Currently viewing the tag: "Emmitsburg town commissioners"

James Rada, Jr.

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners will hold a workshop to try and decide how best to handle a request from Pradeep Saini, owner of Village Liquors, to change the town’s water and sewer tap costs.

Saini owns three acres by the Emmitsburg McDonalds, with an option to purchase four more acres. He has been developing a small strip mall on the site where he intends to move his business, but he told the board of commissioners he would like to build a 90-room Choice Hotel on the site as well. The proposed project will cost between $7 and $8 million, of which 10 percent will pay for the town’s water and sewer impact fees.

“When 10 percent of that is just water and sewer tap fees, it’s humungous, and investors are going to shy away from that,” Saini told the commissioners.

He said the town’s costs are out of line with other municipalities. For instance, he said, a similar project in Brunswick would only cost $172,000 in water and sewer tap fees, and he could get a 30 percent discount off that figure.

He also told the commissioners that they needed to pay attention to the ripple effect the hotel would have on town businesses since people staying at the hotel would most likely eat and spend money in town.

“A successful hotel is going to open doors for other development,” Saini said.

He asked the commissioners to look at the current costs, compare them to other municipalities, and bring them in line with other towns. He also asked the commissioners to consider a one-time waiver for a project of this size.

Board President Cliff Sweeney showed a great reluctance to reducing the fees. “The water tap fees that we get from you to pay for the water to pay for the treatment center that’s what the tap fees are for,” Sweeney said.

He said that the town was being asked to give away $800,000 – or a portion of it – when the hotel project would bring the town much closer to needing a new treatment plant that would cost around $2 million.

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell said, “The opportunity here is wonderful. We do want to support you. We do want to see you guys get this done, but there’s also an economy we do have to deal with as well.”

It was pointed out that comparing Emmitsburg’s rates to Brunswick’s was not quite appropriate. The developer in Brunswick gave Brunswick $20 million for improvements. Also, the town’s water capacity was far more than Emmitsburg’s.

Town Manager Cathy Willetts told the commissioners that based on town staff’s research, Emmitsburg’s rates were about midway between comparable municipalities.

The commissioners decided to hold a workshop to discuss all of the issues surrounding the tap fees, in general, and whether something could be done to incentivize the hotel project.

James Rada, Jr.

A small group of town and county representatives helped dedicate the three new waysides that are the hoped-for beginning of a historic Emmitsburg walking trail. The dedication took place Saturday morning, June 29, 2019.

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved the development and installation of three markers in town to describe some historic sites in Emmitsburg.

The first is on the southeast corner of the town square and talks about the historical significance of the square.

“Just think for a moment,” Mayor Don Briggs said during his remarks, “We are standing where so many before have stood, moved around in Independence times, the Civil War, both World Wars, the Depression, and waved to President Eisenhower and Mamie on the way to their farm in Gettysburg.”

The other two markers are across the street from the Emmit House and the Doughboy statue. The Emmit House is a historical building with roots back to 1850, when it was known as Black’s Tavern.

The Doughboy is a historical statue erected to honor the town’s World War I Veterans.

Mayor Briggs; Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner; County Councilman Michael Blue; Emmitsburg Town Commissioners Tim O’Donnell, Cliff Sweeney, and Joe Ritz; and other county representatives were on hand to cut the ribbon, officially dedicating the waysides. Blue also read a proclamation from the county, declaring June 29, 2019, as Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day.

Briggs said that the square wayside dedication marked the end was nearing for the square revitalization and sidewalks projects. The town square revitalization efforts started in 2011. Since then, trees were planted, attractive brick work replaced cement, a town clock was erected, an informational kiosk installed, ADA-compliant curbing installed, and more. Briggs called it an “eight-year overnight success.”

“Once again, the square is pedestrian attractive, safer, and friendly,” Briggs remarked.

The waysides are designed and written by Ruth Bielobocky of Ion Design Firm and Scott Grove of Grove Public Relations.

The waysides are funded with a $9,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town.

On June 29, 2019, Emmitsburg Town, Frederick County dignitaries, and community members gathered to dedicate the new wayside signs on a historic Emmitsburg walking trail through town.

From the Mayor


by Mayor Briggs

The town received several late Christmas presents. On December 26, 2015, five Troop 727 Boy Scouts were awarded the Eagle Scout designation. Keegan X. Wright, Andrew Neibecker, Brendan P. Isaacson, Paul B. Slotwinski, and Stephen M. Lowe were awarded the prestigious achievement award at the Eagle Scout Court of Honor program held at St. Joseph Parish Hall. It was an honor to be present at the award ceremony and to see these young men tracking toward leadership in the future. Thank you to Scoutmaster Mary Neibecker and assistants, Christopher Anadale and Matthias Buchheister, for a job well done.

On January 1, 2016, Emmitsburg received more recognition, this time as one of ten “Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns in Maryland” by It sure is.

In mid-December, Emmitsburg was awarded its fourth State of Maryland Community Legacy Program (CLP) grant. CLP is a matching grant program to encourage property owners who live within the town Sustainable Community designated area to make exterior improvements to their properties. To date, over $150,000 in grant funds have been matched by that of owners equal to or in excess of for a total invested in the town historic district of over $325,000. Our goal is $400,000 by 2017.

In January, Lib and I, along with Councilman Glenn Blanchard and his wife, Maggie, attended the Vigilant Hose Company’s annual banquet and awards dinner. This is always a special event that we are honored to attend, this year even more so after the two fires in town in December.

With the mild fall, our solar field production exceeded expectations. As is the case, production dips in winter and early spring, with shorter days and typically cloudy days. The town is reliant on solar renewable energy to reduce the energy cost of residents by not competing with them for it, reduce costs, and enhance the environment. It is a twenty-year program.

January 2016

by James Rada, Jr.


Emmitsburg Commissioners Will Hold Fewer Meetings

The Emmitsburg town commissioners voted in January to meet only once a month rather than twice a month, which they have done for the past few years. If additional meetings are needed during the month for some reason, they will be scheduled on an as-needed basis.

The commissioners are required by town charter to meet only once a month. According to Mayor Don Briggs, having town staff at each meeting costs $300 to $400. Cutting the meetings in half could save the town as much as $4,800 a year.

The commissioners have been meeting twice a month since 2002.

For more information on the Town of Emmitsburg, visit or call 301-600-6300.


Applications Available for Thurmont Senior Tax Credit

If you are at sixty-five years old as of January 1, 2016, live within the corporate limits of Thurmont, and have a total gross household income of $70,000 or less, you may be eligible for a tax credit on your property. The application for the Thurmont Senior Tax Credit Application is available at the town office or online at

In addition to the application, you will need proof of age and a copy of your latest tax return so that your gross household income can be verified.

Thurmont Community Park Closed to Vehicles

Thurmont Community Park will be closed to vehicles until the spring. Vehicles can still use the first parking lot next to Frederick Road. The park itself is still accessible to walkers, bicyclists, hikers, and tennis players.


View the Town of Thurmont’s website at or call the town office at 301-271-7313 for more information.