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Town mulls charging residents for some calls

Ingrid Mezo

(10/4) Thurmont officials on Tuesday began discussing if they should start charging residents who call town staff at odd hours for problems not related to the town.

For instance, Mayor Martin Burns asked if the town should charge a resident who calls staff for a sewage problem in the middle of the night only for the staff member to arrive and discover that the toilet had been clogged by a diaper.

Commissioner Ron Terpko brought up the issue at a previous town meeting, but was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Burns said he felt that because the town’s regulations call for staff to use discretion when going out on a call, residents should not be charged because staff members could decide not to go out.

At the same time, he pointed out that sometimes it is difficult for staff members to determine the nature of a problem until they arrive.

Town superintendent Jim Griever said he would like residents who call out town staff in the middle of the night to be responsible for payment, especially when called out to the same location two or three times for the same problem that is not the town’s responsibility.

Burns suggested placing a mandatory warning, ‘‘one call-out is free" then future unnecessary call-outs are the responsibility of the resident.

Town officials plan to discuss the issue again next week.

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