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Hagerstown briefs

April 23, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

Ordinance to buy houses approved



The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that will allow city officials to buy two foreclosed houses at 25 E. Lee St. and 415 Clarendon Ave. for $1 each.

Community Development Manager Larry Bayer said the city will fix up the houses and resell them for a profit.

Because the houses were not resold for more than six months after their foreclosures, the city has the right to purchase them for $1 apiece under guidelines from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Good Neighbor Program, Bayer said. HUD prohibits the sale of such homes to the public, he said.

The cost to renovate the home on Clarendon Avenue is estimated at $92,071 and would increase the value to $118,500, according to city documents. Renovation of the Lee Street home would cost about $71,661 and raise the value to $99,000.

The city stands to make about a $53,768 profit from the sale of both homes, according to city records.

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Bayer said the renovations could begin this fall and be finished early next year.




Council introduces towing ordinance



An ordinance that will govern the way vehicles are towed in the City of Hagerstown was introduced Tuesday by the City Council.

The ordinance, in part, would prevent the owners of tow truck companies from hiring spotters to report illegally parked vehicles and set a maximum fee that tow truck companies can charge to haul away and store vehicles.

Police Chief Arthur Smith said the maximum fee would be $100 for towing services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and $110 thereafter. The maximum storage fee would be $25 a day.

Smith said the ordinance was passed to prevent tow truck companies from charging exorbitant fees. During a recent concert downtown, some towing companies charged $250 for their services and didn't allow people to reclaim their vehicles unless the fees were paid in cash, he said.

Several people found it difficult to come up with $250 late at night, Smith said.

The fee structure will allow tow truck companies to continue making money without gouging the people who are towed, he said.

"I think it's reasonable for everybody," Smith said.




Illegal dumping ordinance passed



A new garbage, rubbish and refuse ordinance that will impose more stringent penalties on people who illegally dump their trash in Hagerstown was approved Tuesday by the City Council.

Violators could be fined up to $200 for, among other things, dumping trash on public property and setting out garbage at the wrong time.

The ordinance also will require enclosures to be built around Dumpsters in commercial zones.

Before passing the ordinance, the City Council discussed imposing fines of up to $1,500, but decided against it.

The ordinance will take effect May 22.




Hagerstown loans money to Colt League



The Hagerstown Colt League will receive a $15,000 loan from the city to build a chain-link fence around the Colt League field at Hellane Park.

The City Council on Tuesday voted to approve the interest-free loan, which has to be paid back over five years in $3,000 installments.




Hagerstown gives $1,200 to arts school



The Contemporary School of the Arts received a $1,200 contribution Tuesday from the City of Hagerstown to pay the advertising costs for Art in the Park.

Ron Lytle of the Contemporary School for the Arts said last week the event will be held June 14 and 15 at City Park in Hagerstown.

The family-oriented Art in the Park event features art and food vendors.




Hagerstown insures Blues Fest against rain



To protect the Western Maryland Blues Fest from a possible deluge, the Hagers-town City Council on Tuesday voted to purchase rain insurance to cover the event.

The insurance will cost the city $11,715 and provide $75,000 worth of coverage, according to city documents.

The city would receive $15,000 if it rains a quarter of an inch or more between 3 and 8 p.m. May 30, and $60,000 if it rains a quarter of an inch or more between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. May 31.




City OKs resolution to build retaining wall



The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution that will let the city enter into a deed of easement to build a retaining wall in an alley that intersects with East Irvin Avenue and runs parallel to Linden Avenue.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said the wall will cost the city about $25,000. The city has no choice but to replace the wall because of an agreement that Hagerstown officials made with a former property owner about 60 years ago.




Hagerstown approves comprehensive plan



During its Tuesday meeting, the Hagerstown City Council voted to approve the city's comprehensive plan.

The comprehensive plan is a document that will provide the framework for local development over the next 20 years.

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