Washington County briefs

August 29, 2012

School land study time extended

Washington County has extended a study period for the possible purchase of land for a new school.

A 90-day study period was in place to consider the purchase of 16.5 acres in the Hager’s Crossing housing development for a new “West City” elementary school to replace Conococheague and Winter Street elementary schools.

The period ended Aug. 21, but the county could extend the study period twice, for 30 days each time, at a cost of $5,000 per extension.

Joseph Kroboth III, the county’s public works director, said Tuesday that the county extended the study period 30 days. The commissioners are expected to discuss the purchase at a meeting in September, Kroboth said.


Change order approved for library project

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to a new change order for the construction of a new library branch in downtown Hagerstown.

Joseph Kroboth III, the county’s public works director, told the commissioners that poor soil conditions where vehicles would travel will require up to $460,000 more for the project.

Kroboth said the contractor already has agreed to lower the excavation cost from $14 per cubic yard to $10 per cubic yard. The county is asking the contractor to lower the unit price of other parts of the work, too.

Kroboth added that the county anticipated soil problems when it put the project out to bid.

He called the additional money “significant,” but said the project is projected to have a surplus of about $1.9 million.

The budget for the project is about $23.6 million, according to a summary Kroboth shared with the commissioners.

The commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the maximum of $460,000 that Kroboth requested for the soil work.

Commissioner John F. Barr did not vote and stayed out of the room for the discussion. Terry L. Baker, the president of the commissioners, said Barr’s company, Ellsworth Electric, is involved in the project.

Fine for 911 address ordinance violations decreased

The maximum fine for violating Washington County’s 911 address ordinance dropped significantly Tuesday.
The ordinance, as proposed, included a possible fine of up to $1,000 for a violation of the ordinance.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday that that was too steep.
Commissioner William B. McKinley suggested $25.

Deputy County Attorney Kirk C. Downey said the fine should be higher, so it would be more of a deterrent. He suggested $75.

The commissioners agreed to make the fine $75 — a set amount by resolution, rather than a maximum amount written into the ordinance.

Stephen T. Goodrich, the county’s planning director, has said the county would rather help people comply than push for a fine.

But if a judge were to set a fine, it might be a token amount, such as $5, Goodrich has said.

Goodrich said Tuesday that the ordinance is an attempt to codify the county’s policy toward 911 addresses, making them clear and consistent.

The ordinance includes requirements for posting address numbers so emergency responders can see them.

The final draft of the ordinance will come before the commissioners for a vote at a future meeting.

— Andrew Schotz

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