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.