Hagerstown successful with some projects in 2012, but stifled by stadium proposal
People look over the visitors locker room at Municipal Stadium during a tour of the ballpark Wednesday evening. (By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer / September 19, 2012)
The cameras were — and still are — a hot-button issue for some residents. Some argue it’s a cash-grabbing scheme for the city, not just a way to slow drivers in the vicinity of schools.
Then-Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II in April publicly opposed the cameras and their time of operation, Monday through Friday year-round from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., because they issued tickets when school was not in session.
“To me, that looks like a revenue generator,” he said then. “It doesn’t look like you’re looking at school safety for children.”
However, Capt. Mark Holtzman, acting chief of the Hagerstown Police Department, said in July that the early results of the program were “better than expected,” and police saw reductions in speeding by 40 percent to 90 percent in various camera zones.
The money generated from the program, nearly $540,000 from April through October, allowed the city council in December to approve a motion to hire a new police officer dedicated to operating the system and to reinstate three formerly unfunded fire captain positions.
The speed cameras issue $40 tickets to motorists traveling 12 mph or more about the posted speed limit. The fines are reduced to $35 if paid within 10 days of the citations being mailed.
Tickets from the cameras are not considered moving violations, so no points are assessed to a driver’s record and insurance companies are not notified, police officials have said.
— C.J. Lovelace
January-Present: The city of Hagerstown instituted a new single-stream refuse and recycling program in January as a way to stimulate increased participation in recycling citywide.
It’s been producing steady results, a city official said recently.
“Since the new program started and totes were delivered in April, over 84 percent of the residential buildings have participated at least once” in the Recyclebank program that offers rewards for recycling, city Engineer Rodney Tissue wrote in an email.
Tissue estimated that only about 20 percent of households recycled under the city’s old “two-bin” program.
“In November, 61 percent participated at least once so it remains a strong participation rate,” he said.
The amount of recyclables collected has averaged about 50 tons per week throughout the year, but that figure shot up in November, Tissue said.
“Compare that to around 21 tons a week in the old program,” he said. “November was an all-time high for collection of recyclables at 234 tons for the month.”
Tissue said Recyclebank officials report that 26 percent of city residential units with a tote have now signed up for the program. To date, users have earned more than $17,000 in coupons and discounts to various businesses, he said.
“Recyclebank said this is ‘strong’ compared to their programs in other communities,” he said.
In February, the Hagerstown City Council voted 4-1 to authorize the city to take out a 10-year loan for $600,000 to purchase the new blue containers. The loan is being paid back with fees collected under the new program, city officials have said.