Currently viewing the tag: "town hall reports"

by James Rada, Jr.


Questions Remained about Pool Operation

With the COVID-19 restrictions limiting pools to no more than 50 percent capacity, the Emmitsburg Commissioners need to make decisions on how the pool will operate.

“We still want people to enjoy the pool and take full use of it if and when it opens,” Commissioner T.J. Burns said during the June meeting.

The contract with the pool management company needs to be reworked because the season continues to shrink, and the restrictions mean more cleaning supplies and staff will be needed. There is also the question of what to charge when it seems the pool will operate at a deficit this year.

The commissioners are considering two optioins: half-price days during the week for town residents, and a shift system that will have two different pool sessions each day.

Community Park to be Renamed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted in June to rename Community Park after Gene Myers. Just what the name will be, will be decided after consulting the Myers family.

Micro-grant Deadline Extended

The deadline to for Emmitsburg businesses with fewer than 15 employees to file for a micro-grant to support existing town businesses has been extended to July 9. 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. 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

Temporary Outdoor Seating Permits Available

Emmitsburg and Frederick County offer a temporary outdoor seating permit. This allows restaurants and other businesses to expand their seating areas outside of the building, including sidewalks, common areas, and parking for up to 12 months or until the State of Emergency is lifted. Please contact Town Planner Zach Gulden at for more information.


Community Show Canceled

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show has been canceled. However, a beef, sheep, and swine sale at Eyler Stables will be held on September 12.

Lions Club Donates to Town Projects

The Thurmont Lions Club recently donated $7,200 to the Town of Thurmont for the upkeep of the Thurmont Trolley Trail, and $9,200 for continued work on the building mural at the East Main Street end of the trolley trail.

Commissioners Approve Food Bank Renovations

With the help of a $20,000 Community Legacy Grant, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved $24,371 in renovations to the Thurmont Food Bank building. Blue Line Home Improvement of Emmitsburg will replace the sidewalk with one that is ADA compliant, reframe the front doorways, upgrade the bathrooms, add a new exterior light, add a pair of new interior doors, and replace the flooring. The amount of the project exceeding the grant will be paid for from the town’s capital reserve fund.

Community Shred Event Planned for September

The Town of Thurmont and Woodsboro Bank will offer a community shred event on Saturday, September 26. It will take place at the Thurmont Police Department, located at 800 East Main Street, from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Office paper, paper clips, staples, rubber bands, folders, hanging folders, and labels will be accepted. Non-acceptable items include: newspapers, magazines, binders, heavy plastics, cardboard, heavy metal, heavy carbon, trash, x-rays, floppy disks, CDs, and batteries.

This event will benefit the Thurmont Food Bank, so you are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for each box of material to shred you bring.

Remember to Pick Up Your Dog’s Waste

You must pick up your dog’s waste when walking your pet to prevent it from becoming a health hazard. Otherwise, you can be fined up to $100 for a repeated offense.


FEBRUARY 2020 Meeting

by James Rada, Jr.

Baseball will be Played in Town this Summer

The Thurmont Little League will play games in Emmitsburg on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Emmitsburg Commissioner Frank Davis has been working to ensure Emmitsburg baseball players will have opportunities to play locally. He said CYA has been trying to do more in Emmitsburg. “We’re starting to come together as one, which I always hoped we could,” Davis said during a town meeting.

Town May Annex Daughters of Charity Property

The Town of Emmitsburg may consider annexing the Daughters of Charity property to help the town comply with mandated MS4 regulations to aid Chesapeake Bay restoration. MS4 requires an area equal to 20 percent of the town’s impervious land to be used for runoff control measures by 2023.

Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners during a town meeting that one way the town can meet the regulations is to increase tree plantings, but they need more open space to have the room to do this. A combination of annexation and conservation easements of the Daughters of Charity can accomplish most of the need.

Another action that will help meet the MS4 mandate is Silo Hill Stormwater Management Basin retrofit. This could cost as much as $250,000, but it will fix the failing basin while also making it attractive for residents and useful in meeting MS4.

The town is also considering annexing the town-owned land where the wastewater treatment plant is located.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners recently received the results of the annual review done of its finances by an independent auditor. The town received a clean and unmodified audit, which means the town presented its financial information statements fairly.

Waysides Get Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved changes to one of four new historical waysides that will become part of the town’s historical walking tour. The commissioners had delayed their approval because of a couple factual changes that needed to be made to the wayside about the Chronicle Press building. The cost of the waysides is paid for with an FY2020 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant of $12,032. The other waysides will explain the history of the Great Fire of 1863, Vigilant Hose Company, and Carriage House Inn building.

Defensive Driving Course Added to Employee Handbook

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the addition of policies offering a defensive driving course, preventative maintenance for vehicles, and hand-held cell phones to the employee handbook. Much of what was added was already being done, but the formalization of the policies should allow the town to receive credits on its insurance costs, which could save the town a few thousand dollars.

The defensive driving course policy requires all employees who operate town-owned vehicles to take a four-hour-long online course when they are hired and every four years. The cell phone policy follows Maryland law regarding the use of cell phones while driving.


FEBRUARY 2020 Meeting

Town Considers Options for New Press Box

Members of Thurmont’s CYA organization presented revised plans for a new press box at Eyler Field. The new 30-foot by 80-foot building would serve as a storage facility and press box. The field and building are used for CYA soccer, cheerleading, lacrosse, and football teams that serve hundreds of local children. Estimates of the proposed building will cost around $200,000, and CYA only has $10,000 set aside for building. The CYA organization is hoping to get help from the town, and the Thurmont Town Commissioners are considering how they might be able to help.

Special Activities Committee Donates to the Thurmont Food Bank

The Thurmont Special Events Committee presented Rev. Sally Joyner Giffin with a check for $2,585.04. This is the amount collected during the town’s Halloween in the Park event for the food bank.

Help Needed

The Town of Thurmont is forming a new Internet Commission. If you are interested in volunteering to serve on this commission, please contact Elliot Jones at 240-831-7749.

The town is also seeking volunteers to serve on the Special Events Committee, Board of Appeals, and Police Commission. If interested, please contact the town office.

Yard Waste Drop-Off Permit Needed

Anyone using the Moser Road yard waste drop-off site must have a Yard Waste Permit issued by the town. Permits were mailed out with the last town electric/water/sewer bill. If you do not have the permit when you go to the site, you will be asked to show your driver’s license to verify town residency.

New Sewer Lateral Inspection Policy Being Enacted

The Town of Thurmont is implementing a new sewer lateral inspection policy. The policy allows town staff or its contractors to inspect lateral sewer lines on private property. It also requires property owners to make required repairs within a set amount of time. The policy protects the integrity of the town sewage system, as well as helping the property owner avoid paying for sewage leakage.

by James Rada, Jr.


JANUARY 2020 Meeting

Pedestrian Bridge Over Flat Run Closed

The pedestrian bridge along MD 140 over Flat Run is now closed. The contractor will remove it soon. This means that pedestrian traffic on eastbound MD 140 will be closed until the spring. All pedestrian traffic has been moved to the sidewalk along westbound MD 140.

Town Seeking Small Business Tax Credit

The Town of Emmitsburg is seeking state authorization to implement a small business tax credit. The proposed credit lasts six years and is based on the increase in real property tax assessments due to a business’ expansion. To be eligible, the business would need to add at least 2,500 square feet of space and employ at least five full-time employees for two years after the expansion.

Ballfield Fees Approved

The commissioners approved a set of ballfield usage fees for 2020. For next year, there is no charge for ballfield usage. The mayor and commissioners can extend this fee schedule at the end of that time. If they choose not to, the new fees will be as follows.

For single-day use, non-profits will pay $10 an hour, which is fully refundable if the area is left in good condition. Residents will pay $10 an hour, which is 50 percent refundable if the area is left in good condition. Non-residents will pay $20 an hour.

Resident leagues will pay $50 per team, per field, per season. Non-resident leagues will pay $100 per team, per field, per season.

Youth tournaments will pay $50 per day, and adult tournaments will pay $75 per day.

Historic Wayside Approval Delayed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners postponed approval of the new set of historic waysides in town to make edits to one of them.

Emmitsburg received a FY2020 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant of $12,032 to create four new waysides that will be erected at historic spots in town. The waysides are about the Great Emmitsburg Fire, Vigilant Hose Company, Chronicle Press building, and the Carriage House Inn building.

At the January meeting, Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, raised a factual issue with the Chronicle Press building wayside and also with what information was presented on the waysides.

Commissioners Give Approval

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved amendments recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission to the town forest conservation ordinance and other areas of the code affected by it.

Logging stand 6 also received approval from the commissioners. This 45-acre group of white oak, red oak, and tulip poplar trees are expected to earn the town $45,000 to $50,000 when harvested. The request for bids will go out in May, and harvesting should begin in July.

The commissioners also approved the creation of a sewer and water connection fee payment plan.

Finally, they approved a $1,000 fine against anyone who connects to a town fire hydrant for a non-emergency purpose.


JANUARY 2020 Meeting

Town Plans to Purchase Radio Lane Property

The Town of Thurmont will purchase an 11.87-acre property at 99 Radio Lane for $285,000. The property, which contains a house that the town will rent, was listed as $300,000 initially. The main reason for the purchase is that when the electric substation is decommissioned, a location for a new larger station will be needed. The property could also be used for a stormwater management facility to alleviate some of the flooding in the area. If the Thurmont Trolley Trail is extended to the north, it could come through this property without needing to negotiate a right of way.

Commissioner Liaison Appointments Made

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird recommended new commissioner liaison appointments for 2020, which the commissioners approved. They will be as follow:

•    Commissioner Wayne Hooper—Thurmont Senior Center, Planning and Zoning Commission back-up.

•    Commissioner Bill Buehrer—Police Commission, Parks and Recreation Committee

•    Commissioner Marty Burns—Planning and Zoning Commission

•    Commissioner Wes Hamrick—Thurmont Addictions Committee, Economic Development Commission

•    Mayor John Kinnaird—Board of Appeals

New Police Officer on the Job

Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler introduced Officer Nathan McLeroy to the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners during a recent town meeting. McLeroy is the newest Thurmont Police Officer. He worked formerly with the Frederick County Highway Department. He is a native of Rocky Ridge, but he currently lives in Pennsylvania. He is currently in the Sykesville Police Academy, as he prepares to work in Thurmont.

“I like to do a lot of community policing,” McLeroy said. “I served three years in the army as a police officer, and police work seems to be my niche.”

Thurmont May Get State Solar-Energy Exemption

The Frederick County legislative delegation plans to introduce a bill to exempt Thurmont from Maryland’s solar energy mandate. The mandate requires the state to provide 14.5 percent of its energy from solar energy by 2030. The mandate is part of the Clean Energy Jobs Act. It capped the percentage from electrical cooperatives at 2.5 percent. This did not apply to municipalities like Thurmont, which operate their own power companies. Without the cap, costs could increase $250,000 for Thurmont residents. This is because Thurmont would have to purchase solar energy credits to reach 14.5 percent.

by James Rada, Jr.


DECEMBER 2019 Meeting

Town Wants to Connect Rutter’s to Emmitsburg

The Town of Emmitsburg wants to ensure that the new Rutter’s store, being built on the east side of Rt. 15, is connected to the town via sidewalks. The sidewalks would allow truck drivers, parking overnight at the site, to be able to walk into town to shop and eat without having to walk on the roads. The town is pursuing a variety of ways to get this accomplished by negotiating with the property owners, talking to state representatives, and withholding planning commission approval.

New Wayside Exhibits Announced

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners recently viewed draft versions of the proposed 2020 wayside exhibits that will become part of the historical walking tour the town is developing. Ion Design and Grove Public Relations are developing the waysides using a FY2020 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant awarded to the town. The four waysides, portraying the Great Fire of 1863 (North East Quadrant of Town Square), Vigilant Hose Company, Chronicle Press building, and Carriage House Inn building, will cost $12,032.

Town Committee Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners made the following appointments to town committees: Glenn Blanchard to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021); Sandy Umbel to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021);     Steve Starliper to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021); Amanda Ryder to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021); Shannon Cool to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending September 21, 2021); Dianne Walbrecker to Board of Appeals (term ending December 15, 2022).

Forest Conservation Plan Updated

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to forward changes to their forest conservation plan to the planning commission for review and recommendations. The plan needs to be reviewed whenever the State of Maryland updates its forestry laws to make sure the town plan remains in compliance.

In a related move, the commissioners also forwarded recommended changes to the town’s buffer zone to the planning commission for review and recommendations.

Town Sells House

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a contract to sell the house at 140 South Seton Avenue for $165,000. The house is on a larger piece of property, and the town is only selling 9,906 square feet that include the house. Besides putting the house back on the tax rolls and relieving the town of landlord duties, the income from the sale will go towards paying off the amount the town owes for the entire property.


DECEMBER 2019 Meeting

State Plans to Demolish Frank Bentz Pond Dam

The Maryland Department of the Environment Dam Safety Division has deemed the Frank Bentz Pond dam unsafe. Perry Otwell, director of engineering and construction at the Department of Natural Resources, told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners that the state is planning to demolish the dam, probably in 2022. The dam is over 100 years old and was initially used to provide hydroelectric power to the town. Although it hasn’t been used that way for many decades, the pond created by the dam is a popular fishing spot.

The state also plans to build a small park on the land if the Town of Thurmont agrees to maintain the park.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

Independent auditor Zelenkofske Axelrod, LLC, conducted the annual audit of Thurmont financial statements for Fiscal Year 2019 and gave the town an unmodified—or clean—opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit or have any disagreements with the management.

New Board of Appeals Members Sworn In

Ken Oland was sworn in as a member of the Thurmont Board of Appeals, and Elliot Jones was sworn in as an alternate member of the Board of Appeals.

Town Planning Colorfest Workshop

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are planning a workshop to figure out how to deal with the decreasing revenues from Colorfest. Although this year’s Colorfest was successful, the town provided its services at a small loss of $530. The commissioners were not so much concerned about the $530 as they were about the decreasing number of vendors, particularly the commercial food vendors that pay the highest permit fees. The commissioners also acknowledged that the $530 loss did not take into account donations to the town from Colorfest, Inc. or the town’s donation of some parking space to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund. These more than makeup for the deficit.

by James Rada, Jr.


Free Parking for the Holidays

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved not charging for metered parking in town from December 13, 2019, to January 2, 2020. Because some people still put money in the meters during this time, any money collected will be donated to the Emmitsburg Food Bank (50 percent), Lions Club Community Day fireworks (25 percent), and the Friends of the Emmitsburg Library youth programs (25 percent).

Dunkin’ Donuts Moving Forward

A plan for a Dunkin’ Donuts on the site of the Silo Hill Car Wash has been conditionally approved by the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. The commission put 26 conditions on their plan approval.

According to Town Planner Zach Gulden, most of the conditions aren’t major and are generally small items that are in the town code but were missed when the plan was put together.

More Sewer Relining Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved having Mr. Rehab, Inc., of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, to reline sections of the town’s sewer system to decrease incidents of inflow and infiltration. Mr. Rehab was the lowest price among three bidders, and the company relined the sewer lines on East Main Street earlier this year. Mr. Rehab is charging $35.35 per linear foot for 8-inch pipe and $37.80 per linear foot for 10-inch pipe, and the approval locks in this price for three years.

For 2020, the relining projects are West North Ave. through Creekside Dr. to the creek, and from behind the post office to behind the school at manhole 33. This portion of the project is expected to cost around $107,419, which will be paid from the town’s sewer fund.

Town Approves Social Media Management Policy

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a policy guiding how the town’s social media accounts are managed. The town website remains Emmitsburg’s primary means of digital communication, but the town also has Facebook and Twitter accounts.

A policy was needed because public officials and government bodies have been running into problems recently over what can be posted on their sites, who can be blocked, and what is considered a public document. The policy also includes an attachment that outlines what visitors to the town’s social media accounts can say in a posted comment.

Long Appointed to Sustainable Communities Board

The Emmitsburg Commissioners unanimously appointed Mark Long to the Sustainable Communities Board. He is also a current member of the Emmitsburg Planning Commission.


Don Ely is Volunteer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club announced its Thurmont Volunteer of the Year during a recent meeting of the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners. The club received five nominees who were selflessly serving the Thurmont community. They are: Renae Coolidge, Paul Echard, Don Ely, Kyra Fry, and Rachel Mosiychuk.

“It is people like our five nominees who keep our community strong,” said Julie El-Tahir with the Lions Club.

Ely was selected as the 2019 Volunteer of the Year for his work helping the Thurmont Food Bank. He received a Shamrock Restaurant gift certificate, his name on a plaque listing volunteers of the year, and designating where a $400 donation from the Lions Club will go. Eli chose to have the Thurmont Food Bank get the donation.

The Lions Club has been recognizing Thurmont’s Volunteer of the Year since 2006.

Commissioners Sworn In

Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Commissioners Wes Hamrick and Bill Buehrer to serve new terms on the Thurmont Board of Commissioners. Hamrick and Buehrer were re-elected on October 29. Thurmont’s voter turnout for its municipal election was 11 percent, with 531 people casting 1,022 ballots. These numbers include 14 absentee votes.

Hamrick thanked the other candidates who ran for election and added, “It’s a very humbling privilege to be up here.”

Buehrer echoed those comments and said, “I am disappointed that only 11 percent of the people that are registered to vote in this community thought it as worthwhile to come out that day.”

Town to Acquire Moser Road Property

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to purchase a 10-acre parcel next to the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The town will use Program Open Space fund for the $150,000 purchase. This property will allow the Thurmont Trolley Trail to be extended outside of the town to the south. The commissioners’ hope is that the trail can become a much larger trail, extending to Frederick.

Electric Department Purchasing a Wire Trailer

The Thurmont Electric Department will purchase a specialized trailer that allows town staff to make temporary aboveground connections during an electrical service outage. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners that using the trailer allows the town to get customers’ service back quicker, while also allowing town staff to work on the problem in safer conditions.

The town received two bids for the trailer. It awarded the bid for the trailer to Comstar Supply in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, for $13,147. The cost of the wire for the trailer is $2,000. The town has allocated $23,000 for the trailer and wire, so the equipment is costing $7,853 under budget.

Town Sponsors Model Train Display

Thurmont is sponsoring a free model train display at 12 East Main Street in Thurmont every weekend through December 22. The display is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers and the Town of Thurmont are sponsoring the display.

by James Rada, Jr.


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

June 2019 Meeting

New Sign Ordinance Moves Forward

The Emmitsburg Commissioners sent the new proposed sign ordinance, with changes incorporated to the town’s planning commission, in early June. The commission then undertakes a 30-day review of the plan.

The commissioners’ action followed four community outreach meetings to get feedback on the proposed ordinance. One of the most significant changes to come out of those meetings was to allow neon signs in downtown businesses. Each business is allowed one sign, up to 2-square feet in size, that has a steady light source.

The planning commission will review the ordinance and recommend it for approval, approval with changes, or denial.

The Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association has also seen the proposed ordinance and supports the version sent to the planning commission.

Town Applies for $75,000 in Community Facade Grants

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved a resolution to apply for a $75,000 facade grant from the Community Legacy Program.

The town has applied for this grant every year since 2013. Over that time, $820,491 have been invested in the town’s facade from the state grants, resident matching payments, and in-kind donations from the town.

Two Appointed to Parks and Recreation Committee

The Emmitsburg Commissioners appointed Carolyn and Martin Miller to serve on the town parks and recreation committee. Their terms run from March 15, 2019, to March 15, 2021.


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

June 2019 Meeting

Town Purchases Property for Public Works Department

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners agreed to purchase the property at 115 Water Street for $152,000. The .21-acre property is adjacent to the Thurmont Public Works Department, and it will allow the department to expand in the future. Until that time, the town will rent the home that is on the property.

Town Expects Full POS Funding

The Town of Thurmont expects to receive its full funding request from Program Open Space. There was enough funding this year to fund all of the requests from Frederick County’s municipalities: $60,000 for the Thurmont Trolley Trail extension; $30,000 for the Community Park playground update; $22,500 for a half-court basketball court at the ice plant.

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.

Thurmont Receives National Main Street Accreditation

For the fourteenth straight year, the Town of Thurmont has received National Main Street and Maryland Main Street accreditation. This recognizes outstanding commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization.

“We are proud to acknowledge this year’s 840 nationally accredited Main Street America programs that have worked tirelessly to strengthen their communities,” Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, said in the release. “Main Street America Accredited communities are part of a powerful movement of changemakers, and their dedication to improving quality of life in these places is inspiring.”

The National Main Street Program is a subsidiary under the National Trust for Preservation, with 45 states participating in the Main Street Program. The State of Maryland has 27 National Main Street Accredited Main Streets. The Main Street Maryland program strives to strengthen the economic potential of Maryland’s traditional main streets and neighborhoods. The program provides designated communities with support for economic planning, marketing, promotion, and education administered by the Department of Community Housing and Development.

Thurmont Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder manages the Main Street program in town. She said, “I am very proud that we have been accredited for 14 straight years. This says a lot about our municipality, our residents, and our community leaders.”

Town Can’t Help Parkview Townhomes

Representatives from the Parkview Townhome Community on Moser Circle asked the Town of Thurmont to take over maintenance services the homeowner’s association provide in the hope of disbanding the HOA. The HOA has had to deal with bad contracts they are locked into and home foreclosures that have reduced the HOA’s income.

“We would like to get away from the association altogether,” said HOA officer Joe Kelley.

The commissioners said they sympathize with the residents of the community, but it was doubtful the town could take over the HOA duties. Mayor John Kinnaird pointed out that the road is probably not up to town standards.

“We would be taking on a large headache and a liability,” he said.

The commissioners said that they were willing to help where they could, but taking over for the HOA was not an option.

by James Rada, Jr.


April 2019 Meeting

Town Approved Mandated Cross-Connection Control Program

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the state-mandated cross-connection control program that will help protect the water supply from pollutants. The program requires all properties to have a backflow prevention device installed on the waterline leading into the property. Each device will cost an estimated $150.

Residential properties will need to be re-evaluated every 10 years. The inspection permit will cost about $100. Businesses will need to be inspected every two years, the permit will cost $25 for a new installation and $15 for each renewal.

The commissioners voted to require all properties to have the backflow prevention device installed within five years, but if a property is sold, it will first need to have a device installed.

Some commissioners worried that the costs would harm low-income residents and wondered if something could be done to mitigate the costs for them. However, some of their proposed solutions could prove to be costly as well. It may be something they will consider in the future.

The commissioners also approved three contracts for other state-mandated programs. These were a baseline impervious surface assessment, a standard-operating procedures manual for those doing stormwater management work, and annual inspections for three years.  The Maryland Department of the Environment is requiring these actions for stormwater management improvement. The total cost of the three contracts is $22,900.

Firewood for Low-income Families

The Emmitsburg Commissioners are pursuing a program to help some low-income families in town heat their homes during the winter. The program, if approved, would allow low-income families in Emmitsburg, who use firewood, to harvest downed trees on town-owned property in certain areas.

“This would be of real value and serve our community,” said Commissioner Tim O’Donnell.

Town staff is working to formulate a policy and permitting process by consulting the town attorney, Maryland Forest Service, and other municipalities with similar programs.

New Dump Truck Purchase

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the purchase of a new dump truck to replace the 23-year-old dump truck the town currently uses, which will no longer pass inspection and is not safe to haul material in. They approved a bid of $154,460 from MJR Equipment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

New Wastewater Treatment Plant Building Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the construction of a storage garage at the wastewater treatment plant. It will be used to keep equipment from having to sit outside, where it is exposed to the elements. It should also lower the maintenance costs for those pieces of equipment. The commissioners approved a $35,870 bid from Hanover Building Systems. Although the bid was the higher of the two bids received, the roof can hold a heavier load, it is made from better material, and it comes with a 35-year fade warranty.


April 2019 Meeting

Commissioners Reviewing Changes to Town Subdivision Regulations

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are reviewing proposed revisions to the town’s subdivision regulations. Town Planner Chris Jakubiak said the current regulations, many of which date back to the 1970s, are a “bit outdated,” with some gray areas that needed to be defined.

“In my opinion, the code lacks real guidance to good neighborhood design,” Jakubiak said.

Commissioners Approve New Vehicle Purchases

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently approved the purchase of a new service bucket truck and transferred $14,466 to the capital reserve fund to have the full purchase amount. The commissioners have been setting aside money for years in the capital reserve fund to be able to purchase the vehicle. The new vehicle will replace a 2002 Chevrolet bucket truck.

The commissioners also approved the purchase of a new police vehicle for the Thurmont Police Department. The new vehicle is needed to replace one totaled in an accident in January. The 2020 Ford Explorer costs $34,034, but the commissioners only needed to set aside $20,984 for the vehicle because the insurance settlement for the wrecked vehicle was $13,050. The electronics from the totaled vehicle can also be reinstalled in the new vehicle.

Trash Collection Contract Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a new trash collection contract with a new hauler recently. The contract is for two years, with a third-year extension option. The new hauler will be Ecology Services Refuse and Recycling in Columbia. Their bid of $134,580 for the first year and $137,945 for the second year was a significantly lower amount than the other bid. The same company currently handles the town’s recycling collection. The switch to a new hauler for trash will not affect the current trash collection days in town.

Commissioners Correct Planning and Zoning Mistake

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners corrected a mistake made when the town’s master plan was updated in 2010. At that time, the Planning and Zoning Commission and Mayor and Commissioners approved a rezoning of the 3.2-acre Hauver property on Eyler Road, from R-1 zoning to R-2 zoning. However, the change never made it onto the zoning maps, which was discovered years later. The change allows 8,000-square-foot lots versus 12,000-square-foot lots. In the case of the Hauver property, it might allow for another lot or two with little additional impervious surface. This would depend on how a subdivision plan is drawn.

The commissioners also reappointed Planning and Zoning Commission members Randy Cubbedge and Bryant Despeaux to the commission for new terms.

Richard Lee was also reappointed to the Thurmont Board of Appeals for a new term.

by James Rada, Jr.


March 2019 Meeting

Review of Sign Ordinance Changes Continues

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners continued its review of the proposed changes to the town’s sign ordinance. During the March town meeting, the commissioners heard about the proposed changes to what types of signs could be located in which areas of town. They also paid particular attention to lighted signage.

They reviewed off-premise signage, which Town Planner Zach Gulden told them is a “totally new and business friendly section” to the sign ordinance.

Gulden told the commissioners that the new ordinance brings the town up-to-date with new signage technology, into compliance with legal rulings that could lead to future court challenges, and adheres to the best practices recommended by the Maryland Municipal League and American Planners Association.

However, he reassured business owners, “We will not take any signs away if this is passed, unless it was currently not permitted and not legal.”

Town staff also said they planned on taking pictures of all of the signage in town that is non-conforming to the whatever sign ordinance is eventually passed. This will create a visual list to show what signs are grandfathered in under the new ordinance and avoid any new town staff in the future to cause a business owner problems because they have signage not allowed under the sign ordinance.

Commissioners Support Nature Trail Garden

The Emmitsburg Commissioners supported a project proposed by Sandra Adams and Wayne Slaughter to create a half-mile-long walking path surrounding the Community Park baseball field into a nature trail garden.

The project will use volunteers to remove debris and prepare the garden beds. The maintenance costs are expected to be minimal, and they hope to raise the amount through donations.

The commissioners voiced their support of the project, and Adams and Slaughter will start to move forward with it.

Emmitsburg Food Bank Looking to Move

The roof of the Emmitsburg Food Bank building is in need of $40,000 of repairs to stop leaks and mold mitigation.

“I don’t know whether it’s even worth it,” Food Bank Director Phyllis Kelly told the Emmitsburg Commissioners.

Kelly asked the town commissioners if they could help the food bank find a new location. The commissioners directed her to contact the town planner, who could help the food bank with its search.

Commissioners Put Off Passing a Cross Connection Control Program

Emmitsburg must pass a cross connection control program or face fines from the State of Maryland. However, they put off the decision for a month to better understand the ordinance that the state is requiring them to pass. The program is designed to protect the potable water supply from contamination by connecting backflow preventers to water lines. Once passed, businesses will have time to make the changes while residents will only need to make the addition to their home water lines when major changes are made to the home or it is sold.


March 2019 Meeting

Proposal to Extend the Trolley Trail

The .7-mile-long Thurmont Trolley Trail may not be long, but it is well used by residents. The H&F Trolley Association would like to see the trail grow and attract even more users.

Members of the association presented their plan to Thurmont Town Commissioners. The plan calls for extending the trail north to Eyler Road Park and south past the water treatment plant. The hope would be that it might eventually connect up with other hiking and biking trails.

The projected cost to extend the trail to be two miles long would be $190,102.

Donovan Named Thurmont Police Officer of the Year

Thurmont Police Officer First Class Brian Donovan was named the Thurmont Lions Club Police Officer of the Year. Donovan has served in the department for three years and performed many traffic stops. He has also administered Narcan three times to overdose victims, most likely saving their lives. He also serves as the lieutenant of the Guardian Hose Company.

Donovan received a gift certificate to the Shamrock Restaurant and will have a $400 donation made to the charity of his choice.

Commissioners Begin Compiling POS Wish List

The Thurmont Commissioners have begun compiling their wish list of projects that could be funded through Program Open Space grants. The division of funds will emphasize property acquisition. Among some of the suggested projects are to increase the size of Community Park and to create a pocket park in Catoctin Heights. The commissioners also expressed no interest in pursuing a skateboard park, which was on the town’s POS wish list last year, but dropped.

Subdivision Regulations to be Reviewed

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will be reviewing proposed regulations to the Thurmont subdivision regulations at the regular town meeting on April 9. A public hearing will be scheduled for a later date.

by James Rada, Jr.


February 2019 Meeting

Commissioners Begin Sign Ordinance Review

The Emmitsburg Commissioners began a review of the town’s new sign ordinance. The ordinance is undergoing major rework and the review will take place over three meetings.

Free Parking Donations

The Town of Emmitsburg announced that the parking meter revenue collected during the holiday season amounted to a $300 donation to the Community Day fireworks show and the Emmitsburg Food Bank.

Work Contracts Awarded

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted to award Zest, LLC, of Clarksville a $15,912 contract to perform a hydrologic analysis of the Rainbow Lake dam to determine if work needs to be done on it. The Maryland Department of the Environment is requiring this analysis.

The commissioners also awarded RK&K a $203,380 contract to design the new pumping station. Town Manager Cathy Willets said that the town worked with the company previously on the wastewater treatment plant. They brought that project in under budget and with limited change orders. In addition, RK&K is guaranteeing not to exceed their quoted cost for the pumping station.

Finally, the commissioners chose to award RSV Pools a three-year contract for the pool management. Despite some reservations with RSV Pools, there was only one other bidder and RSV Pools had the lowest bid.

Commissioners Allocate Excess Funds

At the close of the FY2018 budget, the Town of Emmitsburg had a $152,758 surplus. The commissioners voted to allocate these funds to a number of capital projects: 300A South Seton signage, a mandated stormwater management project, a storm drain excavation, park equipment upgrades, sending old documents to Sure Scan, a disc golf course in Community Park, a Rainbow Lake engineering study, parking meter equipment, sled dogs, salt spreaders, and a utility ATV. In some cases, the amount set aside won’t fully fund the project, but either pays the matching part of a grant or starts saving for the project.

Town Trail Work Days

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell selected three days for work on the town trails with volunteers from the town. The days are April 7, May 5, and June 22. The goal is to get the trails in shape for Community Day and for the summer.


February 2019 Meeting

Local Businesses Awarded for Making Thurmont Proud

Economic Development Director Vickie Grinder recognized local businesses who won Frederick’s Best of the Best Contest in the Frederick News Post.

Town Approves Directional Signs

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Shannon Baum of Eldersburg a $24,600 contract to produce twelve wayfinding signs, which she also designed. The signs, which will be paid for with grants from the Maryland Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area and Frederick County Tourism, are similar to the new “Welcome to Thurmont” signs. Town staff should have the new sign installed by May.

The town will also seek funding for two additional “Welcome to Thurmont” signs.

Nature Trail Planned for Library

A new nature trail will be constructed on the property of the Thurmont Regional Library through the efforts of the Catoctin Forest Alliance, Town of Thurmont, Thurmont Regional Library, Thurmont Green Team, Frederick County Public Schools SUCCESS Program, and volunteers. The ADA-compliant trail will include butterfly habitat, bird houses, and bat boxes. Cameras will also stream video to a screen in the children’s area of the library.

Although the surface is currently planned to be crushed stone, the commissioners are planning to request that the surface be made blacktop and included in Frederick County’s Capital Improvement Plan.

This new trail can also be connected to the Thurmont Trolley Trail and the Thurmont Gateway Trail. If this happens, people will be able to walk from the library to the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center.

by James Rada, Jr.


January 2019 Meeting

Emmitsburg Approves Forestry Management Plan

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved a forestry management plan that calls for harvesting select trees and selling them. The first lot of trees will be removed from a 60-acre town-owned parcel and is expected to bring in around $60,000 when sold. “Basically, they are cutting down dead and dying trees,” Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners.

Future lots of trees will also be harvested with a total income to the town expected to be around $223,000. Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that the money is not earmarked for anything, but she expects the Rainbow Lake Dam to need work to bring it up to MDE standards. She would like to see the money go towards that expense.

Mount Still Planning on Building a Health Care Clinic in the Area

Mount St. Mary’s University and the Frederick Regional Health Care System have been gathering input from the community about a possible new health and wellness center for the area. The health system has already entered into an agreement with the Mount to coordinate student health care on campus.

However, because of the need for a health care center in Emmitsburg, the Mount and health system are planning to expand their role into the community. A 10,000-square-foot facility is expected to be built on the edge of the campus, where it can service both students and the community. The planned-for clinic would have primary and urgent care services, a laboratory, radiology, and physical therapy. Services will be provided that meet the guidelines of the Catholic Church.

Although a final location hasn’t been chosen yet, it will be a site that is primarily convenient for students and safe for them to reach. The center could open as early as mid-2020.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Installed Behind Town Offices

Emmitsburg’s four electric vehicle charging stations on the parking lot behind the Community Center have been installed, although they haven’t been connected with electrical service yet. The stations are funded through a grant from the Electric Vehicle Institute. The town was required to sign a five-year agreement with the Electric Vehicle Institute. The stations will not cost the town anything. Electric consumption used by the charging station will be paid for by the driver charging the vehicle.

The commissioners also had to approve an addendum to their lease with Frederick County, which is the owner of the Community Center. The addendum change allows the charging stations to be installed. The four charging stations will be marked, and the parking spaces in front of them will only be for the use of cars being charged. Vehicles will be allowed to park in the spots for up to six hours, and overnight parking is not allowed.

Commissioners Approve New Town Waysides

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved three waysides that will be erected in town to highlight the town’s history. 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 three waysides will be at the Emmit House, doughboy statue, and town square. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town. They are expected to be erected in the spring.

Town Square Lights Using New Signal Sequence

As part of the town square renovation, the traffic signals and crosswalks are using a new sequence. North Seton Avenue will now proceed first after Main Street. South Seton will move second. This allows the crosswalk signal on the west side of the square to come up as soon as the Main Street light turns red.  The crosswalk on the east side of the square will then come up with South Seton Avenue’s turn signal.


January 2019 Meeting

Town May Use Speed Cameras Near Schools

Following a recommendation from Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are considering using speed cameras near the town schools. The equipment will be provided and maintained by Insta Traffic and won’t cost the town anything.

Cars speeding in school zones will be photographed, the photos reviewed by police, and a $40.00 citation sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

“I strongly believe the cameras will make motorists be more cautious and think twice before speeding through a school zone,” Eyler said.

He said that the deterrent was needed because of close calls that both students and crossing guards have had crossing the busy streets.

Commissioner Marty Burns opposed the decision, feeling that it was more of a way to generate revenue than to keep children from being hit by vehicles. The other commissioners seemed to feel that if the cameras cause vehicles to slow down that will increase the safety of both students and crossing guards.

The commissioners will review the proposed contract and vote on it at a future time.

New Community Park Pavilion Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from Playground Specialists of $79,975 to build a 30 x 60-foot steel pavilion on a concrete slab in Community Park. The project will be funded with a $90,810 Program Open Space grant that will pay for 75 percent of the cost.

The pavilion will be constructed west of the basketball courts in an open area that will require no trees to be removed and no grading.

Because the POS grant covers more than needed for construction costs, the difference will be used to purchase picnic tables for the new pavilion. The grant will also pay for 75 percent of the cost of the picnic tables.

Commissioner Bill Buehrer said that the new pavilion will help reduce the backlog of pavilion rental requests that the town receives each year.

Trolley Trail Lighting Bid Approved

Thurmont received a $17,640 Program Open Space grant to purchase nine lights for the Thurmont Trolley Trail, from Park Lane to Water Street. Town staff will install the lights 120 feet apart along the trail. The town received three bids for the seven lights. The low bid was $13,230 from Catoctin Lighting in Thurmont.

Because the grant amount exceeded the amount of the bid, the town will purchase an additional three lights to use for the next phase of lights along the trail from Water Street to Moser Road. This means that the town will only need to purchase seven lights for that stretch of the trail rather than ten.

Board of Appeals Alternate Appointed

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners recently appointed Vince Testa as an alternate member of the Thurmont Board of Appeals.

December 2018

by James Rada, Jr.


Mount Still Planning on Building a Health Care Clinic in the Area

Simon Blackwell, with Mount St. Mary’s University, spoke to the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners during their monthly meeting in December. He said that the university is in negotiations with the Frederick Regional Health System to bring a health and wellness clinic into the area. It is needed to help “improve the quality and access to healthcare” for Mount students, according to Blackwell, but it would also be available to area residents. The planned-for clinic would have primary and urgent care services, a laboratory, radiology, and physical therapy. As part of the process, university staff have been meeting with the members of the community to get their input.

Town Approved Water Contracts

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved water agreements for two property owners outside of town. Years ago, Emmitsburg bought a small water company that serviced property owners outside of town. Over the years, most of those properties have been easily serviced on the town system. However, an 8-inch water line that serviced only three properties was discovered to be unrepairable. One of the properties was close enough to a 10-inch water line that the town owned that it could be connected to it.

The town then faced a decision: Either spend an estimated $1 million to build a new water line to service the two properties or find a way to terminate service to properties.

The town chose the latter and offered the property owners to either drill a new well on the property or pay the property owners the equivalent amount ($11,655).

One property owner took the buyout, and the other will have the town pay to have a new well dug on his property.

Traffic Should Switch on Bridge This Month

According to information that Emmitsburg town staff received from the Maryland State Highway Administration, the deck of the new East Main Street bridge over Flat Run was to be poured in mid-December. Following the concrete deck, a layer of asphalt was applied. This needed to set for 28 days before traffic could be rerouted onto it, which puts the date into mid-January.

Town to Deal with Business Trailers

The Emmitsburg Commissioners are expected to approve changes to the zoning laws that will allow large storage trailers to be used on industrial properties. The changes will allow a trailer used to collect tires for recycling to continue to be used at Quality Tire, while not creating an eyesore for adjacent residential properties.


Thurmont Third Safest Town in Maryland in 2018

Thurmont recently received recognition from Safewise as the third safest city in Maryland. 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.

According to Safewise, Thurmont has .92 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and 10.45 property crimes per 1,000 residents. It is the only city in Frederick County to make the top ten.

This is a big jump from the 2016 report that listed Thurmont as the ninth safest town in Maryland. Between 2016 and 2018, Thurmont violent crime increased from .92 incidents per 1,000 residents, but property crime decreased from 11.76 incidents per 1,000 residents.

The safest cities in Maryland are: 1. Hampstead (Carroll); 2. Manchester (Carroll); 3. Thurmont (Frederick); 4. Bowie (Prince Georges); 5. Glenarden (Prince Georges); 6. Ocean Pines (Worcester); 7. Taneytown (Carroll); 8. Frostburg (Allegany); 9. Bel Air (Harford); and 10. Easton (Talbot).

Thurmont is the only Frederick County town listed among the safest towns in Maryland.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently received the results of the annual review done of its finances by an independent auditor. Not only did the town receive a clean audit with no findings, but the town also did not have to file for an extension in order to have it done on time.

Town Enacts Planning and Zoning Fees

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to enact planning and zoning fees to recover the cost of using town resources to review development plans. The fees are based on those used in other nearby municipalities. A concept plans submission and review will cost $250, plus the invoiced cost of professional services, such as advertising, legal, and engineering fees. A preliminary site plan, category 1, residential, will cost $350, plus $25 per lot and the invoiced cost of professional services. A preliminary site plan, category 1, non-residential, will cost $500, plus professional services for projects smaller than 25 acres; and $500, plus $25 an acre and professional services for projects over 25 acres. A preliminary site plan, category 2, will cost the zoning certificate fee and professional services. An annexation and review will cost $500, plus $25 an acre and professional services.

Colorfest Review

The Town of Thurmont is starting to dig itself out of a deficit from hosting Colorfest, after making some changes to the permit fees. For Colorfest 2018, the Town of Thurmont received $68,578 and spent $61,289 for sanitation, trash, buses, and security.

While this proved to be a year the town was in the black, it was not the case in 2014 and 2015. Those two years left the town $24,237 in the red. The commissioners made changes to the fees and trimmed some expenses, which has helped the town show positive numbers since 2015. The town is now showing a deficit of $10,147 over the past five years.

The Colorfest revenues have also been helped by the increasing number of permits sold. For Colorfest 2018, 798 permits were sold, up 101 from 2016. This includes a jump from 21 to 32 permits for commercial food vendors, who pay $500 for their permits.

Town Increases Water Reconnection Fee

After reviewing the cost of reconnecting a property to the town’s water system after it has been disconnected for non-payment, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently voted to increase the fee to $75.

This came about after the town reviewed all of the costs associated with reconnecting a property and found that it cost slightly more than $73. The town was only charging $6. The $75 is also equal to or less than the amount charged by surrounding municipalities.

Chief Administrative Office Jim Humerick told the commissioners that disconnecting a property is a last resort for the town. Before that point is reached, the town will have offered the property owner an option to pay the debt back on a payment plan and give the property owner contact information for agencies that might be able to help the property owner pay the bill.

November 2018

by James Rada, Jr.


New Trees on Main Street

The Maryland State Highway Administration has planted new trees along Main Street. The different species include scarlet oak, columnar sergeants cherry, snow goose cherry, and rotundiloba sweetgum.

Town Awarded Community Legacy Grant

Emmitsburg received a $50,000 Community Legacy Grant for façade improvement and restoration. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development provides half of the grant award, and the property owners match the award amount. The maximum grant amount is $12,500 per property, per fiscal year, as long as the money is available.

You can pick up a grant application in the town office. The completed application is due by January 4, 2019. Contact Town Planner Zach Gulden at 301-600-6309 or at with any questions or for more information.

ADA Playground Nearly Fully Funded

Emmitsburg received another Community Legacy Grant of $75,000 to help pay for the new ADA-compliant playground in Emmit Gardens. This grant, along with the $125,000 in Program Open Funding previously awarded for the playground, nearly pays the entire cost of the playground.

Commissioners Review New Town Waysides

The Emmitsburg Commissioners reviewed a new set of waysides that will be erected in town to highlight the town’s history. 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 three waysides will be at the Emmit House, doughboy statue, and town square. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town.

Tree Ordinance Approved

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved an ordinance for tree care that is needed for Emmitsburg to become Tree City certified. To receive the certification from the National Arbor Day Foundation, a municipality must meet four criteria: (1) Celebrate Arbor Day; (2) Have a team dedicated to tree care; (3) Have at least $2.00 per tree dedicated to tree care in the budget; and (4) Have a law to protect trees.



John Dowling Named Volunteer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Clubs announced its Volunteer of the Year for 2018 during a recent town meeting. The award recognizes volunteers who work in the Thurmont zip code. This year’s nominees were: John Dowling for his work at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and Thurmont Senior Citizens Center; Nicole Orr for her work with Hospice of Frederick County, the Distinguished Young Women’s Program, and the Lewistown Elementary School; and Donna Voellinger for her work with the Thurmont Historical Society.

“They are each passionate about their volunteer work and put their whole heart into what they do,” Lion Susan Favorite told the commissioners.

Dowling was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year. He received a certificate of recognition and a gift certificate to the Shamrock Restaurant. He was also able to designate where a $400 donation from the Thurmont Lions Club would go. Dowling chose to split the money between the Thurmont Senior Center and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.

New Police Dog Introduced

The Thurmont Police Department introduced its new police dog, Majo, to the Thurmont Commissioners in October. Majo is now a nineteen-month-old shepherd chow mix that came from the Czech Republic. He was certified in October and is now on the street with his handler, Cpl. Tim Duhan.

The town had budgeted $10,000 to purchase and train Majo, but the bill came out to be $12,600. However, the Humane Society of Frederick County donated $1,600 and Woodsboro Bank donated $1,000 to make up the difference.

Town Will Continue to Receive County Tax Rebate

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners decided to continue receiving money that the county returns for duplicative services as a rebate rather than the more complicated tax differential. The refund amounts to roughly $685,000 returned to the town annually to help pay for police, parks, and town planning.

Thurmont Food Bank Receives Donations from Town Events

Two recent events netted the Thurmont Food Bank substantial donations just in time for the seasonal increase in demand for services.

The Community Shred Event asked residents to also bring non-perishable food items for each box of paper that was being shredded or to make a cash donation. The event collected 768 items and $235.

Halloween in the Park also asked attendees to bring a non-perishable food item or to make a cash donation. The event collected 820 items and $91.

Arbor Day Proclamation Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners made an Arbor Day proclamation as part of their efforts to continue being recognized as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation. Over the last few years, the town has also planted 224 new trees throughout the town.

October 2018

by James Rada, Jr.


Incumbents Re-elected

The Emmitsburg Town Election was held on September 25, 2018. Incumbents Clifford Sweeney and Timothy O’Donnell ran unopposed for two open commissioner seats. Forty-eight ballots were cast. Sweeney received forty-four and O’Donnell received forty-one. The winners were sworn in for their new four-year terms during the October 1 town meeting.

Following a recommendation from Mayor Don Briggs, the board of commissioners was reorganized. Sweeney became the new president of the board and O’Donnell became the treasurer. Glenn Blanchard became the new vice president of the board. Elizabeth Buckman remained the liaison with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, and Joseph Ritz, III remained the liaison with the Parks Committee.


Rezoning of Emmit Gardens Property Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners held a public hearing during their October 1 public meeting to consider rezoning the property at 600-602 East Main Street Ext. Joseph Baldacchino, representing the Sarah E. Baldacchino Trust, asked that the property be rezoned from low-density residential (R1) to neighborhood commercial (B1). This zoning better represented how the property had been used years ago when it served as a home and dentist office.

The commissioners agreed that a mistake had been made in the original zoning, but they had concerns that B1 zoning would allow a future property owner to install a large sign that was out-of-character with the neighborhood. Another concern was the placement of required fencing would impinge on a utility right-of-way.

After much discussion, the commissioners approved the rezoning, while reserving the right to approve signage and fencing when, and if, it happened.


Commission Turns Down Group Asking to Hunt on Scott Road Farm

The Indian Lookout Conservation Club asked to enter into an agreement with the town to allow its group to hunt on the town-owned Scott Road Farm if the group took care of the maintenance of the property. Town staff did not recommend this agreement to the commissioners for numerous reasons, such as making it harder to enforce the no-hunting ban and showing favoritism to a small group of citizens. The commissioners decided to stick with their original decision to re-evaluate its no-hunting rule next August.


Town Sees Big Insurance Savings

The Town of Thurmont entered into an agreement with the Local Government Insurance Trust. The trust is a pooled insurance fund among government entities that allows their combined size to get them better insurance rates.

The Thurmont Commissioners had allocated $100,000 in the current budget for insurance. The town’s insurance provider at the time quoted the town $96,143. However, town staff decided to shop around to see if a better rate could be had. LGIT quoted $60,471 for the same insurance. Chief Administrative Jim Humerick told the commissioners that LGIT also offered an extensive line of online training in different areas of municipal government that LGIT customers can use for free.

Commissioner Marty Burns raised the issue as to whether Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird had exceeded his power by authorizing town staff to change insurance providers without approval from the commissioners.

Kinnaird said, “It’s my duty to see we don’t exceed our stated budget.” It was pointed out that the line item was for insurance and did not state a specific company. Those types of things are typically left to the decision of staff and/or the mayor. Kinnaird also noted that had the insurance quotes exceeded the approved $100,000, he would have brought the issue back to the commissioners to decide what to do.

The other commissioners had no issue with Kinnaird’s decision, particularly since it saved the town more than $35,000. The commissioners unanimously approved the agreement with LGIT.


Colorfest Looking Good

A few days before the 55th Annual Catoctin Colorfest, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners received an update on the number of permits issued for the festivals.

Last year (which was the record year for permits issued), a total of 764 permits were issued. This year, with three days to go before the festival, 719 permits had been issued with more expected. This is more than either 2016 or 2015. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners that he expected the 2018 total permits to be at least as many as 2017 and possibly more.

The town issues permits for craft vendors, for-profit-food vendors, non-profit food vendors, information-only booths, parking, and yard sales. Craft vendors make up the majority of the permits, but the for-profit-food vendors pay the most for their permits.

All income from the permits is used to pay for the services that the town provides during Colorfest. This includes staff overtime, security, trash removal, porta-potties, and shuttles.


Town to Start Relining Old Sewer Pipes

The Town of Emmitsburg has been noting a problem with wild water getting into the sewers (called inflow and infiltration [I&I]). Once the water is in the system, it winds up being treated for an estimated cost of $2.00 per 1,000 gallons. This covers the cost of chemicals, staff time, power, and wear and tear on the system. It has become a costly problem for the town, costing around $40,000 a month in May and June of this year to treat I&I.

“This year we’ve had a lot of precipitation, which will cause the I&I to spike and cause your costs to spike,” Town Manager Cathy Willets told the Emmitsburg Commissioners in September.

The commissioners approved an $80,575 bid from Mr. Rehab to begin relining sewer pipe on East Main Street and Creamery Road. The money will come from the town’s sewer fund. The process does not require digging or traffic control. Also, it is estimated to take only a week.

This should be the beginning of what is estimated to be a ten-year process to reline the old sewer pipes in town that cracked and are allowing in wild water.

It will work in conjunction with rehabbing the existing sewer pumping station to make it more efficient and allow it to handle more sewage. The commissioners approved seeking federal funds to begin the planning process to rehabilitate the old pumping station. The project could begin in two years if things move along smoothly. The relined pipe, new pumping station in Emmit Garden, and rehabilitated pumping station would work together to significantly reduce I&I problems, saving the town tens of thousands of dollars every year.


Welcome Letter Delayed

A welcome letter that would have been sent to new town residents has been delayed because the Emmitsburg Commissioners feared liability issues with some of the information in the letter. The letter lists certain businesses that new residents might need to know about, but it did not list all of the businesses in town. Some of the commissioners thought this might be suggesting favoritism to some business owners and might lead to problems.

Commission President Tim O’Donnell suggested having the Maryland Association of Counties review the letter for any possible ethics problems in the way the businesses are presented.


Community Legacy Grants Are Now Being Accepted

The Community Legacy Program is a partnership between Emmitsburg and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). DHCD provides a 50 percent grant for exterior façade and exterior improvements, while the property owner pays the other 50 percent. The maximum grant is $12,500 per property per fiscal year while money is available. If you are interested in applying for the grant, contact town staff at 301-600-6300 for more information.


Hunting and Emmitsburg Trail Use Information

Hunting on property owned by the Town of Emmitsburg is allowed Monday through Saturday only. There is no hunting on Sundays. While Maryland Department of Natural Resources allows permit hunting on certain Sundays in certain areas, none of the dates or areas apply to town-owned properties. The last day for hunting is May 23, 2019. Currently, the town trails can be used on Sundays only to ensure there is no hunting going on around them. All-week access will begin on May 24, 2019, after hunting season has ended.


Citizens Advisory Committee Appointments

Mark Walker was reappointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee for a two-year term beginning October 20. Brian and Melissa McKenney were appointed to the committee as new members. Their two-year terms began on September 4.


Closed Columbus Day

The Emmitsburg Town Office will be closed on Columbus Day, Monday, October 8.



Town Gets ADA Curb Update

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners received an update on the ADA-compliant curb project that was undertaken this summer. This summer, forty-one ADA-compliant curbs and ramps were installed in twenty locations. Some of the locations include Frederick Road at Moser Road, Summit Avenue at Thurmont Middle School, Community Park at Frederick Road, the municipal parking lot, and Locust Drive at Apples Church Road.

This project cost $87,804, of which $84,000 was paid for with a Community Development Block Grant. With the project’s completion, all of the town’s major pedestrian crossings have been made ADA compliant in the last three years.


Town to Pave Weddle Alley

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the paving of Weddle Alley during a recent town meeting. The alley runs behind seven homes from North Carroll Street to Radio Lane.

“It’s our last gravel-based alley in town,” Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners.

The commissioners debated whether such a small alley was a priority. Mayor John Kinnaird pointed out that this was a project that had been talked about in the past and could be done now with Highway User Revenues. Other projects that were higher priorities were also much larger and would take multiple years of savings to pay for. The commissioners voted 4-1 to award the contract to Frederick County Paving for $27,900, with Commissioner Marty Burns dissenting.


Senior Center Carpeting to be Replaced

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners unanimously approved a recommendation from the Thurmont Senior Center to award Peterson’s Carpeting in Frederick a contract to replace the carpeting in the Senior Center.

The contract is for $8,823.75 and will be paid for by Frederick County. Although Peterson’s bid was not the lowest, it included two items that the other didn’t. It came with a fifteen-year guarantee and included a microbial treatment. In addition, the town will have its cleaning service strip the wax and clean the tiles in the Thurmont Senior Center for an additional $573.


Town May Connect Thurmont Boulevard

The Town of Thurmont is looking at connecting two sections of Thurmont Boulevard and creating a through-road that would help ease some of the traffic problems in town. Mayor John Kinnaird said, “It would make traveling through town a whole lot easier for everyone.” Some studies would need to be conducted before any construction could begin, but the commissioners have directed town staff to get preliminary pricing on what each of the studies would cost.


Trolley Trail May be Expanded to Eyler Park and Catoctin Furnace

Thurmont town staff is looking to purchase a piece of property that would allow the Trolley Trail to continue to Catoctin Furnace. Meanwhile, another group is trying to secure a way to extend the other end of the trail to Eyler Road Park. The current trail is well used, and the extensions would make it more attractive to walkers and bike riders.

Halloween in the Park Seeking Volunteers

Thurmont’s annual Halloween in the Park will be held on Saturday, October 27 (rain date: November 3). Volunteers are needed to help with set up, children’s games, and scaring people. Contact Commissioner Wayne Hooper at 301-418-8641 or


Colorfest Traffic Changes

During Colorfest weekend, the Town of Thurmont is prohibiting vehicles to stop, stand, or park at any time on North Church Street and East Moser Road. The width of the roadways has been narrowed, causing a safety issue when vehicles are parked along the street. Vehicles, to include Emergency apparatuses, will not be able to pass freely and safely. State law prohibits vehicles from blocking any portion of a roadway and prohibits obstructing or hindering the free passage of another. The Thurmont Police Department has been directed to strictly enforce these restrictions.


New Police Officer Being Trained

Thurmont’s newest police officer, twenty-five-year-old Hailey Leishear, is currently in her seven-month-long training at the police academy in Carroll County. Once she graduates, she will then undergo ten weeks of field training before hitting the streets on her own as a Thurmont Police officer. She is one of two women and eleven sworn officers currently on the force.


by James Rada, Jr.


No Hunting on the Scott Road Farm

Although hunting has been allowed on the Scott Road Farm in the past, the Town of Emmitsburg has said there will be no hunting on the property this year and possibly for the foreseeable future. The town has had problems with trespassing, people riding four-wheelers on the property, erecting tree stands, and fishing in the pond, all of which are not allowed. To curb the trespassing and enhance safety in the area, the town has made the farm a “no hunting” area. The policy will be reviewed again next year to decide on whether it should be continued.


Phase 1 of Flat Run Bridge Should be Complete this Fall

The Maryland State Highway Administration updated the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners on the progress of the new Flat Run Bridge, east of town. The original completion date had been expected to be August, but delays in signing documents, weather, and water line changes pushed the date back to the fall of 2019.

However, phase 1 is expected to be completed this fall. This will mean that two-lane traffic will be able to travel across the new bridge, allowing the state to remove the old bridge without having to deal with traffic.


Community Market Garden

The Town of Emmitsburg is considering starting a community market garden. Unlike a community garden, produce is raised and typically sold. One location being considered for the garden is near the farmers market, which would provide a possible sales location. Another possible location is near the baseball outfield and walking path.

The commissioners are generally supportive of the idea, but insurance and liability issues could be possible roadblocks. The commissioners are having town staff look into this and make some recommendations.


After School Club House Gets Funding

The Town of Emmitsburg had hoped to get a Boys and Girls Club in town for this school year. Money was transferred to an account in the town budget to help fund it. Things didn’t work out for this year, though, so $10,000 was transferred back to the Parks Department to continue funding an After School Club House. Efforts to get the Boys and Girls Club in Emmitsburg are still being pursued.


Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Coming Soon

The town approved its plan for four electric vehicle charging stations on the parking lot behind the community center. The stations are funded through a grant from the Electric Vehicle Institute.

The town was required to sign a five-year agreement with the Electric Vehicle Institute. The stations will not cost the town anything. Electric consumption used by the charging station will be paid for by the driver charging the vehicle.

The commissioners also had to approve an addendum to their lease with Frederick County, which is the owner of the community center. The addendum change allows the charging stations to be installed. The four charging stations will be marked, and the parking spaces in front of them will only be for the use of cars being charged. Vehicles will be allowed to park in the spots for up to six hours; overnight parking is not allowed.


Town Makes Annual Donations

The Town of Thurmont made its annual donations to the Guardian Hose Company, Thurmont Community Ambulance Company, Thurmont Senior Center, and Thurmont Food Bank on July 24. The fire and ambulance companies each received a check for $30,000. The Thurmont Senior Center received $20,000, while the food bank received a check for $6,000.

Guardian Hose Company President Wayne Stackhouse said that the fire company’s money will go towards the $500,000 needed for a new pumper engine.

Commissioner Marty Burns pointed out that if the town had to pay for a fire and ambulance company, rather than having a volunteer fire company and partially volunteer ambulance company, “our taxes would be double what they are today.”

Judith White accepted the check on behalf of the ambulance company, and Dick Lee accepted the food bank check.

Thurmont Economic Development Director Vickie Grinder premiered an economic development video about the town on July 24.

“It’s a video that is intended to last in the long run and produce results in the long run, not in the short run,” Grinder said. “The objective of this video was to attract future businesses, future residents, and tourism.”

It accomplishes this in three minutes and was created by Digital Bard.

The video was shown and the commissioners were pleased with the result.


New Date for Gateway to the Cure 5K

The annual Gateway to the Cure 5K had to be rescheduled. It is usually held in October, but this year’s event will be on Saturday, September 15, beginning at 8:30 a.m. If interested, you can register online at: You can also sign up at the town office. The cost is $35.00 and pre-registered participants will receive a t-shirt. All proceeds are donated to the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital for breast cancer research.


Town Gets $30,000 Grant

During the July meeting of the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners, Town Manager Cathy Willets announced that the town had received a $30,000 grant from the Maryland Department of the Environment. The grant was awarded because the town had been able to keep its nitrogen and phosphorus in the water to less than one part per million gallons. The money will be used to continue to improve and optimize the town’s water system.

ADA Playground Complete

The ADA-compliant playground in Emmit Gardens is complete, except for an ADA-compliant pathway to the park. The playground is designed to allow children with disabilities to enjoy activities in the park.

Cipplerly Retires

The July meeting of the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners was the last one for Town Planner Sue Cipperly.

“Your work here has been a catalyst for our ongoing efforts to enhance the quality of life in Emmitsburg,” said Tim O’Donnell, president of the Board of Commissioners.

The new town planner, Zach Gulden, introduced himself to the mayor and commissioners. Gulden lives in Gettysburg and was the Freedom Township manager and Upper Allen Township planner. He has a master’s degree in public administration.


POS Projects Get Funding

Mayor Donald Briggs announced that Emmitsburg had received $191,000 out of $391,000 that the Frederick County municipalities had to share for Program Open Space (POS) projects.

Briggs said that the all-children play lot will receive $120,000 (77 percent of what the project could get), and the pool bathhouse renovations will receive $71,000 (100 percent of what the project could get).


For more information on the Town of Thurmont, visit or call the town office at 301-271-7313.
Note: The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners did not meet between June 26 and July 24.

February 2018


Homes Taken Off Town’s Water System

Town staff had to do an emergency fix to the town’s water lines. Four homes outside of town limits, but on the town water system, received their water through a water line that was installed in the 1930s. Over the decades, 200 feet of the 8-inch line has been exposed to the elements. Because of the extended subzero temperatures that the region had this winter, a major break occurred in the line on January 8. Temporary fixes to the line could not be maintained.

In one instance, a temporary pump placed on the water line malfunctioned, and one home’s basement was flooded.

Town staff evaluated the situation and determined that the old water line was unrepairable. It would need to be replaced, which would cost $1 million to restore service to the four homes.

Since this would be too expensive, an alternative solution was sought. It was discovered that one of the homes could be connected to an existing 10-inch water line. The other three homes were too far away for this solution to work for them. For these homes, the town reached an agreement with the homeowners to drill wells that could service the homes and take them off the town’s water system. The estimated cost for this solution is $50,000 per connection or $150,000.


Transfers to Capital Projects

When fiscal year 2017 ended, the Town of Emmitsburg had excess money in its general fund. The excess needed to be transferred to capital projects per audit requirements. Town staff put together a list of projects and amounts that they recommended be funded with the excess.

  • $66,300 towards the Community Park Pool and its grounds. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $17,245 for the dog park. The commissioners modified the dog park plan to include no leash stations (for now) and four benches instead of seven. (Approved with modification.)
  • $15,000 for the general streets fund. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $14,000 for curbs, gutters, sidewalks, roads. The commissioners asked that the St. Joseph’s Lane pedestrian walkway become a future agenda item. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $10,000 for the general planning fund. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $6,526 for building maintenance at 140 South Seton Avenue. (Unanimously approved.)
  • $4,500 for building maintenance at 22 East Main Street. (Unanimously approved.)

The total transfer amount was $133,571.


Town Starts Monthly Street Sweeping

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willetts announced that town staff will now perform monthly street-sweeping in Emmitsburg, which is required for the MS-4 permit that the town is seeking.


Community Day Race

The Emmitsburg Commissioners unanimously approved a 6K race on Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day, June 30, 2018. The Catoctin-Ettes will run the event as a fundraiser.



Conrad Weaver was appointed to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for a two-year term, from November 4, 2017, to November 4, 2019.

Wendy Walsh was reappointed to serve on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, from February 20, 2018, to February 20, 2020.


Town Gets Grant for LED Lighting

As the Town of Thurmont moved to increase its sustainability and reduce costs, one of the changes it has been working on is switching over to LED street lights downtown and in subdivisions. The Maryland Energy Administration recently awarded the town $34,650 for this project. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted unanimously to spend $28,035 of that amount to have Catoctin Lighting replace the street lights in Catoctin Heights. The remaining balance will be used to purchase additional lighting fixtures for a yet-to-be-determined location.


Curb Side Grass and Leaf Pickup

Curb side grass and leaf pickup will resume in Thurmont on April 2. Residents should have received notice of all the pertinent information and dates with their utility bills.


Work Continues on Employee Manual

Town staff has been crafting an employee policy manual for town employees for the past few months. “It’s something that would be able to assist our supervisors and managers, assist our employees, and assist in the overall management of our staff here,” Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the mayor and commissioners.

A draft of the manual was presented to the mayor and commissioners during a workshop meeting, where they went through the document to address any questions and concerns. These will then be used to make changes to the final manual.


Mid-year Budget Review

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners received a mid-year budget review in January to see how close they were staying to the approved fiscal year 2018 budget. According to Chief Financial Officer Linda Joyce, at the halfway point in its budget, the town was 15 percent under budget.


Thurmont Addiction Commission

The Thurmont Addiction Commission is now up and running. The group has a Facebook page, where interested parties can be kept up to date on meeting times and topics. One topic that has been discussed between the commission and Frederick County Health Department is a needle exchange program. Commissioner Marty Burns pointed out that this was a presentation being made by the Health Department to gather input. It did not mean the program would happen.

January 2018

by James Rada, Jr


Snow Removal Reminder

Given the snow that has fallen this winter, the Emmitsburg town staff reminded residents that all basketball hoops and other items need to be removed from the street before a storm, and vehicles need to be removed off snow emergency routes. After the storm has ended, residents have 24 hours to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks that border their property. Snow should not be blown or shoveled into a cleared street. These items are part of the town municipal code and can result in citations if not followed.


Sidewalk Do’s and Don’ts

Now that Emmitsburg has new sidewalks connecting different areas of the town, there are things that residents can do and shouldn’t do to ensure those sidewalks continue looking good. Don’t use any product containing salt or any type of chloride to melt snow and ice. Chloride reacts with the aggregate in the concrete to scale and delaminate it. Instead, use kitty litter, sand, or fireplace ashes for de-icing. Wash or sweep (if cold) any concrete that gets salt deposited on it from your car.


Recycling Schedule

Emmitsburg will continue to follow the Frederick County recycling schedule this year. The schedule can be found on the town website. Pickups will be every other Thursday. Your recycling should be placed at the curb by 6:00 a.m. on scheduled pickup days and at least four feet away from trash cans, cars, and mailboxes.


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



Donation from Halloween in the Park

The Town of Thurmont recently donated $2,520.78 to the Thurmont Food Bank. This amount came from the excess of the admission charged at the annual Halloween in the Park event, once the expenses were paid. This was in addition to a truckload of nonperishable food items that were also donated to Thurmont Food Bank at the event.


Water Capacity Study Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid of $15,200 from Arro Consulting in Hagerstown to perform a water-capacity study of the town’s water system. The study will look at the condition and capacity of the water system and evaluate water sources, treatment systems, transmissions, distribution mains, storage, pumping systems, and system losses. It will also look at the town’s current and projected demands on the water system, identify any excess capacity, outline alternatives for sharing of infrastructure, and make any recommendations. The town has worked with Arro Consulting before and has found their work excellent.


Mayor Pro-tem Chosen

Following the re-election of Mayor John Kinnaird last fall, the commissioners had to choose a mayor pro-tem. The mayor pro-tem duties are to serve in the place of the mayor if the mayor is unable to attend a meeting. Commissioner Bill Buehrer was the most recent mayor pro-tem and Commissioner Wayne Hooper served before him. Commissioner Wes Hamrick was elected to the position with a 4-0-1. Hamrick abstained from voting.

For more information on the Town of Thurmont, visit or call the town office at 301-271-7313.

September 2017

by James Rada, Jr.


Creamery Road to be Closed for VHC Spring Fling

Anticipating that the Vigilant Hose Company and Emmitsburg Ambulance Company will be combined by the end of this year, next year’s Spring Fling for Vigilant Hose Company will be held at the ambulance company building on Creamery Road. In the past, this event has taken place at Mount St. Mary’s University and has drawn crowds up to 2,000 people.

Vigilant Hose Company President Frank Davis asked the commissioners to close Creamery Road from Quality Tire to Creamery Way from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the day of the event next spring. It is felt the closure is needed to deal with the amount of traffic that will be in the area for the Spring Fling.

Maryland State Highway Administration has already given their approval since the closure is far enough away not to impact traffic on the state roads.

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the temporary closure.


Employee Handbook Changes

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved recommended changes to the town employee handbook. Because it has been some years since it was last updated, the handbook needed to be brought into compliance with current state and federal laws. It also incorporated some best practices and was made easier to read and understand.


New Water and Sewer Truck Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted in September to replace a GMC Sonoma used by the water and sewer department. The Sonoma was fourteen years old and had 110,000 miles on it. The new truck will be a Chevy Silverado with a snow plow attached. The winning bid of $46,996 came from Wantz Chevrolet in Taneytown.


Work Continues On Dog Park

The grading for the new Emmitsburg dog park has been completed. The town has also received all bids to install the fencing for the park, but has not yet accepted a contractor to do the work.


Vote in the 2017 Town Election

October 3 is the last day to register to vote for mayor and two commissioners in the upcoming town election. Absentee ballot applications will be available on October 6, and the election will be held on October 31 at the Guardian Hose Activities Building, located at 123 East Main Street. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Anyone in line at the time of closing will be permitted to vote.


Colorfest Parking Restrictions and Road Closures

Colorfest will be held on October 13-15. With it, comes a lot of traffic that the town must accommodate. No parking will be allowed on the east side of Apples Church Road, from Carroll Street to Eyler Road, during the weekend. Thurmont Police have been directed to strictly enforce these restrictions. No parking will be allowed on East Moser Road, North Church Street, North Carroll Street, and all ramps leading onto and exiting Route 15. The “No Parking” areas will be marked with signs.

The following streets will be closed from 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday: Frederick Road (from Moser Road to Water Street); Water Street (from Summit Avenue to Main Street); S. Center Street; Park Lane; Municipal Alley; Polley’s Alley.


Commissioners Look to Spur Growth in Thurmont

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners have begun speaking about ways to provide developers with “a little incentive for them to come to Thurmont and do some development.” The town hasn’t seen any significant growth since 2007.

Currently, home builders have to pay $12,660 in fees when they make their application to the town to build. Mayor John Kinnaird suggested that some of the fees could be delayed. Some of these deferred fees could be the impact fee, the wastewater impact fee, the roads fee, and the parks fee. These could be deferred until settlement since that is when the new home starts to have an effect on these items.

The connection fees would still need to be collected up front because the town spends money to have its crews make the connections to the town’s water and sewer systems.

Commissioner Bill Buehrer said that the town’s Economic Development Committee has also been considering similar things to promote development, and will be making some recommendations to the town.


Colorfest Services Approved

Each year, the Town of Thurmont incurs costs related to Colorfest. These services are security, trash, port-a-potties, and buses. They are paid for with the permit fees that the Colorfest vendors pay.

This year, only one company submitted a bid for each service, and they are businesses that have worked with the town in the past.

“They’ve always provided an excellent service for us, and they are very dependable; they know Colorfest in and out,” said Chief Administrative Officer James Humerick.

May Security of Frederick will provide twenty-nine security guards and a supervisor for both days of Colorfest at a cost of $13,224. This represents no increase over 2016.

Key Sanitation of Dickerson will provide the toilets at a cost of $9,936, and trash service at a cost of $2,264. This also represents no change over 2016.

Rills Bus Service of Westminster will provide eight standard buses and one wheelchair accessible bus on Saturday and six standard buses and one wheelchair accessible bus on Sunday at a cost of $12,464. This is an increase of $576 over 2016.

The commissioners unanimously approved the bids.


Board of Appeals Vacancies

Thurmont has openings for a regular member and an alternate member on its board of appeals. Anyone interested in serving should contact the Thurmont Town Office at 301-271-7313.


Volunteers Needed for Halloween in the Park

The Town of Thurmont is seeking volunteers to help with the annual Halloween in the Park event. This year’s event will be held on October 28. If you would like to help, please contact the town office at 301-271-7313.

MAY 2017


No Changes in Tax Rate Expected

Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs gave the town commissioners their first look at his proposed FY18 budget. The constant-yield rate as calculated by the State of Maryland will be 6 cents per $100 of assessed value. This is the rate that will bring in the same amount of tax revenue as the previous year.

He also noted that the preliminary budget does not include a cost-of-living adjustment for employees, but they will receive any step increases that they are due.

Revenue in the general fund is expected to increase $56,571 or 3.35 percent.

The water fund will decrease, in part, due to conservation efforts. The capital fund is expected to increase from $121,812 to $218,341.

The commissioners will now begin their review of the budget. It must be approved by June 30.


Algae Control Working Well

The preliminary data for Emmitsburg’s new algae-control system in Rainbow Lake looks good, according to Town Manager Cathy Willets. The new system, which cost the town $38,650 for setup and $13,000 a year for calibration, was installed in April. The LG Sonic system uses ultrasound to destroy the algae, causing it to sink to the bottom of the lake. Willets said that once data is available to present, she will do so, but she is pleased with the preliminary data so far.


Emmitsburg Extends Reciprocity to Waynesboro

Because of the Borough of Waynesboro’s generosity in allowing Emmitsburg residents to pay the Waynesboro resident rate to use their town pool this summer, the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners have returned the favor. Should Waynesboro need to close its pool for renovations in the future, residents will be able to swim in Emmitsburg’s new pool and pay the Emmitsburg resident admission.


Meeting the State’s Recycling Goal

The State of Maryland has set a 90 percent recycling goal by 2040. Frederick County has a group that is looking into how the county will be able to meet this goal.

“It’s going to take until 2030 to even intersect with the goals that the state has set for everybody,” said Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer James Humerick. “Luckily, we’re way ahead in actual recycling of plastic, glass, paper, cardboard, and those sorts of items, but this organic is going to be the big issue.”

To meet the state goal, Humerick said that it seems that single-stream organic collection is going to be the answer. He expects the county to institute a pilot program next year in Frederick City and the public schools to move toward this.

It also seems like a countywide program would involve fourteen local composting sites. The part of the county between Emmitsburg and Thurmont would have at least one, maybe two, sites. Each site would need five to six acres and would be able to compost up to 10,000 tons a year.

Humerick said that while he believes this is going to happen, cost will be an issue. Projections right now are that it would cost between $6 and $10 a month per household, and $500 to $700 per month for restaurants to pay for pickup and processing of organic material.

While the program would be voluntary at first, most likely it would become mandatory in the future.

Mayor John Kinnaird said that if the county doesn’t hit its 2040 target, the county could start withholding building permits.

While nothing has happened yet, Kinnaird said that he wanted to make the commissioners aware of what was in the works. “It’s going to impact every one of us, so it’s in our best interest to keep an eye on what’s going on with that,” he said.


Asphalt Overlays Approved

East Street, Lombard Street, and Shipley Avenue will be getting new asphalt overlays. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently awarded the project to L. W. Wolfe of Myersville. The project costs $95,453.75 and should be complete by the end of the month.


Commissioners Get Draft Budget

With the budget workshops complete, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners got to see the proposed FY18 budget that will go into effect on July 1. It is based on a $3,547,982 operating fund and a $425,000 capital budget. This represents a 3.1 percent increase to the general fund.

The commissioners still need to review and approve this latest draft by June 30.


Tree Saving Efforts Recognized

The Town of Thurmont is in the midst of replacing the dying ash trees in Community Park. With roughly 40 percent of the trees needing to be replaced, it is a labor intensive and expensive project.

The town recently recognized volunteers who have helped plant seventy-five new trees in the park. Thurmont’s Green Team, Venture Crew 270, Girl Scout Troop 81200, Boy Scout Troop 270, Cub Scout Pack 270 Den 1, the Catoctin High Leo Club, and the Frederick County Forestry Board received a Certificate of Appreciation from the town.

The town also received a national award from the National Arbor Day Foundation for the work it has been doing to preserve and replace the trees in Community Park. Becky Wilson with the Maryland Forest Service presented the Tree City USA Award.

A town has to meet four criteria to receive the award: (1) Celebrate Arbor Day; (2) Have a team dedicated to tree care; (3) Have at least $2.00 per tree dedicated to tree care in the budget; (4) Have a law to protect trees.

According to Wilson, only about 37 communities out of 147 eligible Maryland towns receive this award annually. This was Thurmont’s first year to receive the award.


Town Helps in Creeger House Restoration

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to donate $15,000 from the town’s unreserved fund balance to the Thurmont Historical Society “to use that funding solely for the purpose of restoring damage to the building that was uncovered to make it whole.”


Food Bank Update

Pastor Sally Joyner-Giffin, who manages the Thurmont Food Bank for the Thurmont Ministerium, recently updated the mayor and commissioners on the work that the food bank is doing in the area.

In 2016, the food bank filled 3,691 requests for food from 528 households. During this year, from January through April, the food bank filled 1,065 requests for food.

Because of refrigerators and freezers that the food bank was able to purchase with Community Development Block Grants, families can receive fresh and frozen foods, as well as packaged goods and canned items.

“To be able to give out fresh food has been a real gift to us,” Joyner-Giffin said.

The food bank gives out an average of 5,080 lbs. of frozen food and 3,000 lbs. of fresh food a month.

March 2017


by James Rada, Jr.

Town Square Improvements Will Begin this Month

Maryland State Highway officials told the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners that the $3.5 million improvements to the town square and Main Street will begin this month.

The project will focus on Main Street, from Creamery Road to Timbermill Run, and a block north and south from the Seton Avenue intersection with Main Street. This includes two weekends when the Seton Avenue – Main Street intersection will be closed for waterline work.

The project will build new brick sidewalks that have curb ramps, to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. New crosswalks and resurfacing of the town square intersection are also included in the project. Parking on the Square will be reconfigured. Other improvements include gutters, the traffic signal, and landscaping. The Bradford Pear trees along Main Street will be replaced with either snowgoose cherry, scarlet oak, or rotundiloba sweetgum trees.

There will be temporary road and sidewalk closures and restrictions of on-street parking while the project is ongoing. Officials will work with property owners to minimize their inconveniences.

  1. Romano Construction will be in charge of the project, which should be completed next summer.


Dog Park Fundraising Approved

The location for the new Emmitsburg dog park has been staked out west of the tennis courts in town. The location is relatively flat. It is an 80-foot by 200-foot site that will include a park for large dogs and one for small dogs.

The town has a $13,000 Project Open Space (POS) grant to use for construction, but the commissioners also approved a brochure that will be used to solicit donations to help fund the park amenities, such as benches, signage, water fountains, trash cans, and pick-up bags. These are things that the POS grant won’t pay for.


New Algae-control System Being Installed

The new algae-control system that the Town of Emmitsburg purchased last month will be installed at Rainbow Lake this month. The new system is expected to save the town money by making the filtration of the water easier.

The LG Sonic system uses ultrasound to destroy the algae, causing it to sink to the bottom of the lake. The cost of the system is $38,650, which not only pays for the system but gets it up and running. After that, the town will pay $13,000 a year for calibration, interactive monitoring to adjust the sonic waves for the different types of algae, and on-site servicing.


Pavilion Rental Fee Modified

Responding to concerns from citizens, the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners modified their pavilion rental policy to waive the rental fee for non-profit organizations.


Boys and Girls Club for Emmitsburg?

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs has been talking with the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County to get a branch open in Emmitsburg that would complement the after-school program at Emmitsburg Elementary School.



Town Enters into Mutual Aid Agreement

The Town of Thurmont entered into a mutual aid agreement recommended by the Maryland Municipal League and the Department of Homeland Security. The agreement is a formal recognition that if any municipality experiences an emergency or catastrophic event, other municipalities will respond with help as needed.

“Honestly, we probably would do that now, but this just really kind of formalizes the agreement,” Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners.

The agreement does not force the town to respond to another municipality’s emergency. It is left to the town to determine how to provide aid. The municipality is also indemnified from liability under the agreement.


Gene Long Week

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners proclaimed that March 5-11, 2017, was Gene Long Week in Thurmont. The proclamation recognized the many contributions that Long has made as a life-long resident of Thurmont. He has encouraged the preservation of agriculture in the county, volunteered with many Lions Club projects, helped create the Thurmont Trolley Trail, and proven himself a friend of Thurmont.


Program Open Space projects

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are in the process of deciding on what their priorities will be as they seek Program Open Space funding this year. The state funding for parks is highly sought after among municipalities.

The commissioners decided that their two major projects will be getting additional funding for the East End Park special-needs playground, and converting the concession stand there to an ADA-compliant bathroom. The second project will be to get solar-powered lighting for the Thurmont Trolley Trail.

Another two or three projects will be added to the list before it is submitted on May 5. The representatives from the different county municipalities will meet to decide how to divide the pot of money that Frederick County gets from the state.

They do not expect to get money for all of their projects or even all of the funding for the projects that do get POS money. However, the projects that do get funding will be greatly helped.