October 17 – After the resignation of long-time council member Bob Bruchey last Tuesday, this afternoon’s work session of Hagerstown Mayor and Council will look a little different.
The session begins at 4 p.m. in Council Chambers at 1 E. Franklin Street and can be viewed in person or on the city’s YouTube channel or Facebook page.
Wes Decker, Communications Officer for the City of Hagerstown, said, “It certainly feels a little bit different. I mean, Bob Bruchey has been such a fixture with city government for so long, four terms as mayor. He was in his first term as a council member, and it was rather abrupt last Tuesday, his resignation from his council seat to take a better opportunity as he said for him and his family, a professional opportunity, one where he needs to put all of his focus into that and was deciding to make his departure at least for now from a city government. We’re back in a bit of a familiar boat here, something that had not happened for a long time and then it happened earlier this year and here we are, again, with just four council members.”
Will the council pursue filling the seat before the election?
Decker said, “I don’t have any insight at this time. They do have a choice, they could go forward with just the four which does make it a little bit difficult because should more than one council member not be able to make a meeting, then we wouldn’t be able to have a meeting. So that plays in there. The other thing is, do they have an appetite for going through a similar process to what they did before in order to firm up and get back to five council members at this juncture with just about a year to go in the term? So I don’t know. That remains to be seen.”
Where might Bruchey be going?
Decker said, “I believe what is happening is I believe he got a promotion where he works, his full time job at Hagerstown Ford. I believe that’s exactly what’s happening there. So it’s nothing outside the box by any means. But good for him and his family, great opportunity for him.”
At this afternoon’s work session, a construction contract will be awarded for the Hagerstown Fieldhouse, on the site of the former municipal stadium.
Decker said, “This project continues to move along. Certainly, funding continues to be sought. There will be some more asks as it relates to going to Annapolis in January for some more state funding. But nonetheless, the project will move ahead. The city will find a way to fund it one way or another and this is a big step in the process with the awarding of the construction contract. I believe we have had nine bids that have come in. Nothing has been made public at this point. I don’t know where this process stands. I believe they had narrowed it down to two companies who had placed bids, so that decision will be made this afternoon, and will be made public at that time.”
A Hagerstown Housing HUD grant will be bringing $500,000 to the city.
Decker said, “I know there are a lot of guidelines and parameters that go along with that because it is a HUD funded project for three particular neighborhoods and communities in the city of Hagerstown in order to sort of lift them up a little bit. That is something that had been suggested originally by the Hagerstown Housing Authority. The Housing Authority asked the city to partner in that, so they got together, went ahead and decided to take a stab at whether or not they could get that grant. They put in the application and it came back that they got the maximum amount, $500,000 and I know that Hagerstown Housing Authority had some real ideas on where that money should go. The city agreed. I don’t know the timeline but again, as I said, there are some strict parameters as far as timing is concerned. I’m sure more information will be coming out shortly, but I don’t know right now, how that will look or how that will play out exactly.”
There are about 12 potential candidates for the newest class of police officers in Hagerstown.
Decker said, “Chief Kifer is very excited right now. It depends on them of course, passing their tests and all of that, but we’re getting closer and closer to getting back to a full force at this point. One of the things that they’re looking at doing and will be bringing before the council this afternoon, is asking the council if it would be okay for HPD to hire for part time contractual officers. Their focus would be to augment patrol operations, in particular, targeting juvenile and disorderly type crimes in the parks and in the downtown area. So again, trying to think a little outside the box. Certainly, the drones have turned out to function much better than I think anyone could have thought that they would have. They have been so beneficial. So here’s another attempt by HPD to think a little bit outside the box and try to focus on some of the areas where we really need more police presence.”
For this afternoon’s agenda, click here: https://hagerstown.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/MeetingView.aspx?MeetingID=1224&MinutesMeetingID=-1&doctype=Agenda