From the Mayor
by Mayor Briggs
Doughboy update: The town has gone through all of the steps prescribed by the State of Maryland and our advertised and sealed bid process. We are now going back and forth on details with the contractor. Repair work will commence after the town council approves repair costs at a future town meeting in October. Thank you, town staff, for your diligence in bringing this about.
It is always an honor to give the welcoming remarks at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. This year, President Obama spoke and gave his personal condolences to each of the eighty-seven fallen firefighters’ families. With the inclement weather, the Saturday night candle service was held at the Basilica and the Sunday service at Mount St. Mary’s University. The occasion was very special.
Congratulations to Emmitsburg resident, Conrad Weaver, on winning a Regional Emmy Award for his documentary, The Great American Wheat Harvest. Conrad is active in the community and a member of the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA). In the aftermath of his win, Conrad is not resting on his laurels, he is working on a second documentary about farming, called Thirsty Land.
Congratulations to Commissioners Tim O’Donnell and Cliff Sweeney on being reelected to the town council. I’m looking forward to working with both of you again.
The Town of Emmitsburg submitted its application for “Sustainable Maryland Certified” designation. According to our records, the town has earned enough points from its LED street lights, solar projects, and other sustainable projects to receive the State of Maryland award. The award ceremony will be conducted on October 27 at the Maryland Municipal League Fall Conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland.
At an upcoming meeting, the town commissioners will vote on the Mayor’s proposed nuisance ordinance that places a greater responsibility on the landlords for tenant disturbances.
The Lions Club, as always, was very busy in October organizing the Halloween events. The parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. at DePaul Street and Federal Avenue, and then a party at Vigilant Hose Company. Trick or treat time is 5:45-6:45 p.m.
I attended the county executive, mayors, and burgess meeting on October 8, where the main issues were county-municipality tax equalization and a presentation by the Frederick County Homeless Coalition. The tax equalization formula will stay the same. Proposed changes would have increased benefits to the City of Frederick and Brunswick, while decreasing benefits to other municipalities.
I’ve recently had three meetings with the State Highway Administration (SHA). Two were at the town office on the square revitalization and an update on tourism signage. The third meeting will be held at SHA main office in Baltimore to kick off the multi-use trail connecting the town and Mount St. Mary’s University. The Town of Emmitsburg, Mount St. Mary’s, and Frederick County are partners in this effort, which will receive eighty percent of its funding from federal and state funds.
by James Rada, Jr.
New Receptionist Hired
The Town of Emmitsburg has hired a full-time receptionist to replace the temporary receptionists who have recently been working at the front desk of the town office. Terri Ray, who was one of the previous temporary receptionists, will now be working full-time.
Snow Emergency Plan Revised
The Snow Emergency Plan in Emmitsburg was revised. When the Snow Emergency Plan is in effect, there will be no parking on cul-de-sacs in Southgate, Northgate, Emmit Gardens, Brookfield, Warthens Way, and Waycross Court. In addition, there will be no parking on Creamery Way. Also, there be no on-street parking, except along one side of Silo Hill Parkway and between 2 University Drive and 19 Robindale.
“It’s allowing them to clean the streets better, if we can keep these cul-de-sacs open,” Town Manager Dave Haller told the commissioners.
Doughboy Repairs Moving Forward
The Town of Emmitsburg received one bid to do repairs to the Doughboy WWI Memorial at the end of West Main St. It was an incomplete bid, though. Depending on closed-session discussions about the contract, it may need to a re-bid.
Although the town will have to allocate the money for repairs initially, it is expecting to be reimbursed by the insurance company of the driver that crashed into the statue on June 17. However, the insurance company has apparently been less than helpful.
“We may have to bring our attorney in to push forward with the insurance company,” Haller told the commissioners.
The commissioners also heard public input about the monument. Two issues have been raised. One is that the monument would be moved from its place at the west end of Main Street. The second is that the names of the African-American servicemen are segregated on the plaque, and some citizens have expressed interest in having that changed.
Martin Williams, an African American representing the VFW, said that the Veterans just want the monument restored to its pre-accident condition in the same place. As for the wording, he said that it was not racist. “That’s the way things were worded back then,” Williams said.
Tom Hoke pointed out that he could recall at least two previous times where the monument was vandalized. Rather than try to change it, the monument was simply repaired and put back up.
Sharon Williams said that the segregated names was not disrespectful to the African American soldiers, but leaving the monument laying against the base for as long as it did before being moved to the sewer plant for temporary storage was disrespectful to all Veterans.
Town Manager Dave Haller explained that even though the town had the equipment to move the monument, it was not considered qualified to do so by the state. “We would have wiped out our chance to get financial support from the state,” Haller said. The commissioners will discuss how to move forward at a future meeting.
For more information about the Town of Emmitsburg, log onto www.emmitsburgmd.gov or call 301-600-6300.
by James Rada, Jr.
Board Moves to Reallocate its Fund Balance
Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird asked the board to reconsider how it allocates the various budget fund balances at the end of each year. He suggested using a 50/50 split, with half of the fund balance being left in escrow and the other half being spent.
While the funds have had a positive balance in recent years, the balance could be negative in a bad fiscal year. “It won’t always be a windfall of funding that we can add to our budget,” Kinnaird said.
Commissioner Marty Burns said he wouldn’t mind that, but the board should also consider having a cap to the amount left in escrow so that it wouldn’t grow to be an unreasonable amount. He would like to see the town have a $3 million reserve.
Kinnaird is going to draft a policy that he will present to the commissioners so that it can be discussed and the details worked out.
Commissioners Order New Christmas Decorations
With new light poles throughout Thurmont, the commissioners voted to spend $9,656 on new Christmas decorations for the sixty-two new light poles in town. Each lamp pole will be wrapped in eleven-foot pine garland, and the first four poles out in any direction from the square will have a three-foot wreath with lights and a bow on them. Each pole will also have a large ribbon on it.
The commissioners discussed variations on how many light poles should have the wreaths, which cost $188 each. Commissioner Marty Burns hoped to do a test pole with only one wreath to see if residents like the decorations first.
“I’d rather do one and make the right call,” Burns said.
However, the order needed to be placed too soon for this to work.
The angels that will no longer work on the new poles will be placed on poles on Church Street, Frederick Road, and in the Community Park.
View the Town of Thurmont’s website at www.thurmont.com or call the town office at 301-271-7313 for more information.