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From the Desk of
Town Commissioner Chris Staiger

(10/2012) Well, happy October everyone. It’s hard to believe how fast the year is flying by. Put away the yard furniture and start firing up the snow blower - Halloween and Thanksgiving will soon be upon us! Town elections were held on Tuesday, September 25 and my congratulations go out to Commissioners Cliff Sweeney and Tim O’Donnell who were both re-elected in an uncontested election. I look forward to working with them again over the upcoming year. Thank you also to election judges Dottie Davis, Charlotte Mazaleski, Sharon Hane, and alternate Paul Spangler – who spent most of the day at the old town office on East Main Street assisting the 64 voters who came to cast a ballot.

Business before the Board of Commissioners in September focused primarily on approvals for state funding pursued by the town office over the course of the year.

In an effort to promote reinvestment in, and revitalization of, the Emmitsburg Historic District, the Board of Commissioners approved Resolution 2012-07R at the September 4 meeting. This resolution paves the way for a $100,000 state grant through the Community Legacy Program. The money will be used to establish a fund to reimburse qualified property owners for a portion of the costs related to building improvements that meet the program’s guidelines.

Our expectation is that the grant will be awarded by the end of the year. When the program is finally up and running, the grant applications will be processed through the town office. There will be no additional cost to the town – although I will propose that town fees for permits, etc. are waived for qualifying projects.

Any property owner in the "improvement area" (roughly the ‘historic district’) who is contemplating a rehabilitation project should contact the town office to see if their project might qualify. Small and large projects are acceptable, so please ask! There is really no downside to this program. Hopefully it will incentivize some property improvements.

At the September 17 meeting, the Board approved a grant agreement for $28,000 through the state Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area program. This grant will require approximately $21,000 in matching funds from the town. A portion of this cost will be covered by "in kind" contributions such as staff time. A portion will be covered using money saved and reallocated by the Board from 2011 projects. And the balance of approximately $12,700 has been allocated from our "reserve" funds.

This roughly $50,000 in total funds will be used to develop possible re-design plans for the town square area. A consultant experienced in these types of re-design / revitalization efforts will be contracted to work with town staff, a working group of residents, and the larger community in order to develop a series of proposals.

The funds to actually implement any changes have not been identified at this point. But this is a solid first step in an effort to reinvigorate a past and potential town showcase. Town staff has developed an aggressive schedule that may see proposed plans available for Board consideration as soon as January, 2013.

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.

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