county's land preservation administrator, asked the county to purchase the development rights for the Bowman, Ziem, Newcomer and Martin farms as part of its Installment Payment Program (IPP).

Under the IPP, the county leverages $400,000 per year for 10 years from real estate transfer taxes for agricultural easements.

Seifarth explained that purchasing the easements ensures the farms will remain privately owned but never developed.

The county has permanently preserved about 21,000 acres of land through its land-preservation programs.

Pete Vorac of the Mid-Maryland Land Trust said the Federal Farm and Ranch Protection Program will match 50 percent of the county's contribution on the Newcomer farm, which is about $592,000.

- Kate S. Alexander

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