Currently viewing the tag: "Town Hall Report"

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Increases Tax Rate

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners voted to increase the town’s property tax rate from $0.2992 to $0.3206 per $100 of assessment. Because of growing assessment of real property in town, this will generate an additional $129,291 in tax revenue that will help offset the rising inflation costs and their effect on costs to run the town. Even with the increase, the town will continue to have one of the lowest tax rates in Frederick County.

Town Maintains Its Tree City USA Status

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has named Thurmont a Tree City USA for the sixth year in a row. Towns can earn this designation by having a board or department that cares for trees, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and a proclamation and observation of Arbor Day.

Mayor John Kinnaird said in a news release, “I am very pleased that we have achieved this level of tree care here in Thurmont. Our staff and volunteers have done a great job planting trees, maintaining them, and working hard to ensure that our trees remain healthy for future generations.”

Thurmont also received the Growth Award for the second year in a row. It recognizes the work Thurmont has done to build a sustainable community forestry program.

Town Has Board of Appeals Vacancy

The Town of Thurmont has a vacancy on the board of appeals. If you are a town resident and would like to serve, submit your interest in writing to Becky Long at blong@thurmontstaff.com. You can also drop off the letter at the town office.

Town Approves New Trash Contract

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to continue using Ecology Services Refuse and Recycling as the town’s trash hauler. The contract is a lump-sum bid of $339,199 for a two-year agreement.

Emmitsburg

Town Maintains Tax Rate

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to maintain the town’s property tax rate at $0.3464 per $100 of assessment. Because of growing assessments of real property in town, this will generate an additional $26,414 that will help offset the rising inflation costs and their effect on costs to run the town.

License Plate Readers Coming to Emmitsburg

License plate readers are coming to Emmitsburg to assist police with investigations.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted Monday 4-1 to approve a contract with Applied Technology Services of Middle River for advanced license plate readers. The contract is for $42,140.

The recommendation is supported by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, who believes the readers will help with investigations, according to Town Manager Cathy Willets.

Madeline Shaw, town grant administrator, noted these are not speed cameras.

The proposed locations for the plate readers are East Main Street (near East North Avenue), West Main Street (near Warthens Court), and South Seton Avenue (near Pizza Hut). However, the police will be consulted before the readers are placed.

Commissioner Joseph Ritz III voted against the contract, saying he was unsure how beneficial it would be.

Town Participates in Water Assistance Program

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the town’s participation in the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program during the April town meeting.

Maryland was allocated more than $14 million through the program, which is funded through December of 2023. Eligibility requirements include submitting a current water and/or wastewater bill, showing accrued past-due bills of at least $100. Total household income cannot exceed 60 percent of the state median income. One bill account per service address per utility is eligible. Applicants must provide proof of residency and live in Maryland.

Eligible residents will receive a one-time grant ranging from $100 to $2,000. The money can be put toward residential water and/or wastewater accounts with past-due bills. It is paid directly to the utility supplier.

Visit dhs.maryland.gov, click “home energy/water,” then “apply for energy assistance” to reach the application.

Brookfield Parcel Rezoned

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a zoning map amendment that will allow for the construction on seven new houses on the west side of town.

They will be added to the Brookfield subdivision. The subdivision has about 117 houses already. The rezoned property is 2.85 acres on Timbermill Run.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Town Reinstates Commissioner Liaisons to Public Works

Although Thurmont used to have commissioner liaisons to the town’s public works departments, the assignments have stopped being made at some point in the past. At Mayor John Kinnaird’s suggestion and with the approval of the commissioners, this has been reinstated. The following liaison assignments were made to the commissioners: Water—Wayne Hooper, Wastewater—Bill Blakeslee, Electric—Bill Buehrer, Streets and Parks—Wes Hamrick.

Part of Trolley Trail to be Dedicated In Memory of Former Employee

At the suggestion of a town employee, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners agreed to dedicate the section of the Thurmont Trolley Trail from East Moser Road to the wastewater treatment plant pond entrance to Jeff Kilby. Kilby was a town employee in the wastewater department who died unexpectedly in October 2020. A bench with a plaque on it will be placed on the trail to note the dedication.

Armstrong Named Thurmont Police Officer Of The Year

The Thurmont Lions Club named Sgt. Dave Armstrong as the Thurmont Police Officer of the Year. He joined the Thurmont Police Department in 2012 after he retired from the Frederick Police Department. He was promoted to sergeant in 2018. Besides his work as a police officer, he helped the town youth organize themselves to get the new Thurmont Skatepark built.

Jonathan Hamrick with the Thurmont Lions Club presented Armstrong with a certificate and gift certificate for a local restaurant. His name will be added to a plaque of other Thurmont Police Officers of the Year, and the Lions Club will make a $400 donation in his name to the Thurmont Boy Scouts.

Wood Named Thurmont Police Civilian Employee Of The Year

Code Enforcement Officer Kristi Wood was named the Thurmont Police Civilian Employee of the Year. She began work with the department as a part-time employee in 2014. However, her hard work and initiative to take on other duties allowed her to become a full-time employee in 2017. Citizens have often complimented her good work to the department.

“Her caring and concern for everyone is noticeable every day,” Eyler said. “Ms. Wood has proven to be an outstanding employee for the Thurmont Police Department and the Town of Thurmont.”

Purchases Approved to Extend Gateway Trail

The Town of Thurmont and Catoctin Mountain National Park have been working to develop the Gateway Trail. It begins in Community Park, through town on Altamont Avenue, and out of town on West Main Street. It will then connect to trails in Catoctin Mountain National Park. To complete the trail, the town needs to purchase three pieces of property on West Main Street in order to make a direct connection to the west end of Community Park. Using $75,000 in funds from the county, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to purchase properties and easements at 128 W. Main Street, 202 W. Main, and a parcel along Hunting Creek for $23,500 to build a six-foot-wide asphalt trail.

Thurmont United Methodist Church Petitioning for Annexation

The Thurmont United Methodist Church has asked to be annexed into the Town of Thurmont. The church leadership would like to create a daycare center, but to do so, it needs to add a sprinkler system, among other improvements. It is uncertain that the church’s well could support the sprinkler system, so it would like to connect to the town’s water system. The church is included in the town’s master plan for future growth.

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to forward the request to the planning and zoning commission for review and recommendation.

Emmitsburg

New Business News

Christ’s Community Church has submitted their concept plan to build a new 12,500-square-foot church on Creamery Road near Quality Tire.

Federal Stone is preparing engineering plans to submit to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. The company purchased all of the Emmitsburg East Industrial Park II for its business. The company also planned to submit the final subdivision plat and forest conservation plan to the planning commission in February.

Ripleigh’s Creamery is working to obtain a county building permit for its building work.

Rutter’s is under construction and expected to open late this summer.

The MDOT/SHA Park and Ride design is 15 percent complete, but the project is now on hold due to state budget cuts.

Tuscany’s Pizzeria is now open on the square.

Village Liquors and Plaza Inn is working on completing the final subdivision plat and improvement plat conditions the planning commission asked for. They also need to secure the necessary permits from the town and county.

Residential Work

Emmitsburg continues to see growth, with 32 new residential permits being issued in the town last year.

Park Work Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a bid of $14,325 to Frederick County Paving in Thurmont to pour eight concrete slabs for bleachers in town parks. Frederick County Paving was one of 25 bidders for the project.

Green Sites, Inc. of Elkridge will be installing seven new 15-foot-long bleachers (three in Eugene Myers Community Park and four in Memorial Park) for $42,600. Green Sites was one of 11 bidders for this project.

HMF Contractors in Frederick will be paving the gravel area in Memorial Park for $28,980. HMF Contractors was one of 21 bidders for this contract.

All the projects will be paid for with FY2022 Local Parks & Playgrounds Infrastructure (LPPI) from the state.

New Hires

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved hiring Julie Scott as the new town clerk. She lives in Cascade and was one of 115 people who applied for the position. Her salary will be $63,000 a year. Current Town Clerk Maddie Shaw stepped back to take a part-time position as the town’s grants administrator. This job pays $35.00 an hour but offers no benefits. It is expected that she will be working 16-20 hours a week.

Sabrina King has also been hired as the town office coordinator. She lives in Taneytown and is one of 85 people who applied. She will earn $41,900 a year.

Pool Management Contract Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a three-year contract (2022-2024) to have RSV Pools in Gaithersburg manage the town pool during the season. The company will be paid $65,952 for 2022, $67,848 for 2023, and $70,980 for 2024 for the work.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Commissioner Liaison Appointments Made

For 2022, Mayor John Kinnaird appointed the following town commissioners to serve on the various Thurmont commissions and committees:

•    Wayne Hooper — Mayor Pro Tem, Addictions Committee, and Special Activities Committee.

•    Bill Buehrer — Board of Appeals and Economic Development Committee.

•    Wes Hamrick — Parks Commission and Thurmont Ministerium.

•    Bill Blakeslee — Police Commission and Thurmont Senior Center.

•    John Kinnaird — Planning and Zoning Commission.

Town’s County Capital Budget Requests

In recent years, Frederick County Government has asked municipalities for local projects they would like the county to fund. For Fiscal Year 2023, the Town of Thurmont is asking Frederick County to fund the following things for Thurmont:

•    $25,000 for Thurmont Senior Center operation.

•    $180,000 for the sidewalk on Moser Road, from the wastewater treatment plant to Jermae Estates.

•              $50,000 for asphalt on Old Pryor Road.

Emmitsburg

Emmitsburg Fields Stay Free To Use

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to continue a no-fee policy for town ball fields use that has been in effect for two years. However, town staff is exploring maintenance options and how the town and sports leagues can share maintenance costs if no fee is charged.

Some towns ask sports leagues to provide basic field maintenance for the free use of the fields. Brunswick is one local municipality that does this, according to Town Manager Cathy Willets. Currently, the town pays all maintenance for the fields, which amounted to more than $10,000 last year.

Commissioner T.J. Burns was also concerned that when the new regional park opens along Motter Station Road, it could attract teams away from the town fields, so the town needed to make it attractive to use its fields.

Community Deputy Recognized

The Town of Emmitsburg recognized the six years of service Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputy Whitehouse gave the town. Board President Tim O’Donnell said Whitehouse had “consistently gone above and beyond” in his service to Emmitsburg as a community deputy. Whitehouse was promoted within the sheriff’s office and will no longer be working as a community deputy.

Former Commissioner Rosensteel Recognized

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing Joyce Rosensteel’s 20 years of service to the town as town commissioner and a member of different committees in town.

Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the following appointments to town commissions:

•     Kevin Hagan as a regular member of the planning commission, with a term of January 18, 2022–January 18, 2027.

•     Amy Boehman-Pollitt as a regular member of the planning commission, with a term of December 10, 2021–July 2, 2022.

The commissioners also accepted the resignation of Dr. Bernard Franklin from the planning commission, effective December 10, 2021.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

Commissioners List ARA Projects

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners listed the projects they will fund with the $6.7 million the federal government is providing the town from the American Recovery Act. Many of the projects that the town had hoped to fund weren’t eligible under the new law, such as roads, electric, and sidewalk projects. The main focus of the funds was to be used for wastewater and water infrastructure projects.

These are the upcoming ARA projects for Thurmont:

•    Replace water and sewer mains on North Church Street. The state is also expected to repave the street once the project is completed. ($163,000 for engineering and design; $136,000 for inspection services; and $2.8 million for construction).

•    Replace the water main on Pryor Road and tie into Hillside Circle. The commissioners had planned to fund this using an already approved state loan. They will have to decide whether to use the ARA funds for an additional project or to repay the loan ($470,000 for engineering, design, and construction).

•    A water pumping station on Radio Lane ($80,000 for engineering and development, and $820,000 for construction).

•    MS4 upgrades to stormwater facilities ($120,000 for engineering and development, and $1.1 million for construction). 

•    Accounting software upgrades to allow online payments ($175,000).

•    Expansion of the town office ($50,000 for engineering and development, and $262,800 for construction).

•    Repair of stormwater catch basins on Frederick Road ($30,000).

•    Repair of sewer lines near well 7 ($18,000).

•    Storm drain repairs in Jermae Estates. This is completed and the town is asking for reimbursement ($17,385).

•    Economic development assistance for businesses affected by COVID ($300,000).

•    COVID-related wastewater and electric payment arrears ($50,000).

•    Repair to sewer laterals ($500,000).

Board Approves Bridge Analysis

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners approved $8,500 to have ARRO Consulting, Inc. study the bridges on Boundary Avenue and North Altamont Avenue to see if there are any structural integrity deficiencies. The bridges are starting to show some wear.

Emmitsburg

Problems With Pump Station

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the Emmitsburg Commissioners that the pump station “can no longer keep up with these high flows” during the November town meeting. During October, the station treated an average of 889,000 gpd, while using 231,882 gpd. That means that the station was having to treat three times as much “wild water” as normal wastewater. The additional flow was due, in large, part to Tropical Storm Ida and another heavy rain event weeks later.

Another problem that continues to plague the plant is residents who flush rags into the system. The town had to hire a contractor to come to the plant to remove rags and grease from the system after staff had already removed five garbage bags of rags and grease by hand. Because these items aren’t removed during pumping, they are clogging the system. The town has tried to alert citizens to the problem, but it has not yet helped.

Mount Students Still Causing Partying Problems

The Emmitsburg Community Deputies still continue to receive complaints about Mount St. Mary’s University students living in town who are disturbing residents with their partying. The students have been warned in the past about carrying open alcohol containers in town and drinking in public. The deputies told the commissioners that they need to “escalate to the next level” their efforts to curb the problem.

Committee Appointment

Bernard Franklin was reappointed to the Emmitsburg Citizen’s Advisory Committee to serve a two-year term until September 3, 2023.

Town Declares Properties Not Needed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners declared two pieces of property the town owns as “no longer needed for a public purpose.” The properties are at 303 West Lincoln Avenue (now used as Christ Community Church) and 16715 Creamery Road (three acres of the water treatment plant property). This decision allows the town to set a sale price and sell the properties if the commissioners should choose to do so.

by James Rada, Jr.

T h u rmont

A “Y Without Walls”

The Town of Thurmont is still working toward bringing YMCA programs to town in a “Y without walls.” It was announced during a recent town meeting that the Y will run some art programs locally on Saturday mornings. These are expected to be one-and-a-half and two-hour workshops. The YMCA is also planning to start a North County Leaders Club in the fall to teach youth the value of service. The long-term goal is to have a YMCA facility in town, and the first step in that direction is showing support for Y programs being offered in the “Y without walls.”

Thurmont Police Officer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club awarded Officer First Class Nicole Fair the 2021 Thurmont Police Officer of the Year Award. In noting the work she has done in the department since joining in July 2016, it was also noted that she has an eagerness to learn new skills and jobs within the department. Fair also received a restaurant gift certificate and her name on a plaque. Also, the Lions Club will make a $400 donation in Fair’s name to the charity of her choice.

Thurmont Pursuing a Skate Park

Following a presentation by citizens, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners switched their priority for Program Open Space funds this year from doing phase 2 of the Woodland Park playground replacement to the start of building a skateboarding park in town. The commissioners asked the parks and recreation commission to meet with the citizens supporting the park to decide on what the ultimate design of the park should be and how to start building it, understanding that the park probably can’t be built in a year.

E m m i t s b u r g

Commissioners Accept North Seton Conceptual Plan

Commissioners Accept North Seton Conceptual Plan

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted a Green Street Conceptual Plan for North Seton Avenue, from Main Street to Provincial Parkway. Fox and Associates presented the plan. The goal is to create an attractive streetscape that incorporates green stormwater infrastructure to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution flowing into Flat Run. The plan also suggests ways to stabilize the banks of Flat Run and provide flood hazard mitigation. A Chesapeake Bay Trust Green Streets, Green Jobs, & Green Towns grant funded the study.

Commissioners Approve Hunting and Recreational Use at Rainbow Lake

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the hunting and recreational use of Rainbow Lake. The changes/additions will be updated on town hunting and fishing permits. Some of the changes include: (1) All-terrain vehicles, except class one pedal-assist bicycles, are prohibited in the watershed; (2) Hunting access is limited to deer and turkey. Hunting of any other wildlife species is prohibited; (3) Hunting is only permitted from the first day of deer season until the end of deer season. Hunting will then only be permitted from the first day of spring wild turkey season until the end of spring wild turkey season; (4) Use of hunting dogs to chase/hunt deer or turkey is prohibited; (5) Portable tree stands and climbing devices that do not use nails, wires, spikes, bolts, or screws for attachments are permitted; (6) Fishing permits must be renewed annually and expire on the date of your Maryland fishing license expires; (7) Please refrain from walking, standing, or throwing the rip rap rocks located around the lake basin; (8) Hiking and mountain biking are allowed on designated trails only. Trails must not be used if they are wet or muddy to protect the watershed from erosion.

Commissioners Approve Engineering Contract for Water Clarifier

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the engineering contract for the new water clarifier for the town’s water system to be conducted by Rummel, Klepper & Kahl. The entire cost will be $243,114, including study, preliminary design, final design, bidding, negotiation, construction, and post-construction.

Commissioners Change Zoning for New Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners held a public hearing in April about the zoning classification changes for the parcels of property the new wastewater treatment plant will be built on. The parcels were zoned agricultural before the town annexed the parcels and sought to change them to institutional zoning. Following the hearing, the commissioners voted to make the zoning change.

Does the Town Need to Raise Water Rates?

Emmitsburg Commissioner T. J. Burns brought up the possibility of the town raising its water rates during a recent town meeting. He said the town’s water rates are among the lowest in the county, and with the need to pay for the upcoming water infrastructure projects, such as the new water clarifier, the town may have to consider raising its rates to generate income for the projects that won’t be covered by grants.

2021 Emmitsburg Pool Information

The Emmitsburg pool will open this year on May 29. It will only be open from noon to 7:00 p.m. on weekends until June 13. From June 18 through Labor Day, it will be open daily. The day passes for residents will be $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for children and seniors, and free for children under three years old. Non-residents will pay $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and seniors. Depending on the governor’s COVID orders, there may be limited capacity. If this happens, no season passes will be sold.

Thurmont

For more information on the Town of Thurmont, visit www.thurmont.com or call 301-271-7313.

Thurmont is a Tree City USA Town for the Fourth Year

Thurmont has been recognized as a Tree City USA town for the fourth year in a row. The Tree City USA designation is part of an Arbor Day Foundation program. Mayor John Kinnaird credited Thurmont’s success in receiving the designation to Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick’s and Becky Wilson’s, with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division, efforts to plant trees in Thurmont parks and other locations in the town. Humerick said nearly 500 trees have been planted in Thurmont since 2014.

“It is nice to know 437 other trees have been planted for our kids and grandkids to enjoy as they grow up,” Kinnaird said. “I know we won’t be around to see most of them mature, but it’s nice to know that they will be there.”

Thurmont Lions Honoring Veterans

Veterans Day is this month, and the Thurmont Lions Club will be honoring Veterans with their pictures, names, rank, branch of service, date of service, and war era on banners hung from light posts throughout Thurmont.

Property Maintenance Changes Added to Code

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to approve changes to the town code, giving the town the authority to remove dead or diseased trees from private or public property within the town if the tree constitutes a hazard to people, property, or other trees. If the property owner does not remove such a tree after being notified, the town can do so and place a lien on the property for the cost of removal.

Speed Camera Numbers In

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners reviewed the results of the speed cameras placed near school zones over the previous year. Sgt. Armstrong told them that the numbers were probably lower than they would typically have been because of the reduction of traffic on the road due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

During the year the cameras were in place, 393 citations were issued, and 317 of them paid. Each citation is $40 and no points, with $12 going to OptiTraffic, the manufacturer and operator of the cameras.

The average speed drivers were going in the 25 mph school zones was 44 mph, with one driver apparently driving down East Main Street at 80 mph on a Sunday morning. Others were photographed doing 70+ miles per hour.

Although not put in place to generate revenue, the town makes $28 from each paid citation. This means the town has received $8,876 from the 317 paid citations.

Emmitsburg

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

Town to Offer More Business Grants

After the distribution of micro-grants to town businesses that lost at least half of their income due to pandemic-related problems, the Town of Emmitsburg had $17,000 remaining in its grant fund. The town had considered donating the money to the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association for business-related uses. However, during the October town meeting, the commissioners decided to open a second round of grants. This round of grants will be open to businesses that have suffered at least a 25 percent loss of business due to COVID-19.

New Ordinances Passed

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners held a public hearing and adopted new zoning and subdivision amendments. However, one portion of the subdivision amendment was removed for later discussion. This section concerns who will provide and fund playgrounds and recreation areas in the subdivision.

Phase 2 Water Restrictions in Effect

Phase 2 water restrictions remain in effect in Emmitsburg. This restriction prohibits the filling or replenishing of swimming pools, outside consumption of water (washing cars, houses, sidewalks, and watering lawns and gardens), and providing drinking water at restaurants unless requested by the customer.

Violations carry fines of up to $75.

The action was taken because the water levels continue to drop in town wells and Rainbow Lake with no significant rain in sight.

“If we don’t try to do something now, and it continues to drop, you can’t get that water back,” Town Manager Cathy Willetts told the commissioners.

She said the town needs a long, soaking rain to get things back to normal.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Emmitsburg Seeks to Become a Main Street Affiliate

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the application for Emmitsburg to become a Maryland Main Street Affiliate. This is not a Maryland Main Street Community, but it does bring some advantages to the town while not having the associated costs. Although the town is expected to show economic development improvements in town, it will not have to hire a full-time Main Street manager. A member of the town staff can oversee the town’s program efforts. The expectation of the affiliate program is that the community will eventually become a Maryland Main Street Community.

The advantages of being a Main Street Affiliate are that it opens up grant opportunities to help continue improving Emmitsburg and the town can get help running programs.

Emmitsburg Begins Annexation for Wastewater Treatment Plant Property

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners has introduced plans to annex two parcels of property (16707 and 16715 Creamery Road) totaling 85.39 acres. The town owns the property, on which there are no dwellings or residents. The property is currently zoned agricultural in Frederick County. If annexed, it will be zoned institutional in Emmitsburg. A public hearing will be held on November 2 for any public comment.

Commissions Issue Proclamations

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued three different proclamations during its September meeting.

Community Park was renamed the “E. Eugene Myers Community Park” in recognition of Myers’ “extraordination contributions” to the town. In addition to his service to the community, Myers was one of the founding members of Community Park.

September 26 was declared Arbor Day in Emmitsburg. Besides the proclamation, the town also recognized the day by planting 15 new trees in town.

Finally, September was proclaimed as Recovery Month in Emmitsburg.

Town Receives Compensation Study

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard a presentation of the staff compensation study during its September meeting. William Benner with WW Consulting, Inc. used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Economic Research Institute to estimate what the salaries of town staff should be. Benner averaged salary data from Gettysburg and Hagerstown with adjustments for the scope of the job, size of the town, and years on the job. The commissioners will hold a meeting on October 19 to review the information and decide on how to move forward with it.

Thurmont

Parades and Assemblies Changes Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved changes to the town ordinance affecting parades and assemblies in town. The changes will allow the Thurmont Police to better plan for any police needs during the events. The changes require events to fill out an application and be approved. Also, multiple events at the same time won’t be allowed.

Commissioners Approve Bid for Orchard Hills Street Lights

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from Catoctin Lighting for 103 street lights in Orchard Hills. The bid of $45,681 will be paid for with a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration. The grant is for $48,925, and the difference will be used to cover any unforeseen circumstances that occur during the installation.

Commissioners Approve Use of Extra POS Funds

After the paving of the Thurmont Trolley Trail, Thurmont had $59,414 remaining in grant funding that can be used for other parks and recreation projects. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to use the funds to complete the 950-foot southern extension of the trolley trail ($27,000) and replace the Ice Plant Park playground equipment ($13,000). The remaining funds will be used to start an exercise trail around Eyler Road Park similar to the one in Community Park.

Ethics Commission Appointments Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners reappointed Carol Robertson, Theresa Bean, and Beth Cranberg to four-year terms on the town ethics commission. There is still one vacancy for an alternate position on the commission.

New Recycling Station Locations

The recycling dumpster and the oil recycling station are now open at a new location next to the Thurmont Regional Library, adjacent to the Town of Thurmont Electric Substation at 70 East Moser Road.  To access the recycling center, follow the roadway to the right of the library and then turn right into the gravel lot. This is the same general location where yard waste dropoff is located each month, so all recycling opportunities will now be in the same location. Signs will be in place to provide direction to drivers. 

Please remember to treat the site respectfully. Misuse of the site may cause the site to be closed and discontinued. Security cameras are in place to help monitor the site and identify anyone who misuses the recycling stations.

Emmitsburg

Voluntary Water Restrictions Continue

Despite recent rains, Rainbow Lake and town wells are still not back to optimum levels. However, it has allowed the restrictions not to be tightened by the Emmitsburg mayor and commissioners. The current phase 1 water restrictions will continue.

Sanitary Changes for Election

Working with the Frederick County Board of Elections, the Town of Emmitsburg has enacted changes to this year’s election to comply with the coronavirus restrictions. Rather than three elections judges, this year, there will be four. One judge will serve as a greeter to control the flow of voters into the town municipal building on East Main Street. The judges will wipe down the voting booths after each voter, disinfect pens, and periodically wipe down the ballot box and sign-in table.

Other changes include that masks will be required for entry into the voting room and suggested use of hand sanitizer upon entry. Only two voters will be allowed in the room at once, tape markings will be placed on the floor and ground to ensure social distancing, and the judges will wear gloves and face masks.

Election Judges Appointed

The Emmitsburg commissioners appointed Lynn Orondorff as the chief election judge this year. Charlotte Mazaleski and Tammy May were appointed as judges. Tracey Lewis was appointed as the greeter, and Deborah Arnold will be the alternate judge/greeter.

Contract for Sheriff’s Deputies Approved

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved the contract with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for two community deputies. The contract is unchanged and will cost the town $272,614 for fiscal year 2021, which is $12,010 less than the current contract. The difference is due to a change in personnel.

Amendments Updated

The Emmitsburg commissioners voted to forward a subdivision amendment and a zoning amendment to the planning commission for review and comment. Town Planner Zach Gulden went through these amendments to clean them up, update them, and correct errors. The commissioners expect to hold a public hearing on the amendments and changes next month.

Green Street Project Moves Forward

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved a contract with Fox & Associates for the green street conceptual plan along North Seton Avenue. The contract is for $19,825. Most of this cost is covered by Chesapeake Bay Trust grant. The town will actually pay $2,287 for the study.

Hand Sanitizing Stations in Parks

Hand sanitizing stations have been placed in Emmitsburg town parks and along town trails to help ensure community safety. If you find a sanitizing station that is empty or has other problems, e-mail the town office with the issue at info@emmitsburgmd.gov.

Thurmont

Town Considering a Parking Deck

The mayor and commissioners are weighing the pros and cons of building a parking deck over the Thurmont Municipal Parking Lot. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick got a quote from a concrete manufacturer, so the council would have some actual numbers to work with as they consider the idea.

To build a deck over the current parking lot would increase the number of parking spaces from 42 to 98 and cost $1,481,000. This covers only the cost of a pre-fab concrete construction. Additional costs would be incurred for electrical, plumbing, and an elevator.

Mayor John Kinnaird said the information was “a great starting point.”

Although Commissioner Marty Burns wasn’t thrilled with the price, he said it was less than he thought it would be. He also sees having additional parking in town as an economic development initiative.

“This is the only thing that’s going to make business want to come to downtown Thurmont,” he said.

The commissioners now want to hear from residents whether the project is worth it and whether a single deck is what they want. Other variations include using the ground level for residential or retail space and adding an additional level to the parking deck.

New Officer Sworn In

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Nathan McLeroy as a Thurmont Police Officer. McLeroy comes from a law enforcement family. His father, Steve, was a Baltimore County Police Officer. Steve McLeroy gave Nathan the handcuffs he used when he began work as a police officer and told his son, “You’ve got a powerful duty, so don’t misuse it.”

Mayor James F. Black Scholarship Awarded

Elizabeth Anders received the 2020 Mayor James F. Black Scholarship. She plans to pursue dual degrees at Hagerstown Community College and Frostburg University in nursing, with the ultimate goal of earning her master’s degree and becoming a midwife.

Former Mayor Black’s family established the scholarship for Thurmont employees and their dependents.

Oil and Antifreeze Recycling Station Closed

The oil and antifreeze recycling station at 10 Frederick Road in Thurmont is closed for improvement. Please don’t set containers of oil or antifreeze at the center until it has reopened. You can also visit  https://frederickcountymd.gov/1753/Motor-Oil-and-Antifreeze-Recycling for other drop-off locations during this time.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Voluntary Water Restrictions Enacted

Due to a lack of rain, the Town of Emmitsburg has enacted its phase 1 water restrictions. At this phase, everyone is asked to voluntarily restrict their water usage. In mid-July, Rainbow Lake was three to four inches below where it should have been, and town wells were down one foot. Should the drop in water levels continue, additional restrictions might be required.

Town Election Approaching

The Emmitsburg town election will be held on Tuesday, September 29. The positions of mayor and town commissioner are up for a vote. So far, incumbents Mayor Don Briggs and Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, have filed for re-election, and former Mayor James Hoover has also filed for election. Any candidate interested in running must file by August 28.

To vote in the town election, you must be registered to vote with the Frederick County Board of Elections by August 28.

Community Park Renamed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners had previously voted to rename Community Park in honor of Gene Myers. Commissioner Frank Davis met with members of the Myers Family to see what name they would prefer to be used. The new name of the park will be the E. Eugene Myers Community Park. The tentative date for the ceremony celebrating the new name will be September 12.

New Policy Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a small cell wireless facility ordinance and policy in July. Although the commissioners still had questions and may revisit the ordinance and policy within the next few months, they wanted to have something on the books in case a company approached the town with a request for such a facility.

The ordinance and policy were approved 4-1, with Commissioner Joseph Ritz III voting against.

Fees Increased

The Emmitsburg Commissioners updated their fees for rezoning, development, annexation, and infrastructure. It had been years since the fees had been updated. The new fees are essentially the average of fees charged by the other Frederick County municipalities.

“We are seeing a large uptick in development, and we are losing money in revenue,” Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners.

The new fees were approved 4-1, with Commissioner Joseph Ritz III voting against.

Forestry Bid Awarded

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a $37,500 bid from Tipton’s Inc. of Union Bridge to timber stand six of the town’s land. Tipton’s did a good job with a previous timbering contract on town land, and the bid exceeds the estimated value of the timber. In addition, $4,500 of the amount will be set aside for trail repair.

Thurmont

Health Department Offers Virus Testing Locally

The Frederick County Health Department is providing on-site COVID-19 testing locally. Walk-up testing will be available at the Thurmont Municipal Offices parking lot at 615 East Main Street, every Friday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Testing is free; no insurance or doctor’s note is needed, and you will receive your results in two to four days. Please remember to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings. Contact the Frederick County Health Department with any questions.

Thurmont Joins National Clean Energy Challenge

The Town of Thurmont is taking on the challenge to see how it stacks up to other cities across the nation when it comes to clean energy successes. Thirty communities in five states are taking the Sustainable States Community Energy Challenge, which offers tools and support to assess clean energy goals and initiatives. Participating cities will be a part of an in-state peer cohort and receive technical assistance to complete a pressing clean energy initiative. Additionally, the challenge will compare clean energy achievements across similarly-sized cities, assess future initiatives, and provide project implementation assistance.

The project is a partnership of the Sustainable States Network, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and five state-level sustainability programs, including Sustainable CT, Green Cities California, Sustainable Maryland, Minnesota GreenStep Cities, and Sustainable Jersey.

Det. Bowen is Thurmont’s Police Officer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club announced recently that Detective Gerald Bowen is the 2020 Thurmont Police Officer of the Year. Bowen joined the Thurmont Police in 2013, after 19 years with the Frederick Police Department. His name will be added to the plaque of former winners. He also received a gift certificate, and a donation was made in his name to the charity of his choice. The charity Bowen chose was St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Property Annexed into Thurmont

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners annexed 96 East Moser Road into the town. It is 10.02 acres that will primarily be used to expand the Thurmont Trolley Trail. The property was purchased using Program Open Space funds.

Town Makes Annual Donations

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners made their annual contributions to organizations that provide services to the town: The Guardian Hose Company received $30,000; the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company received $30,000; the Thurmont Food Bank received $6,000.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

$1.87 Million Budget Presented

The Emmitsburg Commissioners will consider approving a $1,870,067 general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2021 during their June meeting. This is 3.1 percent or about $60,000 less than the FY 2019 budget, which is the last one that the town has audited figures for. The audited budget was used because town staff has no idea what impact COVID-19 will have on revenues.

“There’s not a lot of frills,” Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners. “There’s not a lot of extra spending in the budget due to decreasing revenues we expect.”

Town staff also consulted with the Maryland Municipal League and Frederick County Executive’s office to get an idea of how much revenue will be affected.

Highway User Funds and income taxes may be the hardest hit revenues. They are projected to decrease 12 percent. Grant funding and county equity revenues are also expected to drop.

Willets called the expected decrease in real estate taxes the “big unknown.” This could be because the layoffs from COVID-19 are expected to cause larger-than-normal numbers of delinquent payments and foreclosures on property.

The budget uses the FY 2019 figure as a basis for estimated real estate taxes, and the town’s property tax rate will remain unchanged at 36 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Mayor Don Briggs said the budget funded the basics and the essential services the town needs to provide. It also funds step increases and a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for town employees.

Town Parks Are Open

Town parks in Emmitsburg reopened on May 7, based on a new executive order from Gov. Larry Hogan. Please remember to continue social distancing and washing your hands.

Town Offices Remain Closed to the Public

Although the town of Emmitsburg is expecting to resume normal operating hours sometime early in June, the town offices currently remain closed to the public. Staff is available by phone at 301-600-6300 or by email, Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The office is closed on Fridays. You can check http://bit.ly/eburgcovid19 for updates to the town’s response to COVID-19.

Water/Sewer/Trash Bill Due Date Pushed Back

The first quarter water/sewer/trash bills were mailed to Emmitsburg residents last month. They have a new due date of June 24. Although the mailing of the bills was delayed, the billing period still remains January through March. If you have a problem paying the bill because of the health crisis, contact the town office for payment options.

To get back on schedule, the second quarter water/sewer/trash bills will be mailed June 30 with an August 5 due date.

Community Pool Delayed Opening

Because of COVID-19, the opening of the Emmitsburg Community Pool for the season has been delayed. It was supposed to open Memorial Day Weekend. While this didn’t happen, a new opening date has not been scheduled. It is expected to open in mid-June. This is because the company managing the pool for the town will need that amount of time to get workers hired once Gov. Larry Hogan relaxes restrictions and pools can reopen.

Committee Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Commissioners reappointed Ronald Lind to the Board of Appeals for a three-year term that ends February 17, 2023. They also reappointed Wayne Slaughter as an alternate member of the Board of Appeals for a term that ends April 15, 2023.

The commissioners unanimously appointed Tim Clarke to the Ethics Commission beginning May 4, 2020.

Community Pool Free on Heritage Day

Although the Emmitsburg Community Pool will open late this year because of COVID-19, Emmitsburg Heritage Day is still planned for June 27. The pool will be open by then, and the admission fee will be waived.

Brown Water Problem Fixed

It appears the problem with brown water at certain Emmitsburg homes has been fixed. Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that since the town undertook its mitigation efforts earlier this year, the town office has received only one complaint of brown water. In that instance, the water cleared up after running for a short time.

Small Businesses Can Apply for a Micro-Grant from Emmitsburg

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the creation of a micro-grant to support existing businesses within Emmitsburg town limits and with fewer than 15 employees. The grant is funded with $30,000. The town staff will award a one-time grant with no repayment due to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions placed on businesses and who meet the criteria. Based upon the number of applications received, the $30,000 will be distributed evenly to all eligible businesses that meet the criteria, not to exceed $1,000. Nonprofits, churches, banks/financial institutions, investment, real-estate entities, chains/franchisees, and government agencies are not eligible to apply. You can find more information and the grant application at www.emmitsburgmd.gov.

Thurmont

Thurmont 5th Safest City in Maryland

Thurmont has once again made Safewise’s list of the safest Maryland cities. Safewise looks at the most-recent FBI Crime Report statistics and population of cities with more than 3,000 residents. They look at violent crime and property crime that occurs per 1,000 residents.

Although Thurmont’s statistics have improved over last year, it fell from number 3 to number 5 on the list. According to Safewise, Thurmont’s violent crime rate is the same as 2019, although higher than 2018. The property crime rate is 5.8, which is nearly half of what it was in 2018.

The top 10 safest cities in Maryland are: (1) Taneytown, (2) Ocean Pines, (3) Hampstead, (4) Mount Airy, (5) Thurmont, (6) Centreville, (7) Glenarden, (8) District Heights, (9) Bowie, and (10) Brunswick.

Yard Waste Drop-Off Has Been Canceled Until Further Notice

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the monthly yard waste drop-off has been canceled until further notice. Once restrictions have been lifted, the town will re-evaluate when the program can begin again. Updates will be posted on the town website.

Thurmont’s MS4 Requirements

The MS4 Program is a government-mandated program to effectively prohibit pollutants in stormwater discharges. If residents observe situations such as discolored water flowing from an outfall pipe or anything being dumped into a storm drain illegally, they should report this to the town immediately.

To view Thurmont’s MS4 permit or report any stormwater issues, go to www.Thurmont.com and click on “Town of Thurmont MS4 Information.” 

Small Businesses Can Apply for a Micro-Grant from Thurmont

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the creation of a micro-grant to support existing businesses within Thurmont town limits and with fewer than 15 employees. The grant is funded with $30,000. The town staff will award a one-time grant with no repayment due to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions placed on businesses and meet the criteria. Based upon the number of applications received, the $30,000 will be distributed evenly to all eligible businesses that meet the criteria, not to exceed $1,000. The town will mail applications to eligible businesses, but if you feel your business is eligible, contact the town office.

Parks and Recreation Commission Restarted

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners restarted the Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission and appointed the members of the commission. The new members are: Horace “Jim” Robbins, Chris Banks, Ross Lillard, Amie McDaniels, and Carl Weber. All the members were unanimously approved.

$4.3 Million Budget Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a $4,297,999 general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2021. The budget accounts for expected revenue losses, but it acknowledges that the commissioners may have to revisit the budget later in the year. Mayor John Kinnaird recommended that should this happen, the town should limit capital fund expenditures.

“When we see reductions in income streams and revenue sources that we address it at that time because unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball,” Kinnaird said.

The budget does allow for an excess of $267,135 of revenues over expenditures. This excess could help offset some revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19.

The commissioners also voted to maintain the property tax rate at 29.92 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is slightly above the constant yield rate for Fiscal Year 2021.

Town staff also consulted with the Maryland Municipal League and Frederick County Executive’s office to get an idea of how much revenue will be affected.

by James Rada, Jr.

OCTOBER 2019 Meeting

Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners Reorganized

With the election of new town commissioners, the Emmitsburg Town Commissioners assigned new duties to the members. Cliff Sweeney remains the president, with Tim O’Donnell acting as the vice president and treasurer. Joseph Ritz, III, will be the liaison to the Planning Commission. New commissioners Frank Davis and T.J. Burns will act as liaisons to the Parks and Recreation Committee and Citizens Advisory Committee, respectively.

Town Attorney Recognized

Long-time Emmitsburg Town Attorney John Clapp has retired. He served as the town attorney for 24 years. The Town of Emmitsburg recognized his decades of service with a proclamation honoring him.

Leslie Powell, Thurmont’s town attorney and Clapp’s recommendation, will replace Clapp as the Emmitsburg town attorney.

Planning Commissioner Appointed

Bernard Franklin was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Frank Davis on the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. Davis had to resign from the commission when he was elected as an Emmitsburg town commissioner. The term will expire in July 2022.

Cochran Etching Dedicated

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum dedicated the William Cochran glass etching, called “Volunteers,” on October 4. Its location is at the museum in front on the Community Center on South Seton Avenue.

The etching was moved from the Firehouse Financial Center in Frederick. The business was the former site of Independent Hose Co. No. 1 firehouse at 12 West Church Street. William Cochran developed the public art to replace the former engine house apparatus bay door. The new building owners decided the artwork did not fit into the future renovation plans for the building and donated the etching to the fire museum.

Mayor Don Briggs was delighted with the addition to the town. He has wanted a Cochran public-art piece for years, but the price was too expensive for the town.

Mayor Graduates from Municipal Official Program

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs graduated from the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy on September 29. More than 90 public officials from across the state received a certificate from the academy.

Briggs completed classes designed to meet the professional needs of a municipal official. These included classes to increase his “understanding of local government issues and ethical standards for public services, but also developed a foundation for informed policy making and effective governance,” according to a press release from the academy.

The Academy, which has offered classes since 1998, is a collaborative effort between the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, the Maryland Municipal League, the Maryland Association of Counties and the Local Government Insurance Trust.

by James Rada, Jr.

October 2019 Meeting

Thurmont Welcomes Two New Police Officers

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in two new Thurmont police officers in October.

Mike Mentzer had more than 20 years on the job with the police in Washington D.C. before he retired. He said he looked for something outside of law enforcement to do after he retired, but “There wasn’t anything I really wanted to do other than be a police officer and work in law enforcement.”

Brandon Boyle was formerly with Loudon County Fire and Rescue before taking a position with the Thurmont Police. He started his academy training in October.

Senior Center to Get Funding for a Part-Time Assistant Coordinator

Unlike the other senior centers in Frederick County, the Thurmont Senior Center receives very little of its funding, if any, from the county. The Town of Thurmont usually contributes $20,000 to the center’s funding; however, this year, it provided $23,000 so the center coordinator could get a raise.

The senior center board of directors is now asking for $10,140 more each year to fund an assistant coordinator position for 15 hours a week. The commissioners feel this burden should be shared by the county since roughly half of the attendees to the senior center live outside the borders of Thurmont.

Frederick County stopped funding the center several years ago, primarily over the issue of lunches. The Department of Aging required the center to serve food it provided through a grant. However, the food arrived cold and mushy to the center, according to Commissioner Wayne Hooper. The poor food quality was causing seniors to stay home and the senior center wanted to make its own arrangements for lunches. The county told the center it had to abide by county rules to receive funding. The board of directors chose to run the center itself.

The county has provided a small amount of funding in the past, but it cannot be depended upon.

The commissioners voted to fund the amount needed for the position, less any additional funding the county can be convinced to pay.

Thurmont Changes How Corner Lots are Defined

The Town of Thurmont changed how corner lots were defined in its planning code in 2017. However, the change caused unforeseen problems with many existing corner lots in the town, putting them out of compliance with planning and zoning regulations. The mayor and commissioners unanimously voted in October to change the code back to the way it had been where corner lots are concerned.

This should take care of the problems some property owners have been having.

by James Rada, Jr.

SEPTEMBER 2019 Meeting

Colorfest Services Contracts Awarded

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved contracts to provide additional services during the 2019 Colorfest. The total cost of the contracts is $3,075 over the cost of the 2018 Colorfest contracts.

Security services: May Security of Frederick will provide 29 guards, 1 supervisor, and 1 relief guard during Colorfest weekend for $4,694.

Bus services: Rill’s Bus Services of Westminster will provide 10 standard buses and 1 wheelchair-accessible bus on Saturday, and 8 standard buses and 1 wheelchair-accessible bus on Sunday for $17,440.

Portable bathrooms: Key Sanitation of Dickerson will provide 128 regular portable toilets, 17 handicapped-accessible portable toilets, and an on-site pumping truck for $16,850.

Trash services: Key Sanitation of Dickerson will provide a special trash pick-up after 6:30 p.m. each evening, 2 dumpsters, and a recycling truck on site for $2,750, plus tipping fees.

Thurmont Town Election on October 29

The election to fill two commissioner seats will be held on October 29 at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building on 123 East Main Street. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote. The last day to register to vote in the election is close of business Oct. 1. Absentee ballot applications will be available on Oct. 4.

Commissioners Hear Road Improvement Estimates

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners heard from Arro Engineering about the probable cost to improve Carroll Street and Woodside Avenue. Mayor John Kinnaird said the improvements were a “long time coming” for roads that are “in dire need of repairs.” Doug Smith, senior project manager for Arro Engineering, said that 20-30 percent of the roads would need to be fully rehabilitated. He provided two estimates to the commissioners. One was the cost of road improvements with storm drains included ($5.3 million) and one estimate was without storm drains ($3.149 million).

Bamboo Added As Invasive Species

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners amended the town code to include bamboo as an invasive plant species. This will give the town some control over having property owners eradicate the plant if it moves onto a property outside of the person who owns the bamboo.

Halloween in the Park will take place on October 26 at Thurmont Community Park at 6:00 p.m. Rain date: November 2.       Trick-or-Treating: 6:00-7:30 p.m.

by James Rada, Jr.

SEPTEMBER 2019 Meeting

Paving Contracts Awarded

The Emmitsburg Commissioners awarded nine contracts to three companies to pave roads in town. The contracts total $90,941, which has already been budgeted for by the commissioners.

The roads to be paved are: Chesapeake Avenue (East Main St. to Lincoln Avenue); Chesapeake Avenue (Potomac St. to Potomac Avenue); Wagerman Lane; Bunker Hill Drive; Creamery Way; St. Joseph Lane (Seton Place and N. Seton Avenue); W. Lincoln Avenue at Jamison Ave. intersection; W. Lincoln Avenue at Patterson Ave. intersection.

ECM Corporation, C. J. Miller LLC, and Frederick County Paving won the contracts. By awarding the contracts by street, the town got a lower total price for all of the streets than if the commissioners had awarded one company all of the street projects.

New Businesses Move Closer to Construction

The new Rutter’s store is expected to have its final site plan submitted to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission by early 2020. Also, the proposed Dunkin’ Donuts on the site of the Silo Hill car wash is expected to submit a site plan with traffic study to the planning commission.

Emmitsburg Passes Firewood Policy

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a policy allowing residents to collect firewood from town property. A free permit is required, and it allows town residents to collect firewood from June 1 to August 31. Only downed trees on town property within 100 feet of Hampton Valley Road can be cut for firewood. Also, motorized off-road equipment or vehicles cannot be used to remove the firewood.

Emmitsburg’s Annual Halloween Parade & Costume Contest is on October 31, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Parade starts at 7:00 p.m. (intersectioin of Federal & DePaul St.). Refreshments & contest winner announcements following parade at Vigilant Hose Co.       Trick-or-Treating: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

AUGUST 2019 Meeting

Town Starts Rain Barrel Program

The Town of Emmitsburg has started a rain barrel program to gain credit towards our stormwater management (MS4) program and to help the environment. The town will purchase the rain barrels from the non-profit Scott Key Center in Frederick. The barrels are manufactured by developmentally disabled adults, and they are made from recycled olive barrels. You can purchase a rain barrel from the town office and attend a workshop to learn to use it properly. The workshop will be help on October 1 at 6:00 p.m. Frederick City Sustainability Manager Jenny Willoughby will be the instructor. For more information, contact the Emmitsburg Town Office.

Emmitsburg Town Election on October 1

Emmitsburg citizens can vote for two open commissioner seats during the town election on October 1. Incumbents Glenn Blanchard and Elizabeth Buckman and Vigilant Hose Company President Frank Davis are running for the seats. Registered votes can cast their ballots at the town building at 22 East Main Street from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Town Selects Poet Laureate

The mayor and commissioners of Emmitsburg selected Francis Smith to serve as the Emmitsburg Poet Laureate. It is a two-year, honorary position. Smith will encourage reading, writing, and the sharing of poetry. Smith taught English and Latin in area high schools for 40 years before retiring. He is also a published poet who writes for The Catoctin Banner.

New Complaint Procedures for Off-Campus Mount Students

The Town of Emmitsburg, Mount St. Mary’s Univeristy, and Frederick County deputies encourage everyone to call the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office immediately if you are experiencing any issues related to noise complaints and/or destructive behavior, as soon as you experience it, with any Mount students. Don’t wait. It is harder to follow up about the problem when there is a significant time delay. Non-emergency number is 301-600-2071 or the emergency number is 911.

Pool House Rehabilitation Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners awarded a $66,329 contract to Omega Contracting and Consulting to renovate the pool house. The company specializes in this type of work and will warranty its work for a year. Program Open Space funds will pay 75 percent of the cost with the town matching the rest.

Sign Ordinance Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the town’s new sign ordinance on a 3-2 vote. Town staff has been working since February at refining and updating the sign ordinance to include new technologies being used to advertise businesses and events.

Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, said, “If a revised ordinance was really needed, why couldn’t it have been kept simple? Just list what’s allowed.” He also objected to what he called “excessive fines.”

Town Manager Cathy Willets took exception to Ritz’s negative characterization of the sign ordinance. She reminded him that not only was the new ordinance less stringent than the previous one, the EBPA supported the new ordinance. She also said that town staff had worked hard to not only gather community input but to address any concerns raised.

Commissioners Cliff Sweeney, Glenn Blanchard, and Tim O’Donnell voted for the ordinance and Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman and Ritz voted against.

Town Sells Trees

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted to sell a selected group of trees as part of the town’s forestry management plan recommended by the State of Maryland. Tipton’s will pay $46,000 for the trees and will be responsible for removing them with minimal damage to any of the town’s trails in the area. The vote for 4-1 with Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, voting against the proposal.

July 2019 Meeting

Emmitsburg National Night Out on Aug. 6

Emmitsburg is planning a large celebration of National Night Out on August 6. The events will take place in Community Park at 201 West Lincoln Avenue, from 6:00-8:30 p.m.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office is hosting its county-wide event in Emmitsburg. There is no admission. Enjoy hot dogs, ice cream, music, face painting, vendors, fire truck, SWAT teams, police K-9 demonstrations, McGruff the Crime Dog, and more.

National Night Out is a nationwide event, held annually on the first Tuesday in August, with the goal of making communities safer places to live by bringing police and the public together under positive circumstances. Emmitsburg has been hosting an annual National Night Out event since 2017.

All-Inclusive Playground Ready to be Installed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the final funding for the new all-inclusive playground to be installed at Community Park. The $302,350 playground will be paid for with funds from a Community Legacy Grant, Program Open Space money, Emmitsburg capital funds, and the Civitan Club. Playground Specialists of Thurmont will do the installation.

The new playground is based on the all-inclusive playground design in Thurmont and is ADA compliant.

Cross Connection Control Contractors Approved

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved its recommended contractors for installing state-mandated backflow preventers.

Kelco Plumbing & Backhoe Services of Sabillasville is Emmitsburg’s approved residential low-hazard, non-testable backflow preventer contractor. Tri-County Plumbing & Heating of Rocky Ridge is the town’s approved commercial/industrial high-hazard, testable backflow preventer contractor.

Although these contractors are town recommended, homeowners and business owners are not required to use them.

Town Purchases Mini-Dump Truck

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the purchase of a new mini-dump truck from MJR Equipment. The new truck will replace a 2002 mini-dump truck and will be used for plowing, salting, hauling dirt and stone, work in the parks, and water line repairs. The cost of $73,950 was budgeted in the FY2019 capital projects budget.

MJR Equipment was one of three bids. Although it wasn’t the lowest bid, staff recommended it because of other factors, one of which is that MJR will come to town to pick up equipment and make repairs and bring any necessary parts.

Farmer’s Market Postponed

The 16th Annual Emmitsburg Farmer’s Market has been postponed indefinitely because too few vendors planned on offering their goods. It may return later in the season if enough vendors decide that they want to participate.

July 2019 Meeting

Commissioner Deal With State-Mandated Energy Changes

The State of Maryland is requiring electric companies to double the amount of renewable energy they use from 25 percent to 50 percent. In particular, the amount of renewable energy from solar polar is increasing from 2.5 percent to 14.5 percent.

These changes could drastically increase the electric bills of customers on the Thurmont power system. Currently, Thurmont has the second-lowest electric rates in the state, but these increases could potentially increase the cost of energy for Thurmont by hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Under law, if a power system is not generating renewable energy, then the system must pay offset credit. These credits were costing $10 per megawatt hour. However, because the changes in state law instantly increases demand without creating additional sources of renewable energy credits, the cost of those credits has jumped to $60 per megawatt hour.

Commissioner Marty Burns was very upset with the changes, saying they weren’t sustainable and that they negatively impact residents.

The commissioners are pursuing a two-pronged approach right now to deal with the changes.

First, they want to lock in the current energy rates if possible. Energy costs have been dropping since the last time the town negotiated an energy contract. These savings could offset the increase energy credit costs for a couple of years.

Second, the town will work with the Town of Easton and other small energy companies to lobby elected officials to try and get some relief.

Town Uses Outside Electric Company to Supplement Town Staff

The Town of Thurmont has seen an increase in after-hours calls to deal with power outages, but it currently does not have enough trained staff to fully handle the calls. Because of this, the town has entered into a contract with Diamond Electric in Keedysville to supplement town staff when after-hours power problems happen. The goal is to get enough town staff trained to handle things, but this will take time. In the meantime, Diamond Electric will keep town staff from being over-worked.

Year-End Budget Adjustments Were Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the year-end budget amendment to balance out the fiscal year 2019 budget before it closed at the end of June. These included income increases due to interest on accounts and grants received. On the expenditure sides, various amounts were moved from one line item to another. The adjustments were small, with none of them causing concern among the commissioners.

by James Rada, Jr.

May 2019 Meeting

$1.9 Million Budget Approved

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved a $1,930,323 town budget for Fiscal Year 2020. This is a 5.4 percent increase over the current year’s budget.

In addition, the current town property tax rate of 36 cents per $100 of assessed value will remain the same. Because the tax rate remained constant, the town had more money to work with because property assessments increased.

The budget was helped by increased revenues from the Frederick County Tax Equity Program and Maryland Highway Users Revenue.

The budget also included a 2 percent COLA for town staff, along with any step increases.

Other funds in the budget that were also approved include a $248,171 in capital projects, $583,910 in the water fund, and $735,613 in the sewer fund.

The new budget goes into effect on July 1.

Relining Appears to be Working

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets informed the town commissioners that early signs show the town’s efforts to reline its sewer lines is paying off.

According to Willets, the town received two inches of rain on January 19. During the two days afterward, 4.5 million gallons of water were treated at the wastewater treatment plant. When a similar rainfall fell on April 19, only 2.5 million gallons were treated during the next two days.

“If we continue to make these improvements, I think we’ll see a lot of changes,” Willets said.

Two relining projects that will hopefully occur in the next year include relining the pipes from Irishtown Road to Creekside Drive and from the Post Office to Mother Seton School.

The relining seals cracks and holes in the pipes, keeping outside water from flowing into the sewer system where it can overtax the system and increase costs because it needs to be treated.

Boys & Girls Club Coming to Emmitsburg

Thanks to a $110,000 grant through Frederick County and $10,000 from the Town of Emmitsburg, the Boys & Girls Club will be coming to Emmitsburg. The club will run an afterschool program for 40 children next school year.

Community Deputy Contract Approved

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved the FY2020 with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office to continue having two community deputies working in Emmitsburg. The cost will be $288,824, which is a 2.89 percent increase. This is due to salary merit increases and changes in the benefits costs for the deputies.

Town Purchases All-Electric Vehicle

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners voted to purchase a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt from Wantz Chevrolet for $35,746. This new car will replace that current 2002 town car. Although the town now has charging stations for electric vehicles, town staff did not want an all-electric vehicle because it can be difficult to find charging stations.

The original motion to purchase a Chevrolet Volt failed 2-3. Commissioner Tim O’Donnell then made a motion to purchase the Bolt, which passed 4-1.

by James Rada, Jr.

May 2019 Meeting

FY2020 Budget Introduced

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners received the proposed budget for the town for fiscal year 2020 in May.

It is proposed to adopt the property tax constant yield rate of 29.92 cents per $100 of assessed value. The constant yield rate is the rate the town needs to adopt to generate the same amount of revenue as the previous year. As property assessments rise, the constant yield rate drops.

Under the proposed budget, the general fund revenues are expected to be $4,197,027, with $3,733,555 in expenditures and $449,594 in capital expenses.

The water fund is expected to have $980,825 in revenues, with $853,481 in expenditures and $51,000 in capital expenses.

The wastewater fund is expected to have $1,633,010 in revenues, with $1,479,853 in expenditures and $147,500 in capital expenses.

The electric fund is expected to have $6,704,881 in revenues, with $6,410,268 in expenditures and $249,000 in capital expenditures.

Copies of the budget can be viewed at the town office or online at the town’s website.

Road Paving and Patching Contract Awarded

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Tibbs Paving, Inc., of Manassas, Virginia, a $35,638 contract to do roadway patching and paving on Hammaker Street, West Moser Road, Locust Drive, Summit Avenue, Ironmaster Drive, Collier Drive, Carroll Street, Rouzer Lane, and Eyler Road. Tibbs was the low bidder among the five bids received. The money will be paid from the town’s highway user revenues paid by the State of Maryland.

Cindy Poole Recognized

Thurmont resident Cindy Poole was recognized for her efforts coordinating and organizing the Thurmont GreenFest.

“You are a spectacular volunteer,” Mayor John Kinnaird said. “You’re everywhere. You do a lot of stuff for our community, and we appreciate it.”

Don’t Feed the Wildlife

The Thurmont Code Enforcement Office has been receiving complaints of residents feeding wildlife. Please don’t feed wild animals, for their health and your safety. For more information why you shouldn’t, visit dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/plants_wildlife/Feeding-Wildlife.aspx.

Help with A Day in the Park

The Town of Thurmont is seeking volunteers to help with the town’s summer program for youth, A Day in the Park. The program will run Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to noon, on July 22-25, July 29-August 1, and August 5-8. You can volunteer one day or every day to guide children, divided into small groups, through organized activities.

For more information, contact Michele Maze at maze.michele07@gmail.com.