Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


From the Desk of
Town Commissioner Chris Staiger

(7/2012) I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy ‘Community Day’ this year! A lot of hometown organizations have worked hard to provide many different activities for our enjoyment. I’m sure most of the details are covered elsewhere in the paper – I’d just like to say, "Thanks for your hard work and dedication to our town!"

State Senator David Brinkley and State Delegate Kelly Schultz attended the June 4 town meeting. They both provided an update on the state government’s May budget battles. It was interesting to hear these state legislators’ perspectives. They patiently addressed your elected officials’ comments and questions as well.

As part of ‘Public Comment’ at the June 4 meeting, the owners of the Emmitsburg Veterinary Clinic requested a change to possible uses allowed on their business zoned (B2) property on the west side of town. They have requested the opportunity to establish a dog park at the front of their lot parallel to their driveway. The Board of Commissioners tentatively plans to further discuss the nature and implications of this proposal at the July 16 meeting. Please attend if you would like to learn more or provide input.

In late May, the Board of Commissioners made a large number of changes to the proposed budget. We retained (and in some cases increased) funding for public services and equipment repair and replacement as well as necessary capital improvements such as road and other infrastructure repairs – all while also maintaining the existing tax rate. On June 4, the General Fund Budget which pays for most administrative and public services, the Capital Improvements Plan which funds our infrastructure improvements and repairs, and the Sewer and Water Enterprise Funds which manage our sewer and water related revenues and expenses were all approved for the fiscal year 2013 which began on July 1.

Due to the recent drop in property assessments I would expect the July property tax bill for most Emmitsburg property owners to drop as much as twenty percent versus last year. Many neighboring municipalities have increased their tax rates to counteract this drop in property tax assessments. Residents of those towns will not see their municipal tax bills decrease as we will in Emmitsburg.

At the June 18 meeting, the Community Deputies requested the consideration and possible adoption of a new ordinance to regulate moped and scooter users who live in town. These methods of transportation have become much more common over the last few years – undoubtedly because they offer a cheaper alternative to cars.

The deputies are concerned that not all drivers of scooters and mopeds in town are properly licensed and insured as required by state law. If they are not licensed and insured, the deputies believe they represent both a threat and a potential liability to the remaining residents of town – unlicensed drivers may not have the skills to avoid trouble while uninsured drivers may not be able to compensate property owners for any damage they cause.

Therefore, the deputies have requested that town staff and the Board of Commissioners consider a new ordinance requiring that all mopeds and scooters owned by town residents be registered and provided with a municipal tag/sticker. I believe this proposal will be further discussed as an agenda item on July 16. Please plan to attend if you have questions or comments.

Also on June 18, Commissioner O’Donnell reviewed a proposal from the Trail Conservancy to partner with the town in an effort to allocate their existing grant funding to the ongoing Multi User Trail project in the vicinity of Rainbow Lake. Up to $25,000 could be available to complete construction of the Beginner Trail as well as start construction of a longer and more challenging Intermediate Trail. The required 20% town funds match could be accomplished using ‘sweat equity’ - volunteer hours dedicated by Emmitsburg residents to advancing the project. The Board agreed with the concept and has ask staff to develop a Memorandum of Understanding better defining each party’s rights and responsibilities for further consideration at a later date.

As always, I encourage your participation and input into these projects. Please consider contacting any of your elected officials with questions or comments. Sincerely, Chris Staiger.

Read other articles by Chris Staiger