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City Council mulls hiring a lobbyist

September 05, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday discussed hiring a lobbyist who would help the city secure state and federal funding to pay for road projects.

The council talked about the proposal with Noel Williams of the Greater Hagerstown Committee.

Williams said a lobbyist would cost about $50,000 a year and help land public dollars to pay for road projects in Hagerstown and other parts of Washington County.

For instance, the lobbyist could be used to secure funding to help pay for making improvements to Interstate 70 and widening Eastern Boulevard from Conrad Court to Md. 64, according to a city memorandum.

Williams suggested that the city should pay $10,000 of the cost, and the county should pay $25,000. The remaining $15,000 should be paid for by the Washington County Municipal League and local business owners, he said.

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Councilman Lewis C. Metzner disagreed, saying the county should pay $35,000 instead of $25,000 to lighten the burden on city residents, who get double taxed by the city and county.

A 10-member steering committee would be created to decide the priority of future road projects, Williams said. That committee would comprise five members from the county, two members each from the city and local business community, and one member from the county municipal league.

Councilman Martin Brubaker said he thought Hagerstown would receive inadequate representation on the steering committee, considering city residents would end up paying about 50 percent of the cost through double taxation, yet only have two members on the committee per Williams' proposal.

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