by James Rada, Jr.
Commissioners List ARA Projects
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners listed the projects they will fund with the $6.7 million the federal government is providing the town from the American Recovery Act. Many of the projects that the town had hoped to fund weren’t eligible under the new law, such as roads, electric, and sidewalk projects. The main focus of the funds was to be used for wastewater and water infrastructure projects.
These are the upcoming ARA projects for Thurmont:
• Replace water and sewer mains on North Church Street. The state is also expected to repave the street once the project is completed. ($163,000 for engineering and design; $136,000 for inspection services; and $2.8 million for construction).
• Replace the water main on Pryor Road and tie into Hillside Circle. The commissioners had planned to fund this using an already approved state loan. They will have to decide whether to use the ARA funds for an additional project or to repay the loan ($470,000 for engineering, design, and construction).
• A water pumping station on Radio Lane ($80,000 for engineering and development, and $820,000 for construction).
• MS4 upgrades to stormwater facilities ($120,000 for engineering and development, and $1.1 million for construction).
• Accounting software upgrades to allow online payments ($175,000).
• Expansion of the town office ($50,000 for engineering and development, and $262,800 for construction).
• Repair of stormwater catch basins on Frederick Road ($30,000).
• Repair of sewer lines near well 7 ($18,000).
• Storm drain repairs in Jermae Estates. This is completed and the town is asking for reimbursement ($17,385).
• Economic development assistance for businesses affected by COVID ($300,000).
• COVID-related wastewater and electric payment arrears ($50,000).
• Repair to sewer laterals ($500,000).
Board Approves Bridge Analysis
The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners approved $8,500 to have ARRO Consulting, Inc. study the bridges on Boundary Avenue and North Altamont Avenue to see if there are any structural integrity deficiencies. The bridges are starting to show some wear.
Problems With Pump Station
Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the Emmitsburg Commissioners that the pump station “can no longer keep up with these high flows” during the November town meeting. During October, the station treated an average of 889,000 gpd, while using 231,882 gpd. That means that the station was having to treat three times as much “wild water” as normal wastewater. The additional flow was due, in large, part to Tropical Storm Ida and another heavy rain event weeks later.
Another problem that continues to plague the plant is residents who flush rags into the system. The town had to hire a contractor to come to the plant to remove rags and grease from the system after staff had already removed five garbage bags of rags and grease by hand. Because these items aren’t removed during pumping, they are clogging the system. The town has tried to alert citizens to the problem, but it has not yet helped.
Mount Students Still Causing Partying Problems
The Emmitsburg Community Deputies still continue to receive complaints about Mount St. Mary’s University students living in town who are disturbing residents with their partying. The students have been warned in the past about carrying open alcohol containers in town and drinking in public. The deputies told the commissioners that they need to “escalate to the next level” their efforts to curb the problem.
Bernard Franklin was reappointed to the Emmitsburg Citizen’s Advisory Committee to serve a two-year term until September 3, 2023.
Town Declares Properties Not Needed
The Emmitsburg Commissioners declared two pieces of property the town owns as “no longer needed for a public purpose.” The properties are at 303 West Lincoln Avenue (now used as Christ Community Church) and 16715 Creamery Road (three acres of the water treatment plant property). This decision allows the town to set a sale price and sell the properties if the commissioners should choose to do so.