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Sixteen items are on possible coalition lobbying list

August 10, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

A convention center, an East End redevelopment and stadium project, and cybersecurity are among 16 possible priorities for the next state legislative session.

For the second straight week, the Hagerstown City Council, one of several partners in a local lobbying coalition, discussed suggestions for the list.

The list is a compilation of ideas from various coalition members, who are scheduled to make presentations at their next meeting.

The city, the county, the school board and business-related groups are part of the coalition.

Each year, the coalition chooses several items as a legislative agenda and hires a lobbyist in Annapolis.

Last week, city council members talked about East End revitalization, hotel-motel tax legislation, highway-user revenue and income-tax revenue as possible issues for the next coalition agenda.

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The list of 16 items includes several others, such as recycling and a waste-to-energy facility at a state prison, teacher and library pensions, foreclosures and a proposed aviation maintenance program.

At the next meeting, the city is listed as giving a presentation on a "Parking Deck for District Court and Library."

The reference is to a Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce proposal last year -- a third parking deck, behind the West Washington Street branch of The Columbia Bank, Hagerstown Trust Division, to serve parts of the downtown.

The city already has two downtown parking decks.

Councilwoman Ashley C. Haywood said the city has made it clear that it doesn't support the parking deck idea. She wondered if the city was being "bamboozled" into talking about it again with the lobbying coalition.

But Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the city is making the presentation only because it's familiar with the idea.

"I'm bringing back information that we have -- that's all," he said.

Some council members wondered why the parking lot was depicted as serving the court and the library.

"The wording's a little unfortunate because it's copied from last year," Councilman Martin E. Brubaker said.

Other items on the possible coalition list are the Mount Aetna Farms property, Eastern Boulevard and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he wouldn't be surprised if coalition members spend many hours debating their agenda, only to be told later by the lobbyist not to ask the state for anything that requires money.

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