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Hagerstown City Council briefs

May 21, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

City Council rejects proposal to cut 2 cents from property tax rate

A proposal by Councilman Martin Brubaker to cut 2 cents from the property tax rate was rejected Tuesday by other members of the Hagerstown City Council.

Brubaker's proposal would have reduced the amount that homeowners pay on their property taxes by 2 cents for every $100 of the assessed value of a home.

Last week, City Finance Director Alfred Martin said Brubaker's proposal would have saved the owner of a $100,000 home about $20 per year.

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Councilman Lewis C. Metzner and Councilwomen Penny M. Nigh and Alesia Parson-McBean said they would prefer taking the advice of city staff, who did not include the property-tax decrease in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2008-09.

They said cutting the property tax rate could put the city in financial jeopardy in the years to come.

Agreement allows hockey club to operate Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex

The City of Hagerstown on Tuesday entered into an agreement that will allow the Hagerstown Youth Hockey Association to run the day-to-day operations of the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex for the next five years.

The hockey association will be responsible, among other things, for paying $2,837.82 per month to satisfy a loan on the publicly owned facility, according to the contract. If the hockey association fails to honor the contract, the city has the right to terminate the agreement within 30 days after giving notice.

The term of the agreement is from June 16, 2008, to June 30, 2013.

Council introduces ordinances to adopt budget and property tax rates

During its Tuesday meeting, the Hagerstown City Council introduced ordinances to adopt the budget and property tax rates for fiscal year 2008-09.

Highlights of the $163.3 million proposed budget include about $24 million for capital improvement projects and $34.6 million for the City Light Fund, according to budget figures.

The property tax rate is proposed to remain at 79.8 cents for every $100 of the assessed value of real property and $1.995 for every $100 of the assessed value of business personal property within the City of Hagerstown.

The council is to pass the budget next Tuesday.

Hagerstown resident blasts policy on sidewalk repair

Hagerstown resident Gary O'Bryan blasted the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday, saying a city policy that requires homeowners to repair sidewalks is unfair.

O'Bryan, who was told by the city that he had to repair the sidewalk in front of his Alexander Street home, said it should be the city's responsibility to repair public property.

"I believe this is totally wrong and a bad policy for the City of Hagerstown," O'Bryan said. "No resident should have to go through this ... I don't have $3,000 to pay for it."

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said he sympathized with O'Bryan, but the city would have to raise taxes in order to pay for a sidewalk-repair program.

The city would examine O'Bryan's case, Bruchey said.

Riford gives city $5,000 check for steam engine restoration and Blues Fest staging

Thomas B. Riford, president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented the City of Hagerstown with a $5,000 check to help pay for the costs associated with the restoration of Steam Engine 202 at City Park and staging the Western Maryland Blues Fest.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II accepted the check during Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council meeting.

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