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Library plans continue, with relocation

Chris Patterson
The Gazette

The site for the future Thurmont Regional Library may have some wetland issues, but it appears town officials will proceed with plans to build there with a few changes.

The 25,000-square-foot planned library is slated to be built on town property off Moser Road, next to the town's electric company. Because of extensive wetlands on the site, Frederick County's Department of Public Works has suggested moving the library to an area overlapping with electric company land, Mayor Martin Burns said Tuesday.

Following a town meeting Tuesday, Thurmont town commissioners said the change would require re-platting the site to remove some land from the electric company and some from the neighboring property to create a new lot.

Commissioner Ron Terpko said he was concerned about the potential impact on the ability to build a new town hall at the site someday. Town officials have postponed those plans indefinitely due to financial reasons.

Representatives from Public Works are scheduled to meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the end of this month to show them the new site proposal.

Town employees earn bonus

Town commissioners agreed to give town staff a Christmas bonus this year of $150 each, but would not consider a cost of living allowance increase mid-year.

Commissioner Ron Terpko asked the board to consider giving staff an increase retroactive to the beginning of the budget cycle, which began July 1. He said a 1 percent increase would cost the town about $19,000.

No increase was given this year due to concerns about the cost of the sewer system repairs -- estimated at $1 million -- and because the board increased water and sewer rates to help pay for the work.

Terpko said the 1 percent increased could be paid for using the $26,000 that was saved this year when the town switched health plans.

Burns said he could not support the increase because of the water and sewer rate increases and because the town fully funded participation in the Maryland State Pension Plan this year. That change took some of the employees from a 30 percent retirement to a 67 percent retirement at a significant cost to taxpayers, he said.

Commissioners Bill Blakeslee and Hooper agreed with Burns that the matter was not about whether the staff deserved the increase, it was only about being fiscally responsible.

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