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Washington County Commissioners set to vote on budget after hearing

Resident criticizes plan for improvements to roads like Robinwood Drive

May 22, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Commissioners is ready to vote on a proposed $283.4 million budget following a public hearing Tuesday night on the spending plan at Hagerstown Community College, according to one commissioner.

Commissioner William B. McKinley said after the hearing that the commissioners will consider the comments from about nine people who spoke at the 7 p.m. hearing at the Kepler Theater then vote on the plan.

About 50 people were at the hearing.

Oscar Evans of Sharpsburg criticized the commissioners’ plan for planned improvements to roads like Robinwood Drive, saying there is no money for other road improvements in the county.

“That’s my question, and I’m yet to get an answer,” Evans said.

McKinley said after the hearing that the roads Evans has talked about do get attention.

McKinley defended the commissioners’ plans to improve roads like Robinwood Road, saying they have heavy traffic volumes that deserve attention.

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The proposed $283,446,770 budget is $7.3 million or 2.51 percent lower than the 2012 approved budget, according to the commissioners.

The change is partly attributable to a decline in the overall assessable tax base, the commissioners have said.

County Administrator Gregory B. Murray presented an overview of the budget before the hearing was opened up for public testimony.

Murray stressed that there is no impact to the proposed budget from a proposed multiuse sports and events center in downtown Hagerstown.

The Hagerstown City Council has agreed to contribute up to $400,000 annually over a 20-year period to support the development of a stadium.

City funding would match an indirect contribution of $400,000 by the commissioners, which agreed to take over the city's yearly $400,000 payment to the 911 emergency communications center.

Several people associated with HCC spoke of how the college has benefited them, praised the county for its support of the school and stressed the need for education funding.

Senior center advocate Bill Beard praised the commissioners for their work on a new senior center for the county and stressed the importance of keeping the funding in place for the facility so it can be constructed.

Murray also touched on the commissioners’ intention to set aside money for physical examinations for fire and rescue volunteers.

 The Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association has asked the county for $150,000 to help cover the cost of physicals.

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