No Changes in Tax Rate Expected
Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs gave the town commissioners their first look at his proposed FY18 budget. The constant-yield rate as calculated by the State of Maryland will be 6 cents per $100 of assessed value. This is the rate that will bring in the same amount of tax revenue as the previous year.
He also noted that the preliminary budget does not include a cost-of-living adjustment for employees, but they will receive any step increases that they are due.
Revenue in the general fund is expected to increase $56,571 or 3.35 percent.
The water fund will decrease, in part, due to conservation efforts. The capital fund is expected to increase from $121,812 to $218,341.
The commissioners will now begin their review of the budget. It must be approved by June 30.
Algae Control Working Well
The preliminary data for Emmitsburg’s new algae-control system in Rainbow Lake looks good, according to Town Manager Cathy Willets. The new system, which cost the town $38,650 for setup and $13,000 a year for calibration, was installed in April. The LG Sonic system uses ultrasound to destroy the algae, causing it to sink to the bottom of the lake. Willets said that once data is available to present, she will do so, but she is pleased with the preliminary data so far.
Emmitsburg Extends Reciprocity to Waynesboro
Because of the Borough of Waynesboro’s generosity in allowing Emmitsburg residents to pay the Waynesboro resident rate to use their town pool this summer, the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners have returned the favor. Should Waynesboro need to close its pool for renovations in the future, residents will be able to swim in Emmitsburg’s new pool and pay the Emmitsburg resident admission.
Meeting the State’s Recycling Goal
The State of Maryland has set a 90 percent recycling goal by 2040. Frederick County has a group that is looking into how the county will be able to meet this goal.
“It’s going to take until 2030 to even intersect with the goals that the state has set for everybody,” said Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer James Humerick. “Luckily, we’re way ahead in actual recycling of plastic, glass, paper, cardboard, and those sorts of items, but this organic is going to be the big issue.”
To meet the state goal, Humerick said that it seems that single-stream organic collection is going to be the answer. He expects the county to institute a pilot program next year in Frederick City and the public schools to move toward this.
It also seems like a countywide program would involve fourteen local composting sites. The part of the county between Emmitsburg and Thurmont would have at least one, maybe two, sites. Each site would need five to six acres and would be able to compost up to 10,000 tons a year.
Humerick said that while he believes this is going to happen, cost will be an issue. Projections right now are that it would cost between $6 and $10 a month per household, and $500 to $700 per month for restaurants to pay for pickup and processing of organic material.
While the program would be voluntary at first, most likely it would become mandatory in the future.
Mayor John Kinnaird said that if the county doesn’t hit its 2040 target, the county could start withholding building permits.
While nothing has happened yet, Kinnaird said that he wanted to make the commissioners aware of what was in the works. “It’s going to impact every one of us, so it’s in our best interest to keep an eye on what’s going on with that,” he said.
Asphalt Overlays Approved
East Street, Lombard Street, and Shipley Avenue will be getting new asphalt overlays. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently awarded the project to L. W. Wolfe of Myersville. The project costs $95,453.75 and should be complete by the end of the month.
Commissioners Get Draft Budget
With the budget workshops complete, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners got to see the proposed FY18 budget that will go into effect on July 1. It is based on a $3,547,982 operating fund and a $425,000 capital budget. This represents a 3.1 percent increase to the general fund.
The commissioners still need to review and approve this latest draft by June 30.
Tree Saving Efforts Recognized
The Town of Thurmont is in the midst of replacing the dying ash trees in Community Park. With roughly 40 percent of the trees needing to be replaced, it is a labor intensive and expensive project.
The town recently recognized volunteers who have helped plant seventy-five new trees in the park. Thurmont’s Green Team, Venture Crew 270, Girl Scout Troop 81200, Boy Scout Troop 270, Cub Scout Pack 270 Den 1, the Catoctin High Leo Club, and the Frederick County Forestry Board received a Certificate of Appreciation from the town.
The town also received a national award from the National Arbor Day Foundation for the work it has been doing to preserve and replace the trees in Community Park. Becky Wilson with the Maryland Forest Service presented the Tree City USA Award.
A town has to meet four criteria to receive the award: (1) Celebrate Arbor Day; (2) Have a team dedicated to tree care; (3) Have at least $2.00 per tree dedicated to tree care in the budget; (4) Have a law to protect trees.
According to Wilson, only about 37 communities out of 147 eligible Maryland towns receive this award annually. This was Thurmont’s first year to receive the award.
Town Helps in Creeger House Restoration
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to donate $15,000 from the town’s unreserved fund balance to the Thurmont Historical Society “to use that funding solely for the purpose of restoring damage to the building that was uncovered to make it whole.”
Food Bank Update
Pastor Sally Joyner-Giffin, who manages the Thurmont Food Bank for the Thurmont Ministerium, recently updated the mayor and commissioners on the work that the food bank is doing in the area.
In 2016, the food bank filled 3,691 requests for food from 528 households. During this year, from January through April, the food bank filled 1,065 requests for food.
Because of refrigerators and freezers that the food bank was able to purchase with Community Development Block Grants, families can receive fresh and frozen foods, as well as packaged goods and canned items.
“To be able to give out fresh food has been a real gift to us,” Joyner-Giffin said.
The food bank gives out an average of 5,080 lbs. of frozen food and 3,000 lbs. of fresh food a month.