(5/1) Mayor Martin Burns thinks that
the Thurmont needs to start planning now how
to make the Guardian Hose Company and Thurmont
Ambulance Companies part of the town
government rather than county organizations.
“We need to have a serious conversation
about taking it over now,” Burns said during
the April 28 meeting.
Burns said if the fire and rescue companies
are part of town government, then the town can
recover costs from the county as part of the
tax equity program, which in turn, can be used
to support the fire company.
“If we got some of the money back, and it
better be equal to what we’re putting in it,
it may be something to look at,” Burns said.
He said that Walkerville is thinking about
doing the same thing and the Frederick City
has considered the possibility. In the case of
Frederick City, it would have to purchase back
all of the buildings and equipment from the
county, which would be very expensive.
Burns said later that the idea is worth
discussing with the county, not to threaten
them but to present an option that the town is
seriously considering. None of the other
commissioners expressed an objection to
investigating the idea.
Burns was also not happy that Emmitsburg’s
mayor and town council broke with a decision
by the Frederick County Maryland Municipal
League not to support a countywide fire tax.
“If the roles were reversed, I would not
support it even if it lowered taxes for my
residents,” Burns said during the Thurmont
Burns called the position a “short and
narrow view” of the problem because while
residents in the urban fire tax districts like
Emmitsburg will see short-term relief in the
tax rate, it will continue to rise.
Hoover said he didn’t attend the MML
meeting or Emmitsburg would have voted to
support the countywide fire tax.
“We’d have to be crazy not to support a tax
decrease to our residents,” Hoover said.
He said his job as the Emmitsburg mayor is
to look out for the residents of Emmitsburg.
“Especially once the volunteer companies
all decide to go 24/7, you know the rate will
go up,” Burns said later.
However, Hoover pointed out that Vigilant
Hose Company is still experiencing a strong
level of volunteerism despite paying the
highest fire tax rate.
He also said that the argument that
suburban areas like Thurmont benefit from
mutual aid is true, however, what isn’t
pointed out is that Guardian Hose Company
assists companies in urban areas like