(9/7) People who pour fat, oil or grease down Thurmont’s drains will soon
face stiffer penalties for damaging the town’s beleagured sewage system.
The Thurmont Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously passed an
ordinance to increase the penalties against people who damage the town’s sewer
system. The ordinance is now in effect. Commissioner Wayne Hooper was absent
from the meeting.
The new ordinance holds individual users financially responsible for damage,
such as ‘‘blockages caused by an accumulation of fats, oil, and/or grease,"
that can be attributed to them.
Any person found violating the new ordinance will be fined $250. Each day
that person continues to be in violation will be considered a separate
violation. The old ordinance allowed the town to impose a fine of $100 for
every day someone was in violation, town manager Rick May said.
Anyone who is a repeat violator within a 12-month period will charged an
administrative fee of 1 1/2 times the cost the town had to pay as a result of
The ordinance includes additional requirements for grease traps and
The new ordinance comes while the town is in the midst of a lawsuit brought
against it by residents who live mostly on Ironmaster Court. The residents
filed suit against the town after sewage backed up into their homes in May
Among other claims, they say the town failed to properly maintain the sewage
system, which they say it is responsible for doing.
The town says the problems were caused by a 100-year flood, which no one
could have foreseen, and that the problems were inherited. Failing sewer
systems are a statewide problem, town officials pointed out.
In addition, town officials have taken the initiative to conduct engineering
studies to assess where the damage is in the town’s sewage system, and the
system is undergoing its first phase of repairs.
Public hearing for charter code review upcoming
The town will hold a public hearing on the review of its charter at 7 p.m.
Tuesday in the town’s senior center.
Mayor Martin Burns asked residents to provide the town with comments in
advance, so that they could have time to come up with well-thought out answers.
‘‘It will be just like a town meeting," Commissioner Ron Terpko said, adding
that people would be allowed to get up and make comments on the charter, which
town officials have now finished reviewing.
Plea to remember9/11 terrorist attacks
Mayor Martin Burns asked town residents to remember Sept. 11, a day which he
said he will never forget because he was in the Pentagon when a plane crashed
into the building. Burns said he thinks about that day every time he walks into
the building, where he works in the special ops program.
‘‘I think we’re too quick to forget," he said. ‘‘...I’ve had a son who
served, and [I would just like to ask everyone] to reflect on all the things
that we are thankful for."
People magazine to feature town board
Amid laughter from town officials and other members of the audience on
Tuesday evening, Mayor Martin Burns said he and other town board members will
likely be featured soon in an upcoming issue of People magazine.
He and other board members have held conversations for several months with a
writer from the magazine who is writing a story about ‘‘biggest loser contests"
throughout the country.
‘‘He’s supposed to go to his editors on Thursday, and does not know exactly
when it’s going to be printed," Burns said Wednesday.
Burns said he thought it was a joke at first.
‘‘He wanted pictures of before and after, so we’ve been feeding information
back and forth," he said. ‘‘It’s been really challenging to get pictures of
everyone, and I guess they decided to go with it." Burns said he and other
board members agreed to do the interviews with People because ‘‘it’s a success
This article and other articles like it in local papers brings public
awareness to health issues, and shows that Thurmont is contender among other
municipalities in the nation, and shows how town officials in the town have
made an effort to raise money for charitable causes, he said. Burns said he was
all right with the term ‘‘biggest loser" being applied to him in this case,
because ‘‘that’s a positive."
Burns, who has lost 60 pounds since March, had lost more than any other
board member in the contest.
In addition, Burns said that as a result of local new stories about the
contest, he had been featured as ‘‘Buddy of the Month" on a Web site that
provides support for people losing weight.
‘‘To embarrass myself further," he joked.
Town changestrash pickup schedule
Thurmont Commissioner Ron Terpko, who is liaison to the town’s recycling
commission, told residents at the Aug. 22 meeting that the town has changed its
schedule for picking up trash.
Starting Sept. 5, trash pick will occur in the western area of town,
including Frederick Road and the area near Woodland Park, on Tuesdays.
On Wednesdays, trash will be picked up in the north of town, including
Church Street, Pleasant Acres and Catoctin Highlands.
On Thursdays, trash will be collected in the south of town including areas
of Westview Drive, and Moser Road.
On Fridays, both sides of East and West Main Street trash will get picked
up, as well as trash on areas on and near Apples Church Road and Rocky Ridge
Town clerk Rick May said the town would send out maps of the pick-up areas
along with the electric bills on Friday.
Mayor Martin Burns said the town would work on getting residents on an
e-mail list to make communication more effective.