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Emmitsburg Town News

Emily Salmon
The Gazette

(3/7/2001)

Emmitsburg will cut off services to those who don't pay

Emmitsburg residents who fail to pay the town on time may have their local services--such as water, sewage and trash--discontinued.

Facing a whopping $26,000 in outstanding sewage and trash bills, commissioners voted 4-0 at the Monday town meeting that services billed on a quarterly basis, such as water, excess sewer and trash, can be discontinued if the account is not paid within 45 days of the billing date. Services billed annually, including sewage and trash services billed in July, can be discontinued if payment is not received within 90 days.

Town Manager David Haller said the total of delinquent bills was even higher - about $35,000 - until a month ago, when town staff sent out a persuasive third notice of delinquency to customers. Haller said the town has about 800 households getting service, of which 126 were delinquent. He said he found that year after year, often the same households would wait nine or 10 months to pay their bills.

"It's amazing how if you look back year after a year you run into a lot of the same account numbers," Haller said. "It's kind of unfair to the 80 or 85 percent of the people who pay them right away."

Community center estimate increased

The cost of upgrades for a community center has been increased by Frederick County officials from $2.8 million to $4.2 million, Town Administrator David Haller announced at Monday's town meeting, which means the town will pay an extra $70,000 for its new offices in the center.

That brings the town's contribution to $270,000. Haller said the hike was due to largely major building repairs, including foundation problems, stormwater management and roofing repairs.

Commissioners voted unanimously to continue with the project, which will give the town both free utilities and a rent rate of $1 per year for the first 25 years of occupancy.

Construction on the project is tentatively set to begin in May 2002.

When contacted Wednesday, Lee Koontz, director of management services, emphasized the figures were only estimates for the project, which has yet to go before county commissioners.

Town amends sign ordinance

An ordinance regulating signs was amended by unanimous vote at Monday night's meeting.

The new language now gives the Emmitsburg Planning Commission the authority to grant variances from the code; however, appeals for variances must follow the same procedures as those for the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals, including the requisite public notice of the appeal and waiting period.

Town Commissioner James Hoover said Tuesday that the amended ordinance would give the planning commission "a little bit of flexibility for new businesses coming to town" that desire signs that don't conform to code.

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