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Washington County briefs

April 30, 2009

Properties named Preservation Districts



About 1,000 acres of Washington County land will be restricted to agricultural use for the next 10 years under agreements approved Tuesday by the Washington County Commissioners.

The commissioners approved nine properties for 10-year terms as County Agricultural Land Preservation Districts under a program established this year to replace a similar agricultural district program discontinued by the state.

In exchange for not developing the properties, the land owners will not pay county property tax on their agricultural land or buildings and will receive a credit of up to $711 on their farmhouses, Agricultural Land Preservation Administrator Eric Seifarth said.

Accepted into the program were four properties totaling about 500 acres in the Clear Spring area, four properties totaling about 420 acres in the Boonsboro area, and one property of about 71 acres in the Hagerstown area.

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Most of the properties are used predominantly for crops or pasture, but one 51-acre site along Antietam Creek consists mostly of woods. Seifarth said woods could be considered agricultural land because there is a management plan in place and potential for the trees to be harvested.

Bonds approved for capital projects



The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday authorized the issuance of up to $22.4 million worth of bonds for the purpose of funding capital projects and refunding certain bonds issued in 1999.

The county will use about $16.6 million of the proceeds toward road projects, environmental projects, building improvements and other capital projects, according to a report by budget and finance director Debra S. Murray. The county also will refund about $5.7 million worth of outstanding callable maturities of the Washington County, Maryland Public Improvement Bonds of 1999, Murray said.

The bonds already had been approved in the capital budget for the current fiscal year.

Crime Victim's Rights Week proclaimed



The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday proclaimed the week of April 26 through May 2 "Washington County Crime Victims' Rights Week" as part of a national program that supports victims of crimes.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Victims of Crime Act, which was passed by Congress in 1984 and established a victims' assistance fund, according to the proclamation.

Commissioners President John F. Barr presented the proclamation to State's Attorney's Office Victims Rights Coordinator Jill Ritter and her staff.

IT employees recognized



Three Washington County information technology employees have earned recognition from the GIS Certification Institute as certified geographic information systems professionals.

Washington County Commissioners President John F. Barr presented the certificates Tuesday to employees John "Bud" Gudmundson, Sarah Kozal and Jennifer Kinzer.

The certification recognizes the employees' education, experience and professional contributions in the field of geographic information systems technology, which involves the recording, storing and use of geographic points and related information.

Historic farm owner recognized



The Washington County Commissioners issued a proclamation Tuesday recognizing South Lynn, the owner of the Historic Kennedy Farm in southern Washington County.

Lynn has worked for more than three decades to restore and maintain the farmhouse, which is the site where John Brown planned and prepared for his raid on Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

The commissioners also declared April 27 through May 3 Washington County History Week and encouraged residents and visitors to participate in the sixth annual Washington County Museum Ramble.

The Museum Ramble is sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. More information is available at museumramble.marylandmemories.org.

-- Heather Keels

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