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Emmitsburg Town News

Emily Salmon


Emmitsburg to borrow $220,000 to renovate town offices

At Monday's meeting, Emmitsburg Town Council members unanimously agreed to borrow $220,000 to renovate town offices on the third floor of the Emmitsburg Community Center.

The resolution was one of four items passed on Monday: two dealt with money and two with water connections.

The funding for the renovations would come from a 20-year loan at an interest rate of not more than 5.75 percent.

Emmitsburg is acquiring the loan by participating in the Local Government Infrastructure Financing Program administered by the Community Development Administration, an agency in the Division of Development Finance of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

Town Manager David Haller estimated the town's cost would be $1,402 per month for the 20-year lease.

Haller said the next step would be having the bond issued through the state. He said town officials would send a final letter of commitment to the state. The bond issue should close in April, and the renovations are scheduled to start in May.

Other items passed by town council members this week include a budget amendment that frees up $95,000 in the capital improvement projects fund. The money had originally been set aside for the purchase of town equipment, including a grinder for the pump station, a mower for the parks, a backhoe and a pickup truck. These purchases, however, were eventually made using savings from last year, Mayor William Carr said.

An ordinance clarifying the procedure for the purchase and installation of water meters also was passed. Town officials now must approve all water meters prior to purchase by the applicant. Installation must be performed by the applicant and inspected and approved by the town. The town will then maintain the meters.

The final ordinance passed Monday set the water connection fee at $3,000 per residential unit for new service. Payment must be made at the time of the building permit application. Applicants for service in nonresidential buildings must consult the water and sewer service allocation chart to determine their connection charge.

Commissioners also discussed a potential ordinance that would impose restrictions on signs in the village zone district, which includes roughly all of Main Street, Seton Avenue from Willow Rill to the American Legion, School Street and Creekside Drive.

The town's planning commission had recommended laws on signs be changed to preserve the historic character of the district. Proposals included restricting the placement, lighting and size of signs, and limiting signs to no more than 30 inches long by 24 inches high.

Haller suggested the council send a memo to the planning and zoning commission discussing concerns over current commercial signs that might be covered by a grandfather clause.

Former Emmitsburg fire chief inducted into Hall of Fame

Former Vigilant Hose Co. Chief E. Eugene Myers was totally surprised Saturday when he was given the highest honor from the fire company's membership.

Myers was inducted in the Hollinger-Rogers Hall of Fame during Vigilant's annual banquet.

"I had no idea it was coming," he said Tuesday.

It's not the first honor given to Myers for his firefighting efforts. Last April, Myers was inducted into the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association Hall of Fame. The tribute to him then read, "It is also said of Mr. Myers that he lived and breathed nothing other than the Vigilant Hose Co."

Indeed, Myers has had a long and fruitful association with the fire company. He suggested innovations ahead of their time, such as multi-agency mock disaster training drills, the use of a large-diameter supply hose and purchase of a ladder truck. These implementations are now considered standard in fire departments.

Myers' dedication during his decade as chief exemplifies the qualities needed for the Hollinger-Rogers Hall of Fame.

"It encompasses those individuals within the fire company that throughout the years have given exemplary service to the fire company above and beyond what we would normally expect the volunteer to do," said Tim Clarke, president of the company.

Clarke said Myers' ideas were not always readily accepted. The reach of the former trucks stopped at the second-story, Clarke explained. When Myers suggested buying the ladder truck, "People just said to him, 'It's crazy; we don't need it. We've got the old style,'" Clarke said.

Myers was also instrumental in bringing the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Academy to Emmitsburg. He made two trips to Washington, D.C., to argue the merits of Emmitsburg after reading in The Wall Street Journal that the academy was looking for a home. The National Fire Academy opened on South Seton Avenue in 1980.

Myers is a pillar not only of the Vigilant Hose Co. but also of the town of Emmitsburg. He was born off Federal Avenue in 1927, and during his lifetime has served the town as mayor, town commissioner and chairman of the planning and zoning commission. Myers owned the Myers Radio & TV Radio Shack Store on East Main Street until he retired late in 1999.

"It's been a great pleasure," Myers said of his tenure with the company. "When you can help your fellow man that way and a life and property that way, it's really great."

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