Washington County briefs

December 19, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

Building codes, civil citations approved

Some building code violations will trigger new fines starting in March.

A proposal passed Tuesday by the Washington County Commissioners allows building inspectors to issue civil citations for certain violations.

If the cited issues are not corrected within 10 days, building inspectors can fine violators - as much as $250 per day for certain violations.

However, Permits and Inspections Director Daniel DiVito said the proposal will be used primarily as an "enforcement tool" and is not meant to draw revenue.

The proposal - which was passed along with the 2006 residential, building, plumbing and mechanical codes - was approved 4-1 by the commissioners.


Commissioner William J. Wivell voted against the measure, saying he was opposed to the civil citations.

Fire, rescue insurance policy is approved

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a 2008 insurance policy for the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association.

The total premiums for the policy - at $561,945 - are $221,916 less than the county paid in 2007. The insurance plan is provided by the same company, Selective Insurance Co., and will not change substantially from 2007 to 2008, according to Washington County Risk Management Administrator Becky Maginnis.

Maginnis said the reduction can be attributed to a "soft insurance market" that has driven down premiums for fire and rescue associations nationwide over the last few years. She said that trend is expected to change in a year or two.

The policy includes property and casualty insurance as well as workers' compensation for fire and rescue volunteers.

It will go into effect Jan. 1.

Local nonprofit could host senior center

Girls Inc., a nonprofit youth organization, might be interested in making its Hagerstown center available during the day for use as a senior center.

County Commissioner James F. Kercheval said during Tuesday's meeting that he spoke with directors at Girls Inc., who said their Washington Avenue center is available from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., which roughly is the time frame the Washington County Commission on Aging said a senior center would be in use.

Girls Inc. officials are planning to meet with Commission on Aging Executive Director Susan MacDonald to see if the center could be used either temporarily or permanently as a senior center.

Some commissioners want work sessions

Commissioner Terry L. Baker said Tuesday he thinks the commissioners should start having work sessions to discuss some issues. He said the board often has little time to consider important or complicated matters and thinks the board would benefit from work sessions.

Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire said he agreed.

"It's surprising to me sometimes how inefficient some of the process is," said Aleshire, who argued that the commissioners often vote without all the information they need.

County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said he has talked with Hagerstown Administrator Bruce Zimmerman about work sessions and that the matter will be discussed again in February. He noted that the proposal for charter home rule includes work sessions but said "charter or not," the matter will be discussed.

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