James Rada, Jr.
(6/7) The Thurmont Town Commissioners are
still considering cutting off Cunningham Falls
State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park from the
town’s sewer system, but first they want to
meet publicly with the park superintendents.
The commissioners are considering the move
to reduce strain on the system and hopefully
gain more time to make needed sewer repairs.
They are also considering it as a way to show
the state and federal governments that the
town needs help.
“I say we put a valve on it and shut if off
now and say we’ve having some problems and
you’re not giving us any money,” Commissioner
Ron Terpko said during a recent town meeting.
“I don’t have a problem playing hardball,
but I want to play legal hardball,” Mayor
Martin Burns replied. This is because
contractual obligations require the town to
give the governments six years notice before
cutting them off.
Removing the parks from the town system
would reduce demand on the overtaxed system by
about 600,000 gallons a quarter.
Commissioner Bill Blakeslee urged caution,
saying, “I think it will be quite a shock to
some of us the financial implications of
shutting them off.”
The parks pay significantly higher water
and sewer rates than town residents. The
town’s water rate is $4.15 per 1000 gallons
and the sewer rate is $5.95 per 1000 gallons.
However, the parks pay $14.20 and $17.00
Terpko said, “We’re in a real bad situation
here and we’re not getting any help.” The
commissioners have been frustrated with the
fact that while the town has provided a
service to the parks by allowing them on the
system and the fact that the town is under a
consent agreement with the Maryland Department
of the Environment to fix the sewer system.
Yet, when the commissioners seek government
grant money to help with the system, it goes
to other municipalities.
Commissioner Wayne Hooper suggested that
the town meet first with the superintendents
with both parks to let them know what the town
is considering and whether they can do
anything to help.
The commissioners agreed to invite the
superintendents to a future meeting to discuss