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Hagerstown City Council briefs

March 22, 2012

Online police reporting would ease workload

Reporting crimes to Hagerstown police soon might one day be as simple as snapping a photograph and submitting it online.

City Police Chief Arthur Smith went before the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday to request the purchase of a new system that would allow the public to report certain minor crimes directly to the police department.

Such crimes would be those for which an officer’s response is unnecessary, Smith said.

Reportable cases through the DeskOfficer On-Line Reporting System would include crimes for which there is no known suspect, such as vandalism or graffiti, Smith said.

At the cost of $16,000, CopLogic, Inc., a California-based company, would provide the system, which also frees up officers who currently spend time responding to minor calls and preparing associated reports, Smith said.

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“It’s twofold,” Smith said of its benefits to the community and police force.

To be paid out of the COPS Technology Grant, the costs include $11,000 for implementation assistance, setting up the interface software and training, and $5,000 for annual usage, support and maintenance.

The council is to vote on the request at its meeting on March 27.

City to approve new contract with YMCA to manage pool

Similar to the last three seasons, city officials would like to enter into a contract with the YMCA to manage the Claude M. Potterfield pool for the 2012 season.

In 2011, the city paid the YMCA $18,950 to manage the pool, provide lifeguards and conduct swimming lessons, city Engineer Rodney Tissue told the Hagerstown City Council Tuesday.

Under the agreement, the city would not have to hire a pool manager and assistant manager, which would be provided and paid for by the YMCA.

Revenues were up 20 percent, and expenditures dropped by 16 percent last year compared with 2010.

The total subsidy to the pool was $69,896 in 2011, which is the lowest in five years, Tissue said.

“It’s a good partnership,” Councilman Martin E. Brubaker said.

New this season is a double-tube slide that will be installed at the former diving board site, as well as a new concessionaire with a wide variety of food and snacks.

Admission fees remain unchanged, and city recreation officials are planning programmed events.

The pool will open for Memorial Day weekend and close on Aug. 20. General pool hours are 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.

To save costs, city officials recommended that the pool be closed on nonholiday Mondays.

The council is scheduled to vote on the proposal at its March 27 meeting.

City, Antietam Cable work on renewing their contract

Hagerstown and Antietam Cable have agreed in writing to begin formal renewal proceedings required of the contract between the two entities, city officials said this week.

The current non-exclusive franchise agreement, which allows Antietam the right of way for cabling throughout the city, expires Nov. 1, 2013.

In return, the city receives franchise fees and use of certain channels, city Community Affairs Manager Karen Giffin said.

Giffin and Scott Nicewarner, director of Technology and Support Services, discussed the renewal at a Hagerstown City Council meeting Tuesday.

The process includes subscriber surveys, needs assessments, focus groups, interviews, public hearing, a past performance review, a franchise fee audit, technical evaluation and an I-Net evaluation — all information to assist the mayor and council in making any necessary decision regarding the agreement.

The city currently receives a 5 percent franchise fee of the cable company’s gross revenues throughout the duration of the agreement. The city also will receive a portion of PEG fees — which are for public, education or governmental use — charged by Antietam.

The city will meet with the cable company later this month to finalize a timetable for the necessary steps for franchise renewal.

— C.J. Lovelace

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