County Could Cut Positions, Funding
Allegany County may have to cut between ten and 25 staff positions and reduce funding by up to two per cent, because of state budget cuts. Board of Education funding could also be held at Maintenance of Effort levels. Finance Director Jason Bennett has developed a three-step plan to help close a $3-million plus budget gap. If the General Assembly restores a disparity grant to Allegany County, there would still be a budget gap, and portions of the plan would be needed to close that shortfall.
Keyser City Officials Discuss Pool
The Keyser Mayor and City Council have received an estimate for renovating the city pool, to the tune of $417,000. Much discussion followed the proposal, including past consideration to a splash-park concept, and the actual costs for operating the pool each season. Despite the “hit” Keyser takes each year in operating the facility, there has been no indication it will close the pool. Officials there say the pool is a “service” to the community, according to the Mineral News-Tribune.
Schools Save Energy Costs
The Allegany County Public School System has achieved a 23 per cent energy cost savings, totaling over $6.2 million in a 109-month program, since forming a strategic alliance with Energy Education, a national energy conservation company. The school system recently received the company’s Chairman’s Sustainability Award, which lauds the organization’s success in implementing the company’s Transformational Energy Management process.
Arbor Day Celebration Set at ACM
Allegany College of Maryland will celebrate Arbor Day on Wednesday of next week, with a presentation that will center on the benefits of trees around us, and conclude with a campus tree planting. The public is invited to participate. The program begins at noon in the College Center’s Gilpin Room. ACM is seeking designation in the Tree Campus USA program, administered by the Arbor Day Foundation. The goal complements Cumberland’s inclusion in the Foundation’s Tree City USA program, and its efforts to increase the urban tree canopy.
One Dead, Three Injured in Hagerstown Fire
One person is dead, and three others have been injured in a fire at a Summit Avenue apartment in Hagerstown Wednesday afternoon. The Hagerstown City Fire Marshal’s Office is trying to determine the cause. Killed in the fire was 43-year old Patricia Goins. Her daughter, three year old Hope is being treated at the Baltimore Burn Center. Her father, Quentin Coldsmith, as well as her husband, 50-year old Kenneth Goins are also being treated. In addition, a firefighter from the Halfway Volunteer Fire Company was treated for heat exhaustion. The fire occurred at 334 Summit Avenue in Hagerstown.
Property Tax Rate Remains the Same
Maryland’s property tax rate will remain at 11.2 cents per $100 of assessed property value, but Comptroller Peter Franchot is warning of rising debt-service obligations, to $1.4 billion, in the coming years. The state Board of Public Works met Wednesday, and maintained the rate. Former Governor Robert Ehrlich set the rate at 13-cents for several years, and the Board may have to think about reverting to that in future years.
FEMA Extends Benefits to Three More West Virginia Counties
Preston County, West Virginia is among three additional counties that have been included in federal assistance from recent tornadoes and flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says those counties are now eligible for federal assistance for temporary housing assistance, housing repair, and other benefits. Those seeking assistance are encouraged to call the FEMA hotline, or go online to www.disasterassistance.gov.