RESILIENT. INNOVATIVE. SERVICE. ENGAGE.
2022 State of the County
Many of us thought the fight against COVID-19 would be behind us as we entered into 2021, but as we all know, 2021 was a year of adjusting and shifting due to the continued changes and impact from a global pandemic.
Throughout the duration of the pandemic, Washington County Government has continued with all operations and services for citizens. All government buildings were reopened to the public in June 2021 and the Joint Information Center continued to operate and provide planning and implementation for all COVID-19 protocols.
A location at the Premium Outlets in Hagerstown served as the Western Maryland mass vaccination site, while Meritus Health, the Health Department, and various other health care providers restructured their operations for efficient and effective vaccine distribution.
COVID-19 Stats as of 2/7/2022
Over 50 volunteers helped create golden thread bracelets that were distributed throughout the community for Threads of Hope.
Grandma’s House, a commercial that was also created for Threads of Hope campaign, received a regional EMMY award.
Throughout this past year, the County has welcomed several new faces that have stepped into new roles.
The County’s general fund budget is allocated to provide services in the following way:
General Fund Budget
In April 2021, the Board of County Commissioners passed to decrease the income tax rate from 3.2% to 3.0% that took effect January 1, 2022. The Commissioners also approved funding from the American Rescue Plan to be used for premium pay for essential workers during the pandemic and additional items that will be discussed in early 2022.
In August 2021, the Commissioners approved 4 million dollars for Washington County Public Schools that will be used for the future development of a new school. The Commissioners also approved funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. Washington County is slated to receive a total of 29.4 million dollars from this federal initiative, with all projects being completed by the end of 2026.
Approximately 6 million dollars of Washington County’s ARPA Funds were allocated in 2021 and include:
- Premium Pay for County Employees
- Premium Pay for Fire and Rescue Company Employees and Volunteers
- Broadband Expansion and
- IT Equipment
The next round of funding was approved in late January 2022 includes the following initiatives or projects:
- Emergency Operations Center Upgrades
- Business & Entrepreneurial Support
- Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Non-Profit Assistance to Impacted Communities
- Sewer Capacity Management Project
- Community Investment Grant Program
- Boonsboro Drinking Water and
- A Contracted Grant Manager
The final round of funding includes the following initiatives or projects which will be funded in June 2022:
- Emergency Services
- Community Investment Grant Program
- Martin Luther King Gym Renovation
- Agriculture Education Center
- Smithsburg Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Washington County Drinking Water
- Washington County Clean Water Nonpoint Source
- Unallocated Balance for Future Requests
Washington County is looking forward to utilizing the ARPA program as it is intended: to support the pandemic response, bring back jobs, and lay the groundwork for a strong and equitable recovery.
Throughout the past year, the projects continued on as staff diligently worked safely and efficiently to progress the County.
Support the PSTC by donating any amount through this online portal (be sure to select “Washington County Public Safety Training Center” from the drop-down menu)
Engineering is excited to share the Professional Boulevard bridge was substantially completed in the fall of 2021, and work for the remaining phases are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022 with an anticipated completion in 2023. Phase 2 work involves final grading and paving within the County limits, and widening Professional Court within the City of Hagerstown limits. Phases 3 and 4 involve constructing Professional Boulevard from Yale Drive to existing Professional Boulevard at Rosewood Village, providing a direct route for future economic growth and development at Mt. Aetna Technology Park.
Engineering also completed the final road repair from the 2018 South County Flood. Back Road reopened in April 2021 after suffering severe damage from flooding which destroyed approximately 500-feet of pavement, shoulder washout, culvert damage, and debris piles, rendering the roadway impassable.
Back Road 2018
Back Road 2021
Hospitality and tourism flourished in 2021, with record attendance at state and national parks, and hotel revenues were up greater than pre-COVID numbers totaling over 38 million dollars from January-October
Washington County Parks and Recreation has been incredibly busy over the past year. In addition to operating summer camps, paint nights, and recreation activities, several amenities were added this year for families to enjoy across Washington County.
Marty Snook Park has several new additions: pickleball courts, an outdoor exercise area with equipment that’s open to the public and free to use.
Marty’s Mythical Woods, and a dog park, Central Bark, that will open in the spring of 2022. The mythical woods have attracted thousands of new visitors to the park this year, with its natural play and individually carved mythical creatures that welcomes children of all ages.
Pickleball is sweeping across the nation and Washington County is keeping up with the trend. Four courts were added across the County at Regional Park, Pleasant Valley Park, Chestnut Grove Park, and Clear Spring Park.
For those who enjoy golf but not cold temperatures, Black Rock Golf Corse has added a simulator inside. Choose to play a 9 or 18-hole round or hit the driving range virtually and you can select your course from different locations all across America!
The Department of Business Development joined Hagerstown Community College for the ribbon cutting of the new David W. Fletcher Incubator + Labs. The goal of this facility is to help grow economic development in Washington County by providing a space for entrepreneurs and small business to learn, leverage, and launch their business. After opening their doors in the fall of 2021, this facility is now filled with 7 start-ups.
All County services continued to operate throughout the duration of the pandemic. In the fall of 2021, several County departments restructured to most effectively and efficiently serve our citizens.
The County restructuring now has the following divisions: Permits and Inspections, Engineering, and Planning and Zoning. Along with the restructuring, it was voted in late 2021 that all three of these divisions will be relocating to 747 Northern Ave in early 2022. This new space will allow for these essential services to collaborate with one another and offer a one-stop shop for citizens with permit needs.
The location of 80 West Baltimore Street was acquired as property for the new Multi-Use Stadium and Events Complex that will be coming to downtown Hagerstown in 2023.
(Photo of 80 West location)
(Photo of 747 Northern Ave location, formerly the Hospice building)
This Division also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Town of Keedysville and will now handle all of the permitting and inspection for the town.
The Public Relations and Marketing Department also made some upgrades online for a better customer experience. These updates include:
- The submission Contact Form on the website which now sends questions and comments to the appropriate department to help streamline communications between county government and citizens.
- Launching a Disability Resources Directory with information provided by the Disability Advisory Committee. The directory contains links to various types of organizations aimed at providing help and information for people with disabilities.
- Updating all images across the website to a format that loads faster, making the website more readily available to the citizens of Washington County.
- A translator plugin was installed on the county website so citizens may now view all pages in their preferred language with a simple click. You can find this translator in the top right corner of every page on the site.
Recruit class #1 graduated in May 2021 and with this historic milestone, a foundation has been created that allows for the placement of 41 full-time firefighters and 14 full-time firefighters/paramedics in multiple fire stations throughout the County.
With the addition of the new career firefighters, the County was able to place in service two additional water rescue boats, totaling 4 water rescue boats now available. These boats now have dedicated staffing available for water responses.
Recruit Class #1 is starting off week 4 at Hagerstown Regional Airport. On site training with Hancock’s Engine 52 and Williamsport’s Engine Co. 2.
The Firefighter Recruit Class 1 completing PT at HCC.
Emergency Services Water Rescue Boat
Business Development also oversaw the expansion of the Hagerstown/Washington County Enterprise Zone was approved by the Maryland Department of Commerce and is an economic development incentive tool used to attract new jobs and businesses to the area. This program provides qualifying businesses with State Income tax credits and local real property tax credits in return for job creation and capital investments made in the designated Enterprise Zone. The newly approved Enterprise Zone adds 328.85 acres to the economic development zone now creating a total land area of 4,409.82 acres across Washington County, MD, and Hagerstown, MD.
(Map of the updated Hagerstown/Washington County Enterprise Zone)
The Division of Public Works was busy with several projects over the past year. The Board of Elections facility was completed and hosted early voting and a presidential election while keeping everyone safe during COVID, and improvements were made to the Ag Track Pulling Track.
The Highways Department completed several large projects which include:
- Walnut Point Rd West, where the retaining wall at the intersection at Route 40 was beginning to fall and come loose into the road. Crews closed the road during working hours for 2 weeks to remove the old wall. Once the wall was removed, the crew worked on setting a new 120 foot precast concrete block wall.
- Edgemont Road, where crews closed the road for 2 days as they removed the old metal pipe that had eroded away and started to develop sink holes in the area . Once the old pipe was removed they installed 60 feet of new 24 inch plastic pipe.
- Broadfording Rd Bridge, as the bridge was closed during working hours, crews removed 22 dump truck loads of debris washed up against that closed 2 of the cells. They also removed a large tree that was stuck in the 3rd cell.
- Longmeadow Road, a sinkhole had opened up in the middle of the road near the train tracks. Crews closed down one lane of traffic as they dug out around the hole. After cleaning it out, they added 12 yards of flowable fill . They went back the next day and capped it off with asphalt .
(Photo of the new Board of Elections office located at 17718 Virginia Avenue, Hagerstown, MD 21740)
(Photo of the Ag Center Tractor Pull Track)
(Photo of work being done to Walnut Point West)
Transit continued its services, with ridership returning to a 74% level, showing a significant increase from a low in 2020 experienced during the pandemic. Six new fixed-route buses and one Paratransit bus were added in August and September of 2021, with seven additional buses slated be replaced in 2022, refreshing 87% of the entire fleet. Transit also received operating and capital CARES Act funding through grants administered by MDOT and Maryland Transit Administration which will help with COVID related expenses.
The Division of Grant Management was busy this year securing funding and managing grants.
- They secured over 500,000 dollars for community based programs that benefit youth and families through the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim services;
- over 470,000 dollars for educational services through the Maryland State Department of Education;
- and over 9.5 million dollars through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Notably over 9.4 million was allocated for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is a federally funded program to assist households who experienced economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These funds were sub-granted to the Washington County Community Action Council who distributed funds to eligible residents. The additional 100,000 thousand was in partnership with Antietam Broadband who used the funds to expand broadband services to residents living on Kaetzel Road.
In addition to these grants, the County distributed over 2.4 million dollars for the Gaming Commission Awards to the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association and various local charities. Over $819,000 was awarded by the Community Organization Funding Committee with the monies going to support community-based, non-profit organizations.
Citizen engagement and staff involvement is a priority with Washington County Government. The County is active on several different social media channels in addition to sending out quarterly newsletters. Several staff members attended MACo’s annual conference in August and over 60 staff participated in United Way Day of Caring in September.
(Governor Hogan visiting the Washington County booth during MACO)
(County employees participating in United Way’s Day of Caring)
The Sheriff’s Office participated in their annual Shop with a Sheriff to deliver Christmas presents to local families.
The Sheriff’s Office also highlights their 4 school resource deputies and one supervisor that serve 28 different schools across Washington County.
(Hagerstown Crossroads Groundbreaking)
Washington County has experienced significant economic growth and development in 2021. Ground was broken for Hagerstown Crossroads at I-81 which will bring an 825,000 square foot building built on speculation.
Creekside Logistics was built on speculation with several interested tenants, and Amazon added over 2,400 jobs at their Crayton Boulevard location.
Northpoint has completed 3 out of their 4 new warehouse buildings, totaling just under 2 million square feet that has been added at their Wesel Boulevard project.
The sale at Fort Ritchie was completed and the Cascade area has began a revitalization.
(Amazon warehouses on Crayton Blvd. & Wesel Blvd.)
The Department of Business Development is proud to share several upcoming projects. These include: expansion of Volvo Propulsion Laboratory, expansion of Tractor Supply, and over 5 million additional square feet of warehouse and logistics totaling over 300 million dollars in investment.
The Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau continued to host several outstanding events that added to the local economy through tourism. Noteworthy events include the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the C&O Canal, hosting the Worlds Canal Conference, and a passing-thru of the National Christmas Tree in Williamsport.
The CVB, along with several organizations and funding from the Board of County Commissioners, helped build momentum for approval of the new Hagerstown Skate Park. There were also improvements made to the BMX Track and approval for the Multi-Use Sports and Events Complex in downtown Hagerstown.
(World Canals Conference commercial)
(The final concept plan for the Hagerstown skatepark)
Washington County accomplished many great things in 2021 and is looking forward to 2022 being a year of positive change and forward momentum. The County thanks every citizen for being an integral part of our community and for choosing Washington County as your home.
Board of County Commissioners
100 West Washington Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740
If you need to reach a Commissioner to discuss bond review or criminal charges, please contact the District Court Commissioner at 240-420-4600.
The office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday