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Around Town

(Dec 2010) As the Emmitsburg Town Council considers ways to maintain a balanced budget in tight economic times, the community deputy program has come under scrutiny.

The cost for the three Frederick County Sheriff’s deputies is nearly $333,000 or about 21 percent of the town’s budget. Next year the cost of the deputies will increase more than $25,000 to pay for additional retirement benefits for the deputies, according to Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. He spoke to the town commissioners during the Nov. 15 meeting.

The town’s contract with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office ends on June 30, 2011. If the commissioners want to make changes to the contract, they need to notify the sheriff’s office by the end of this year.

The town currently contracts for three deputies who provide coverage specifically for Emmitsburg. Jenkins told the commissioners that, because county taxes fund the sheriff’s office and not residents, even if the contract was allowed to expire the town would still get a basic level of police presence just like other municipalities without their own police force.

Commissioner Patrick Joy favors reducing the program to two deputies because of how expensive it is. Other commissioners and residents said that the savings in money weren’t worth the risk to public safety.

No decision was made, but the topic has also not been placed on the agenda for December so far.

Water ban helped

Town Manager Dave Haller told the commissioners that the recent outdoor water ban the town put in place to conserve water and allow the town wells to recover from a dry summer was successful.

"That has allowed the wells to rise six feet," Haller said. "We were down nine feet. Now we’re down three. We were taxing it pretty hard."

Town parking free during holiday season

The town commissioners unanimously approved the free holiday parking schedule. From Dec. 20 to Jan. 3, visitors may park in town without feeding the parking meters.

Volunteers needed for planning commission

Emmitsburg needs residents to volunteer to serve on the town’s planning commission. The commission currently has openings for two members and an alternate who will help make planning and zoning decisions for the town. The commission meets monthly on the fourth Monday of each month if there are items to be considered on the agenda.

The Emmitsburg Board of Appeals, which hears appeals to zoning decisions, is also seeking an alternate member.

If you are interested in serving, contact the Emmitsburg Town Office at 301-600-6300.

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