Town Issues Water Notice
The Town of Thurmont sent a health-advisory notice to residents on town water that the Maryland Department had detected elevated levels of PFOS/PFOA in water samples MDE tested. Although residents did not need to take corrective action, the notice did advise that people with “a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, are pregnant, or are elderly, you may be at increased risk and should seek advice from your healthcare providers about drinking this water.”
The chemicals have been used in products for decades and most people have been exposed to them. You can read the entire notice on the town website.
Town Recycling Center Will Close
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to close the Moser Road Recycling Center. Since Frederick County stopped running regional recycling centers, the Town of Thurmont started running it with a $10,000 annual contribution to the costs.
However, the cost of running the center has escalated, in large part because of the non-recyclable items and trash that have been left around the recycling bin. Another factor has been rising inflation and fuel costs that have increased the cost of the program.
In recent years, the market for recyclables had all but disappeared. Income from selling recyclables helped offset some of the costs 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.
“It’s getting to the point where it’s costing us too much to host it,” Mayor John Kinnaird said during a town meeting.
Another Step Made on Thurmont Boulevard
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners agreed on an ordinance that, if approved, will allow the town to borrow up to $6 million to complete the Thurmont Boulevard project. This is a project that has been in the works for years without much having been done.
Although the ordinance would allow up to $6 million in debt for the project, the preliminary estimate currently is that it will cost $4.4 million.
The next step in the process is to hold a hearing on the ordinance. Following public input, the commissioners can approve, change, or disapprove the ordinance.
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners reappointed Kirby Delauter to serve on the Board of Appeals and Ed Hutson to serve on the Police Commission.
Police Station to Get Heat Pump Replacement
The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners voted to award Holtzople Heating and Air Conditioning $27,602.96 to replace one of the heat pumps at the police station. This pump is no longer functioning and beyond repair. The money will come from the town’s unrestricted fund balance.
Ritz Nearly Accuses Mayor of Ethics Violation
Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, raised concerns of a “potential ethics violation” during the February Emmitsburg town meeting. In recent years, the town has received a matching Community Legacy Grant from the Maryland Historical Trust for $50,000. Because the grant is competitive, the town’s Sustainable Community Workgroup decides who is awarded grant money.
Ritz said because the mayor appointed all the members of the workgroup, it may be a conflict of interest for Briggs to apply for the grant. The mayor said he did nothing wrong and said it was a petty matter, pointing out his record, so far, of bringing $8 million in improvements to the town.
Ritz replied, “A perceived conflict of interest is not a petty matter. You never know what people are thinking. You never know what people may say. I don’t think that’s petty at all.”
The Frederick News Post reported that Briggs chose to avoid the possibility someone might think he had a conflict of interest and asked his wife to withdraw the matching grant application for $12,500.
Ritz also had concerns that the applications that had been left at the podium during a meeting for anyone to see were not completed as stated in the directions, and the workgroup meetings were not broadcast.
Town Benefits from Park Grants
The Town of Emmitsburg received a Community Parks and Playground grant for $146,263 to replace the old swing set and playground tower and install a half-basketball court at the Silo Hill Playground. The playground equipment and basketball hoop have been installed; once the weather is warmer, the concrete for the court will be poured.
The town received a Program Open Space grant of $6,000 (requiring a $2,000 match) to install two pairs of permanent concrete cornhole boards in Community Park. These will also be installed once the weather is warmer.
The town also received another POS grant for $8,250 (requiring a $2,750 match) for an outdoor storybook trail in Community Park. For this trail, 30 pedestal exhibits will be installed along the trail. The exhibits will hold exchangeable storybook pages to tell a story as the trail is followed. This project is being coordinated with the library.
The town received two Community Parks and Playground grants, totaling $120,686, for Memorial Park. The grants will pay for a playground addition and a half-basketball court.
Pump Station Change Order Approved
The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a change order from Rummel, Klepper and Kahl for work on the Creamery Road Pump Station replacement project. The amount of $251,660.75 will cover the need for full-time construction inspection services by a resident project representative. The original control only included part-time services. It also covers engineering construction administration and post-construction support.
Town Receives a Clean Audit
Michelle Mills and Addie Blickenstaff, CPAs with Deleon and Stang, presented the results of the annual independent audit of Emmitsburg’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2022. They 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 had any disagreements with the management.
Citizens Advisory Committee Appointments
The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed Shelia Pittinger, an out-of-town representative, to the Citizens Advisory Committee for a term running from February 6, 2023, to February 6, 2025, and Amber Phillips to the Citizens Advisory Committee for a term running February 6, 2023, to February 6, 2025.