Hagerstown Mayor and Council have two meetings today and one will hear public comment on some aspects of the budget

May 7 – After a work session this afternoon at 4 p.m., the Hagerstown Mayor and Council will hold a public hearing to talk about budgetary issues at 7 p.m. 

These all take place at 1 E. Franklin Street. 

Wes Decker, Communications Officer with the City of Hagerstown, said, “We’ll be talking about the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Of course, that has to be a balanced budget, which at the moment, it is. That is part of the charter, that that must be the case. This will be finalized by the end of this month. Of course, the new fiscal year begins July 1. So we’ll get that taken care of in advance of the new fiscal year as per usual, and then some things that haven’t been normal in the last number of years. We’ve certainly had water and wastewater increases, but they’ve been 3% year over year, and now we’re talking those much bigger numbers. We’ve been boiling this down more to dollars and cents and what that means to people’s bills. I think that’s what resonates with them the most. I think the frustrating thing is that everything is going up and all of a sudden, the city is asking for more money for a lot of things. Water and Wastewater being one of them. Parking, trash and recycling. For governments, it’s tough. I don’t think we had any type of roadmap for COVID itself, but I think that that’s changed a lot. We’ve seen that in terms of inflation and just everything going up. It doesn’t make it any better. It doesn’t make it good for me. I mean, I pay many of these rates myself. So again, these are the things that we’ll be discussing at seven o’clock and a chance for citizens and residents to weigh in.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “This is your moment. When you see these increases in your bills, you’ll wonder well, what can we do about that? The ship is boarding right now. So seven o’clock tonight for public comment.”

Decker said, “They can be engaged with council members, with the mayor, however they want to do that but when it comes to our regular session, certainly with citizen comments, as long as you get your questions in via email by five o’clock, then we’re able to incorporate them into the meeting. Not sure how that works exactly with the public hearing. I believe because it’s set up for a seven o’clock start, that is to enable people to come in person if at all possible. So certainly encouraged to be there in person and let their voices literally be heard.”

At the work session, the 2024 Hagerstown Ice and Sports Complex annual report will be reviewed. 

Decker explained, “This is a group who actually runs the Hagerstown Ice and Sports Complex. It’s the Ice Hockey Association. So we’ll get a feel for where they are with things in the last number of years. There have been some items within the infrastructure there at the Ice and Sports Complex that have needed some work and that means money. So we’ll see what this report indicates for the past year and what sort of course they’re charting ahead.” 

Also at the work session will be discussion on the Doleman Black Heritage Museum’s request for sponsorship. 

Decker said, “They are the ones that head up the Juneteenth event. That’s changed over the years. It’s gone from being a three day event to a two day event. Now it’s moving from University Plaza to Wheaton Park and will be a one day event. So it’ll be interesting to hear what the task is and then the response from mayor and council as it relates to that.”

Fireworks are also on the agenda. 

Decker said, “I think it’s one of the things where it’s going to take some getting used to with where Meritus Park is located, and with what the Flying Boxcars want to do with their different promotions, including, of course, the fireworks which can be noisy and what time of night will these be taking place? I think certain parameters have been put in place, but there is a noise ordinance in the city, talking a little bit about a fireworks exemption for Meritus Park. So we’ll see how that plays out with council members first and then of course, by the end of the month, we’ll have a regular session where again, we’ll have an open mic for citizens to come in and weigh in especially those who live within close proximity of the park.”

There are a number of different factors when talking about a baseball game and potential delays. 

Decker said, “I know that they did talk about if a game goes to a certain point I believe they would not do any fireworks displays after 11 o’clock is what I had heard before. There’ll be more in this discussion. You’ll hear all the particulars this afternoon. I lived right down the street from where the other stadium was for 29 years. There were plenty of times when it got my attention. I forgot there were fireworks that night and I was quickly reminded.”
For this afternoon and tonight’s agenda, click here.