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From the Desk of
Town Commissioner Chris Staiger

(1/2012) I hope everyone has had a safe and happy Holiday! Thank you to the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association – and especially Bob Hance and the Carriage House - for sponsoring the tree lighting on the square as well as Christmas festivities down the street at the restaurant! I think Mayor Briggs made the right decision moving the tree lighting back to the square even though the traffic is a legitimate concern – thanks to the fire police and the resident deputies for providing the extra protection to keep everyone safe! Both events were very well attended and there seemed to be many more children at the tree lighting than in past years.

As one might expect, town business was relatively quiet in December… The president of Mount Saint Mary’s University, Dr. Thomas Powell, attended the December 6 meeting – making a generous donation to the town of $3000 that will most likely be allocated to making improvements to the town square. The Mount will have at least two more large building projects beginning over the next year or so including the construction of a Visitor Center at the Grotto as well as new dormitories on campus. We plan to work with the Mount to make sure that local businesses and workers have a chance to participate.

The town founding date debate was also resolved (again) in December. The town government has decided to adopt an Emmitsburg founding date of 1785 - which will now appear on town documents and advertising. Approximately five years ago, we decided to use the 1825 incorporation date on the town seal since this was inarguably the date of the creation of the town government. I think we all recognize that there is value in pushing the date further back in order to honor the 18th century heritage of our community. I hope that the 1785 date will be something we can rally around.

Customers of the water and sewer system will find a flyer in their next quarterly bill describing proposed changes to the sewer billing rates. Changes to the sewer billing rates are required to fund the construction and operation of the new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to be built over the next two years off of Creamery Road east of US 15. The new WWTP is required due to increasingly stringent environmental regulations at the state and federal levels. The town government has reviewed proposed rate structures at three public meetings – adopting a proposed implementation plan on December 6. A "Public Information Meeting" will be held at the town office on Thursday, February 16. The design engineers and town officials will be there to answer questions from the public. A "Public Hearing" will be held at the town meeting on February 20 for final consideration of the proposed ordinance changes / rate increase structure. Please read the flier enclosed in you next quarterly bill for more information.

At the December 6 meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved a project to reline sewer pipes along Willow Rill east and west of Creamery Road. We expect that this repair will help reduce the amount of storm water infiltrating the system and then delivered to the sewer plant for treatment. No one wants to pay to treat rainwater – which will become even more important at the new plant with its higher operating costs. Over the next two years, we will continue to systematically target and repair such problem areas – measuring our progress as we complete each repair.

Please contact your elected officials with your questions and concerns! Sincerely, Chris Staiger

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