by James Rada, Jr.


Recycling Costs are Skyrocketing for the Town

The Town of Thurmont is seeking help from the county to deal with the skyrocketing cost of maintaining a recycling center on Moser Road. Frederick County Government contributes $10,000 annually to the town’s recycling center costs, and the program is very popular among citizens, not only of Thurmont but surrounding communities as well.

However, in recent years, the market for recyclables has all but disappeared. Income from selling recyclables helped offset some of the costs of the program.

Another factor has been rising inflation and fuel costs that have increased the cost of the program.

In Fiscal Year 2021, the total cost of the program was $11,480, and after the county contributed its portion, the final cost to Thurmont was $600. In Fiscal Year 2023, the expected program cost is $38,220, with the town expected to pay $28,220.

This is a problem that the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will be considering how to solve in the coming months.

Town Approves Purchase of RTV

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the purchase of a Kubota RTV from Ripken Equipment in Frederick. It is an all-terrain vehicle with an enclosed cab that will have a snowplow. It will be mainly used to plow the 4.4 miles of sidewalks and trails that are maintained by the public works department. Currently, the town uses two snow blowers and an open-cab ATV. The vehicle will cost $19,887.92 and be paid for with the savings from the town’s purchase of an electric vehicle earlier in the year and highway user funds.

Town Approves Purchase of Trailer

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the purchase of a utility trailer for the Streets and Parks Department. It will be used to haul a skid loader, a roller, and other equipment. It will be purchased for $9,718.20 from the Hitch Man in Taneytown. The town had already reserved $9,000 in the budget for the purchase. The remainder will come from the town’s capital reserve fund.

Roadway Resurfacing Projects Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Pleasants Construction in Frederick a contract for $223,834.94 to resurface sections of Eyler Road, Tippin Drive, Allen Drive, Hunting Creek Drive, Stull Drive, Gateway Drive East and West, Amanda Court, and Carroll Street.

The project will be paid for with highway user funds and is expected to happen before the cold weather sets in.


New Commissioners Sworn In

During the October town meeting, Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs swore in the winners from the town election at the end of September. Incumbent Frank Davis and Amy Boehman-Pollitt won the election with 246 and 204 votes, respectively. In all, 290 votes were cast. Davis is serving his second three-year term. It is Boehman-Pollitt’s first term.

The other candidates for the two commissioner seats were Mark Long and Kevin Hagan. They received 64 and 60 votes, respectively.

Commissioner T.J. Burns chose not to run for re-election.

During the meeting, Briggs also made recommendations for the reorganization of the board of commissioners.

Tim O’Donnell will remain as board president. Joe Ritz III will serve as vice president and board liaison to the planning commission. Cliff Sweeney will serve as treasurer. Burns will serve as the liaison to the parks and recreation committee, and Boehman-Pollitt will be the liaison to the citizens advisory committee.

Commissioners Considering Raising Water and Sewer Rates

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard the recommendations from consultant Mike Maker with NewGen Strategies and Solutions for new water and sewer rates. The water and sewer rates were last increased in 2013 and 2014, respectively. It has become apparent that they need to be increased again to ensure the town has the funds to cover capital projects for the systems.

The commissioners are considering increasing the water rate 150 percent in fiscal year 2023 and then 3 percent a year for the following four years. Sewer rates may increase 3 percent a year from fiscal year 2023 to 2027.

The water increase is significant, but the rate increases would bring Emmitsburg rates in line with other communities its size in Maryland and allow the needed upgrades to the systems to be made.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing on the issue.

Town Hires On-Call Town Planner

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a contract to hire Chris Jakubiak to provide on-call town planning services to the town. His primary duty will be to advise and assist primarily with annexations, development project review, zoning and other development code amendments, land use and related studies, and with other similar tasks that may be requested by the town. He will be paid $205 per hour with an average of 16 hours of work a week expected.

Town Extends Christ’s Community Church Lease

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners extended the lease for Christ’s Community Church to remain at 303 West Lincoln Avenue for another two years. The rent will increase to $2,500 a month. The church is in the process of constructing their own building in town, but they still need to remain at their current location until it is completed.

Group Wants to Alter Doughboy Statue

The National Association of Black Veterans of Western Maryland has asked the Town of Emmitsburg to redo the plaque that lists the names of Emmitsburg’s Black World War I veterans separately from the White veterans on the Doughboy statue at the west end of town. Although Commissioner Frank Davis told the group that the families of those veterans asked that the plaque be left as it was when the issue came up in 2015, the group asked the commissioners to consider integrating the names into a new plaque. The commissioners agreed to add it to the agenda of an upcoming meeting.

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