by James Rada, Jr.
Town Hopes to Dedicate New Flat Run Bridge to Fallen Firefighter
Mayor Don Briggs asked the Emmitsburg Commissioners for their support in a proposal he is making to the Maryland State Highway Administrate to dedicate the new Flat Run Bridge in Emmitsburg in honor of a fallen firefighter. Terry L. Myers was a member of the Vigilant Hose Company and died in the line of duty on February 15, 1999.
“I believe he’s the first and only company member to die in the line of duty,” Briggs said.
Approaching the commissioners was Briggs’ first step in preparing to send an application to MSHA.
Emmit Garden Playground May Become Handicap Accessible
The Thurmont Civitan Club, which spearheaded a new fully accessible playground for special needs children in Thurmont, has expressed interest in creating a similar playground in Emmitsburg. Emmitsburg currently has enough money set aside to build a playground in Emmit Garden. However, since it will be located in a floodplain, the Maryland Department of the Environment will need to approve the project. With the Civitan Club showing interest in the project, new plans may need to be drawn up.
Town Changes How It Will Handle Accrued Leave
As of June 30, 2017, Town of Emmitsburg employees had accrued leave time that totaled $128,328. Although it is unlikely that the town would have to pay out all of that time at once, the commissioners have seen that even one employee retiring, who has accrued a significant amount of time, can be costly. Also, a number of town employees have more than twenty years of time in and are nearing retirement.
To plan for future payouts, Town Manager Cathy Willets asked the commissioners to be allowed to create a new line item in the budget and begin making budget transfers to the line item, which will be used to cover personal time payouts.
The commissioners told her to proceed with the idea and plan to add between 20-25 percent of the needed amount into the line item each year until it covers the required amount.
Dog Waste Bag Theft
Emmitsburg has had a thief stealing the dog waste bags that it provides for people who walk their pets in the town’s parks. Three times so far, a thief has taken all of the bags, and it is beginning to add up for Emmitsburg. Each time, the town orders the bags, it costs $150.
Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman suggested that perhaps the town should consider buying waste stations where people could recycle their plastic grocery bags.
Algae System Adapting to New Algae
Emmitsburg’s new LG Sonic Algae Control System in Rainbow Lake has been performing as promised since it was installed. Town Manager Cathy Willets told the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners that now that the water level in the lake is dropping somewhat, a new type of algae is appearing. The algae control system got feedback on the new algae and is changing its sonic pulses to effectively destroy it.
Leak Detection Survey Results
Fluid Pinpointing Services conducted a system-wide leak detection survey of Emmitsburg’s water system this summer. The town owns about 75 miles of water lines. The system found four leaks that accounted for nearly 55,000 gallons of water wasted each day. One of the leaks had to be addressed by a property owner, and the town fixed the other three leaks. Town Manager Cathy Willets pointed out that the leaks amounted to nearly 5 million gallons of water lost each quarter.
“This is a recurring thing that we’ll have to stay on top of with our aging infrastructure,” she said.
Fluid Pinpointing Service is recommending that the town conduct a system survey at least annually, preferably semi-annually.
Board of Appeals Position Filled
Richard Kapriva was unanimously re-appointed to serve another three-year term on the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals.
Thurmont to Allow Cluster Development
The Thurmont Commissioners approved an amendment to the town’s subdivision regulations. The new change will allow for lots in a subdivision to be smaller and clustered together to allow for more open space in the subdivision. The smaller lots are expected to make housing more affordable. Also, the clustering of lots requires less infrastructure, so it is easier to maintain. The open space can be used for a variety of things, including a town park.
Moser Road Sidewalk Project Approved
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the Moser Road sidewalk project, although it may cost more than initially projected. The sidewalk will run along the south side of Moser Road, from Fredrick Road to the Thurmont Regional Library.
Originally expected to cost around $181,000, the final bid came in at over $215,000. However, Mayor John Kinnaird said that $20,000 of that amount is to manage traffic, which the commissioners will have town staff do. This should reduce the costs.
Also, the county has allocated $100,000 in its budget to go towards the project. Highway user revenue from the State of Maryland is expected to cover the difference.
Romano Concrete Construction will be doing the project. The company is currently installing new sidewalks in the Town of Emmitsburg.
Unexpected Sewer Repair Needed
Sinking roadways had been noticed in the area of Rouzer Court, Mantle Court, and Apples Church Road. When Thurmont town staff investigated, it was discovered that for some unknown reason, the ground beneath the town’s sewer lines in those areas had changed, leaving the sewer lines unstabilized.
Chief Administrative Officer James Humerick asked the commissioners to authorize repairs to the ground and sewer lines on Apples Church Road, behind Gateway Printing, into the residential areas off the road. The lines themselves aren’t badly damaged at this point, but the longer the problem continues, the more costly the repairs become.
- F. Delauter and Sons was the low bidder of three bids submitted, and the commissioners approved the company to do the work for $238,134.68.
Board of Appeals Positions Filled
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners appointed Rob Renner to serve as a member of the Thurmont Board of Appeals and John Woelfel to serve as an alternate member on the board.
Well Building Repairs Approved
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from Blue Line Home Improvements of Emmitsburg to repair the well No. 7 building. The repairs and improvements include removing the shingles and tar paper, making any needed repairs to the plywood, replacing the shingles and paper, installing new drip edge, soffits and fascia, and new ridge vents. The cost of the contract is $6,800, which is well under the $15,000 budget.