Cumberland Times-News

Local News

December 6, 2012

Allegany wants break from more mandates

CUMBERLAND — Allegany County staff put in huge numbers of hours to prepare reports and compile information and related work for largely unfunded state mandates and county commissioners are asking for state legislators to give them any help they can to relieve the burden.

County Administrator David Eberly set out some calculations about the time county staff had devoted to carrying out state directives on two laws.

County staff spent a total of 1,250 hours to “pull off” compliance with the Storm Water Management Act of 2007. The work required complete revision of the county ordinance and overhaul of the storm water programs administration, Eberly said.

Since late 2009, county staff have put in more than 3,000 hours to meet the requirements of the 2010 Chesapeake Bay cleanup and county Watershed Implementation Plan, Eberly said.

The staff level time is “taxing local resources,” Eberly said. McKay agreed.

“The implementation pro-cess ... is time-consuming, highly burdensome to an ever shrinking work force, and expensive for our residents,” McKay said. “We respectfully request a reprieve from any new initiatives designed to essentially limit growth and sold primarily as environmental protection,” McKay read from a prepared document.

Commissioners also asked legislators to make sure a promise to return police aid in 2014 remained in place.

After years of cuts, state police aid is set to return in 2014 as part of the teacher’s pension shift to the counties.

Counties will be paying a large chunk of teacher pension costs in 2013 and larger portions in the years following. The state police aid has been important to Allegany County, Eberly said.

If program funds return, Allegany County could receive as much as $330,000, of which county police agencies would receive the bulk and Cumberland and Frostburg would split $100,000 of the total.

“It is requested that this restoration of funding be made as it will supply additional revenues to local police departments (not just Allegany County) that are sorely needed after years of reductions,” commissioners wrote in their formal request to legislators.

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

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