Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 10, 2013

State of the County: Allegany is ‘strong’

CUMBERLAND — Allegany County commissioners delivered a positive assessment of the state of the county at Thursday’s commission meeting at the county offices on Kelly Road.

“I am happy to report that Allegany County is financially sound and strong,” said Commission President Michael McKay.

Cutting costs and personnel and an overall downsizing of government were major achievements, McKay said.

“In fiscal year 2013, the number of employees under our board’s direct control is down 18 percent from three years ago. We’re avoiding costs, as well,” he said.

The county will save approximately one million dollars by refinancing debt, officials said.

Commissioners approved the refinancing last year and the bonds will likely go to market in March.

Commissioner Creade Brodie Jr. discussed the work of the engineering, utilities and solid waste departments, among others.

“In 2012, engineering completed 12 projects including the $1.8 million Burbridge Building in North Branch Industrial Park, the $1.32 million (Bedford Road area) sewer replacement, ... the Flintstone Wastewater Treatment Plant Capacity Study, the small bridge inspection program and other projects,” Brodie said.

And the county recycling program is strong.

“I am pleased to report that this division exceeded the 20 percent recycling rate goal mandated by the state of Maryland. Allegany County recycled 31 percent in calendar year 2011, the most recent statistic available,” Brodie said.

Commissioner Bill Valentine reviewed the work of various emergency services and public safety departments.

“In 2012, 911 answered and managed approximately 47,000 requests for help, completed radio programming for 2,000 interoperable radios and completed nine communication tower site projects and upgrade projects: Warrior, Town Hill, Big Savage, Barton, Bishop Walsh, Westernport, Mount Savage, Constitution Park and Martin’s Mountain,” Valentine said.

McKay said the board’s work is far from over.

“Our board recognizes that there is more — much more — to do. Our board appreciates your participation, your viewpoint, your suggestions and your direct constructive criticism. Thank you for your interest in Allegany County,” McKay said.

Commissioners also voted to approve borrowing $9.2 million toward the new Allegany High School. Brodie voted against the borrowing.

The move won’t take place right away, said County Finance Director Jason Bennett. A resolution will be introduced to commissioners once the borrowing details are set, Bennett said.

The money was recently added to the county’s Capital Improvement Plan.

Board of education contributions bring the local share of the project to $12.2 million.

The school will be designed to seat 719 students, with some changes in that number possible, county officials said.

Complete details of the State of the County address may be found at http:// www.gov.allconet.org/

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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