The City of Hagerstown talked songs, budgets and a fire and rescue training center at yesterday’s work session

April 7 – Mayor and Hagerstown City Council had a work session yesterday to discuss upcoming issues and Wes Decker, Communications Officer for the City of Hagerstown, joined First News this morning for a recap.

Music on the Square will begin on April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and run Friday nights through June.

“It’ll be nice to get some live activity back on the square,” Decker said.

Council gave the nod that they will vote to approve this at the official meeting at the end of the month. The money for Music on the Square will come from a fund where money was not used previously, so it’s money that already existed.

A presentation from Fire Chief Steve Lohr discussed a request from Washington County for the City to be a part of a training center that the county will be building for fire and rescue.

Interestingly, conversations have been taking place between the City and the County for the last couple of years for both organizations to jointly budget about $500,000 to build a shared structure at the Bowman Avenue Training Center that the City has maintained since the 1950s and the County has used free of charge for all those decades.

Those conversations broke down a few weeks ago with the County saying they don’t have the money to put into the funding to build that structure on Bowman Avenue.

“But then all of a sudden, they turned around and said we’re going to build a $1.5 million project on a different site and we’d like you to be part of it,” Decker said.

Chief Lohr said that’s not what had been discussed.

At this point, City tax payers would be on the hook should this go through for about $300,000 because they’re also County taxpayers.

The City of Hagerstown’s budget for fiscal year 2022 had a review from the chief financial officer.

The good news is the proposed budget has a $3,000 surplus and no tax increases.

But with the federal government’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package bringing $20.4 million to the City in two installments, it’s uncertain what that could do to the budget.

“There’s no time table as to when those funds might be available and as of now, no direction on how those funds can be used, what restrictions will be in place once those funds actually show up in the city coffers,” Decker said.

The budget must be approved by May 31.