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Garrett County Commissioners Hear Update Reports From Departments

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Sep. 2, 2010

The Garrett County commissioners received update reports on Tuesday from the Roads Department, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management, and Heritage Management Plan officials. The commissioners also approved bids presented by the county’s Purchasing Department.

Roads Department
Superintendent Jay Moyer, Garrett County Roads Department, reported that paving crews have laid approximately 18 miles of asphalt so far this fiscal year.

This includes some patching on Joni Miller, Shady Dell, and North Glade roads.

In addition, the entire section of Boy Scout, five miles of Oakland Sang Run in the Oakland area, one mile of Oakland Sang Run in the Accident area, and 1.1 miles of Monte Vista were paved.

Crews are now in the Grantsville area to do paving/repair work on Westernport Road. Moyer noted it was paved in 2007, but during the last few years, a tremendous amount trucking from coal mines has damaged 1.3 miles of this road.

“To bolster the integrity of the road, we put down a 3-inch base and a 1.5-inch surface over that, in anticipation of continuing truck traffic on that road,” Moyer said.

The entire 2.3 mile length of Dorsey Hotel Road, including 300 feet in Grantsville, will also get a bituminous overlay, he added.

The superintendent noted that about one-third of the county’s $1.5 million paving budget will be reserved for winter operations. If the funds are not needed for that, they will be used for spring paving projects.

He reported that Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are reviewing the Roads Department’s request for reimbursement of snow removal/winter operation costs during a federally declared disaster period in February. The department is expected to receive $160,400.

Moyer noted that should help with this coming winter operations.

The superintendent also reported that the long awaited Bayard-Corona Bridge project is finally moving forward. The Maryland–West Virginia project has been in the works for 12 years. Moyer said construction will begin in the next building season and be completed in fall 2012.

Public Safety
Director Brad Frantz, Garrett County Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management, reported that the Emergency Services Club at Southern High School started back up this week. Students will meet five days a week.

“It does appear that we’ll be able to teach them the entire First Responder Course through the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute,” Frantz told the commissioners.

SHS teacher Todd Dyche is the club’s mentor and will also instruct the course.

Frantz said Northern High School’s EMS Club will only be able to meet one day a week because of class scheduling issues. He noted that the NHS club membership grew last year.

“Both clubs now really look like they’re going full speed, and I’m very proud of that,” Frantz said.
He said many of the members have gotten involved with local fire departments. Completing the First Responders Course will now enable them to volunteer for the rescue squads.

Frantz noted that some of the EMS Club members will be portraying victims in a hazardous materials training and decontamination exercise, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Oakland town parking lot. Local volunteer fire departments will participate.

The director said the departments took part in a similar exercise about 1½ years ago. Since that time, however, Craig Umbel of the Garrett County Health Department has been conducting hazardous materials response training for the departments. Frantz said the upcoming exercise will be a good measure of the progress the fire companies have made since the first exercise.

Heritage Plan
The commissioners unanimously approved the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce as the entity that will oversee the Heritage Area Management Plan. Community Action will support the chamber’s efforts.

Community Action president Duane Yoder and staff member Peggy Jamison and Chamber president Nicole Christian and official Joyce Bishoff discussed the issue with the commissioners.

Jamison reviewed the progress that has been made with the project. Garrett County was recognized as a Heritage Area in 2003 by officials with the state’s Heritage Preservation and Tourism Areas Program. Garrett County is the last recognized Heritage in the state.

The purpose of the program is to link resource preservation with economic development and tourism, creating public/private partnerships to achieve lasting sustainability.

In order to be a certified area, however, the county had to first designate an entity to oversee the Heritage Area sites and plan.

The plan will address heritage preservation and tourism initiatives in the county by assessing capital and non-capital projects and programs; determining cost estimates and sources of funds for projects as well as the operation and management of the Heritage Area; assessing economic performance (return on investment); recommending a management platform and action strategies; and identifying Heritage Area boundaries and areas for targeted investment.

Jamison indicated that local organizations and individuals will have an opportunity to have input on the final Heritage Area Management Plan draft.

Plan consultants recommended that the chamber be the designated entity because it is the county’s marketing organization for tourism, it has established public and private partnerships, it has a visitor center and already provides tourism services, it has marketing expertise and staff, and it has an existing organization capable of managing the heritage area.

For more information, persons may visit the consultant’s web site: peterjohnstonassociates.com.

Bid Awards
The commissioners unanimously approved three bids on Tuesday: Daystar Builders, courthouse rotunda roof drain system replacement, $4,769; Joe Colmer Logging, $10,960.40, for timber harvested at Landon’s Dam to make way for a wind turbine and at the King’s Run refuse collection site for an expansion project; Thomas & Thomas Construction, $28 an hour and 12 percent markup on materials, general carpentry service as needed; and Axis Geospatial, $129,000, geographical information system (GIS) parcel conversion project.

Purchasing agent Brian Bowers noted that the GIS award was contingent upon the county receiving funding from the Maryland Emergency Numbers Board. The county’s GIS specialist, Debbie Carpenter, seemed confident that the board would approve the entire $129,000 for the mapping project.

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