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Hagerstown City Council briefs

June 05, 2012

City might offer loans for curb and sidewalk upgrades

Yearly notices for needed curb and sidewalk improvements for Hagerstown property owners are set to go out soon, and city officials want to make money available for a loan program to assist in paying for the work.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue outlined the preliminary parameters of its loan-assistance program Tuesday during a discussion with the Hagerstown City Council, which was in favor of the program.

“Right now, we don’t really have anything to offer,” Tissue said of past years. “If they get a notice, it’s pretty much up to them (how to pay for it). So we just thought this was something that would help.”

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The city could make up to $30,000 annually available for loans, with no eligibility or credit requirements, Tissue said.

Loans would be issued at approximately 5 percent interest to cover the city’s costs for issuing the loans and be repaid in monthly installments, he said.

For loans of $2,000 or less, repayment would be required within two years, while loans of $2,000 to $5,000 within three years and $5,000 or more within four years, according to Tissue’s memo to the five-member council.

In the event that loans are not repaid, a tax lien would be placed on the property, Tissue said.

Funds became available due to reprogramming of Community Development Block Grant money, Tissue wrote in a memorandum.

No action was taken Tuesday, but it could appear on the council’s regular session agenda later this month for approval.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he was in favor of the idea, noting that it’s “long overdue.”

Hagerstown firm to complete renovations to CVS building

In a special voting session Tuesday, the Hagerstown City Council unanimously approved the low bid from a Hagerstown contractor to complete a second round of renovations to the former CVS building on West Washington Street.

The vote came two weeks after the five-member council asked to table a motion to accept a higher bid from another contractor, which was deemed “more complete” by John Lestitian, the city director of Community and Economic Development.

The bid of $469,000 to Milton Stamper Builders covers Phase 2 renovations in the 7,500-square-foot building at 60 W. Washington St., which will provide space for a city-run small business incubator.

Construction will include three new entrances along University Plaza, a new corridor and common area with restrooms, two finished shell spaces ready for tenants and new heating, electric, plumbing and fire suppression systems.

Think ReInk, an ink cartridge refilling company, currently serves as the incubator’s front anchor tenant, and the second batch of construction would allow the city to seek another tenant for the rear of the building.

Incubator spaces would be situated in between the two anchor tenants.

Funding for the project will come from reprogrammed bond funds in addition to state and federal money.

Council approves plan for block grant funds

During a special voting session Tuesday, the Hagerstown City Council unanimously approved its annual action plan for fiscal 2012-13 for Community Development Block Grant funds totaling $661,780.

Approving the motion allows city officials to file an application for financial assistance with the U.S.

Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of the CDBG program, and disperse appropriate funding for the next fiscal year.

— C.J. Lovelace

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