Ed Waters Jr.
(3/6) Thurmont officials moved forward Tuesday night in discussion of the new town hall at 615 E. Main St. The former Dailey Funeral Home will be transformed to house town office staff, a public meeting room, conference room and workspace for town officials, if all goes as planned.
The town purchased the building for $225,000, of which $100,000 came from a state grant.
Mayor Martin Burns said the town has used the current building at 10 Frederick Road since the 1950s, and a more modern site is needed to better serve both town officials and the public.
"We didn't have to finance the purchase, and we will not have to finance the renovations," the mayor said. "We have been prudent in our spending of tax dollars."
Town Commissioner Ron Terpko said the current building will be used by the Thurmont Food Bank, which needs additional space and a more accessible location.
"The food bank is a way of life for many today. That would be a way to help the community," Terpko said.
Burns said the upstairs of the former funeral home could be used to house computer servers, storage and possibly a small conference room.
Town Commissioner Bill Buehrer recommended getting a professional heating-ventilation-air conditioning expert in to assess the climate control system. Currently, the building is partially heated with steam and partially by heat pump. Buehrer also recommended having an interior designer work on the layout of the building and furniture.
The commissioners and town chief administrative officer Bill Blakeslee agreed that a "rundown" garage in the back would be removed, once the building and the garage had asbestos removed.
The new town hall project is anticipated to take about a year.
In other business, town officials approved changes to the employee handbook and the publication of an employee pamphlet. The latter would be a quick reference for employees on such items as time off, drug policy and insurance costs, both by the employee and the town, and a list of department heads, town officials and contact telephone numbers.
Handbook changes were minor, including such items as proper attire for office personnel, giving employees flexible time to take off for their birthday and basing overtime on daily, rather than weekly, hours of time worked.
The handbook and pamphlet were approved by commissioners Buehrer and Terpko, as well as commissioners John Kinnaird and Wayne Hooper and the mayor.
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