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Washington County briefs

November 11, 2011

'Clean' audit for county finances

Washington County earned a "clean" audit for the budget year ending June 30, 2011, accountant William Seymour said Tuesday in a presentation of the findings from the financial statements.

Seymour said there were no suggestions to improve accounting policies or procedures.

"This is a very positive audit for Washington County," County Administrator Greg Murray said in a news release. "It indicates that Washington County continues to manage the taxpayers' money in a very fiscally responsible way while still meeting the objectives of the (Board of Commissioners)."

According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, the county general fund has the third lowest cost per capita for services provided of all 23 counties and Baltimore City, the release said.

The county's credit ratings for fiscal 2011 are AA from Standard and Poor's, AA from Fitch Ratings and Aa2 from Moody's Investors Service.


County approves city Pangborn zoning

The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to grant express approval for Hagerstown to apply Professional Office-Mixed zoning to the Pangborn Corp. property if it is annexed into the city.

Pangborn Corp., the owner of the 5.156 acres located along the eastern side of Pangborn Boulevard, has requested that the city annex the parcel, and the parties have agreed on the POM zoning designation, Planning and Zoning Director Stephen T. Goodrich said.

Without the commissioners' express approval, the city would have to wait five years after annexation before making the change, Goodrich said. The land is now zoned Industrial General.

Commissioners President Terry Baker and Commissioner Jeffrey A. Cline voted against express approval, saying they wanted to wait until after a public hearing before making a decision.

The commissioners had previously granted express approval for the land to be changed to neighborhood mixed use, but neighbors expressed concern about allowing more high-density housing in an area that already has many apartments and townhomes. So, the applicants decided to seek the Professional Office-Mixed zoning instead, Goodrich said.

The city has scheduled a public hearing on the annexation for Nov. 22.


More spending approved for airport facility

The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 Tuesday to accept a change order resulting in a $45,120.70 increase to the contract total for an aircraft-rescue firefighting facility project.

The increase will cover changes to the audio system in the conference room, electrical modifications, flooring changes, fencing revisions, canopy roof drain extensions, additional millwork, utility line repairs, resurfacing of the employee parking lot, access control modifications and a utility allowance credit, Hagerstown Regional Airport Director Phil Ridenour said.

Ridenour said the change order would be the final one, and the project total will be about $11,500 under budget.

Commissioner John F. Barr abstained because his company, Ellsworth Electric, is involved in the change order work.

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— Heather Keels

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