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Local governments discuss mutual concerns

May 21, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Representatives of six local governments discussed issues ranging from taxes to recycling during a meeting Thursday night at Bulls & Bears Restaurant on South Potomac Street.

Local government officials have expressed an interest in meeting as a "council of governments" to discuss issues that affect them, said Washington County Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire, who attended the meeting.

In addition to the County Commissioners, representatives from the City of Hagerstown and the towns of Boonsboro, Keedysville, Smithsburg and Clear Spring attended the meeting. It was the group's second meeting.

Officials at the meeting talked about so-called "tax differential" money that is distributed by the county.

In the past, that money was sent to towns to offset the cost of services like police departments and parks. But the county will now send that money to taxpayers in the form of a rebate.

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A recent newspaper advertisement explained the tax differential process, and there will be more ads explaining the process before people receive their tax bills, officials said.

Costs surrounding garbage collection and the future of recycling in the area have been a ongoing issue for local governments.

Aleshire on Thursday proposed an idea of towns joining on a single garbage contract in hopes of getting better rates.

Officials discussed RecycleBank at the meeting and the possibility of having more information about the service at a future meeting.

Through a recycling program, people can earn RecycleBank points that can be used to shop at businesses.

Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said she likes the idea of the council of governments and being able to see how other towns handle issues.

Members of the group talked about bylaws for the group and planned to have a sample set of bylaws to study at a future meeting.

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