911 center in the middle of county, city disagreement

Maryland

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — When the Washington County emergency services consolidated back in 2009, it made it easier for 911 to receive calls and to become more efficient. Now, a disagreement between Washington County and the City of Hagerstown about paying the wages and benefits portion of the 911 center may have things at a standstill.

According to a document provided by David Hays, Washington County’s emergency services director, the wages and benefits portion of the 911 center is approximately $5,534,540. Since Hagerstown is 23% of the tax base, city residents would pay approximately $1,272,944.

“There was an agreement reached back in 2009 for about $406,000 annually; and at that point, that represented 85% of the 11 current city employees that would transfer over to the county. … The information that the county has indicates that that was to remain unchanged in the years forward, regardless of whether those employees are still employed or not,” said Hays.

Hagerstown believes that paying additional money is unfair.

“The city of Hagerstown pays an additional $405,000 toward the 911 center, and at this point, we don’t think that that is fair,” said Emily Keller, mayor of Hagerstown.

Going forward, Washington County and Hagerstown are planning a meeting to try and reach an agreement.

“I don’t know if we’ll reach an agreement. I think we will eventually, but this is part of a larger topic of conversations that we need to have. The City of Hagerstown taxpayers are not taxed fairly if you look at our comparison to other municipalities and there are several issues that we want to find a resolution to, it’s going to take strong political will on the county’s behalf. I understand that but we were all elected to do what is right and what’s fair, and that’s all that we’re asking for,” said Mayor Keller.

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