Washington County briefs

June 20, 2007|by JOSHUA BOWMAN

Group pushes for senior center

Linn Hendershot and Susan MacDonald of the Washington County Commission on Aging made an early budget request Tuesday, asking the County Commissioners to support funding for a senior community center in Hagerstown in the fiscal year 2009 budget.

Washington County is the only county without a multipurpose senior center, Hendershot said.

The Commission on Aging has looked at several locations in Hagerstown and favors using the old Antietam Paper building on Antietam Street, Hendershot said.

"It's a good-sized space and it's close to several senior-living facilities," Hendershot said.

The Commission on Aging listed several other possible locations in Hagerstown.

MacDonald said the Commission on Aging will try to get funding for the center from several agencies, grants and the state. She said other sources would be more likely to contribute to the project if they knew the county supported it.

Board of Ed budget increase approved

The County Commissioners narrowly approved Tuesday a $1.1 million increase in the Washington County Board of Education's fiscal 2007 undesignated fund budget.


The increase was driven primarily by a request for $700,000 to fund lease payments for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, a planned charter school for performing and visual arts in Hagers-town.

The funding will save the county roughly $750,000 over the life of the project by eliminating the need to capitalize interest, said Chris South, the school board's chief financial officer.

Commissioner William J. Wivell said he was concerned about the budget adjustments, especially the transfer of $367,662 out of the undesignated fund's special education category.

"I'm hearing that (special-education) programs are being cut or underfunded. Now we're starving these areas to fund (the arts school)," Wivell said.

The decrease in the special-education category was due to turnover credit and late hires, South said.

"No programs were cut," South said.

The commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the budget adjustments. Wivell and Kristin B. Aleshire voted against the adjustments.

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