Thurmont Approves Engineering Design for Radio Lane Water Pumping Station | Municipal

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners agreed on Tuesday night to pay an engineering firm to draw up a plan to build a new water pumping station on Radio Lane that would link the town’s two water systems.

Using money the city received from the American Recovery Plan Act, commissioners voted to pay Hagerstown-based ARRO Consulting $72,070 to design the water pumping station and $6,230 to create a bidding process for companies to do the job.

The new station would increase the capacity of the city’s water supply systems and allow them to interact, Public Works Department Director Harold Lawson told commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday.

Currently, the city has a high-pressure water system on Eyler Road that supports Catoctin High School and the Catoctin Heights neighborhood, Mayor John Kinnaird said in an interview Wednesday. Its low pressure system supports the rest of the city.

A final cost of the station will not be determined until the commissioners have received offers. The commissioners had previously agreed to plan to use $900,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funding for the project.

East End Park ProjectCommissioners voted to pay Clarksburg-based Pleasants Construction $14,902 to pave a newly installed walking path in East End Park.

City employees completed the excavation and placed gravel on the pathway that connects the park’s playground to the skate park.

Pleasants Construction’s bid was the lowest Thurmont had received to complete the work. The other two offers came from:

  • RFP Company of Middletown for $21,044
  • American Asphalt of Columbia, Md., for $15,365

Thurmont received a $17,500 grant for the project. The city can use money left over from paving the trail to install additional amenities along the way, such as a bench, general manager Jim Humerick said.

Temporary Signs OrdinanceCommissioners reviewed the city’s ordinance regulating temporary signs on Tuesday night after planning and zoning official Kelly Duty was recently pushed back by residents for trying to enforce it.

Under Thurmont’s zoning ordinance, homeowners are not allowed to have more than one sign on their property that is more than 4 square feet or 5 feet tall.

To install a sign larger than these dimensions, owners must apply for a permit from the city’s planning and zoning office. They can only keep the registration for 60 days in a residential area or 30 days in a non-residential area, according to the order.

The city often hears complaints about the posting policy when election season approaches, Kinnaird said Wednesday.

Residents accused city workers of targeting political signs while enforcing the policy, Kinnaird said. But all of Thurmont’s brands are subject to the same rules and regulations, he said.

If the city were to create different rules for political signs from other types of signs, the ordinance likely wouldn’t withstand legal scrutiny, according to a memo the city attorney prepared for the commissioners.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that government restrictions on speech that focus on the content of the message – “content-based” – should be scrutinized more strictly than restrictions that do not – those that are “content-based”. content-neutral.

Currently, the city’s sign rules are content-neutral, regulating the size of signs but not what their messages can say.

Commissioners agreed to continue to enforce the existing signage ordinance.

Humerick thanked the stewards for their discussion of the rules.

“I thought it was important that our staff had the public support of the Mayor and Commissioners on this, as our staff are on the front lines of all the pushbacks we receive, and all the name calling and allegations,” did he declare.

Hamrick agreed. Responsibility rests with the commissioners, he said – not Duty or Humerick. If people want to complain, he said, they can call the mayor or come to a meeting and speak at the public comment session.

Insurance policyAlthough local governments in Maryland have been required since 2015 to file an investment policy with the office of the state treasurer, until Tuesday evening Thurmont did not have one.

Chief Financial Officer Linda Joyce said she came across this requirement when researching best practices for creating such a policy.

The city’s new policy, which commissioners approved on Tuesday, sets strict rules for how Thurmont can invest public money.

Joyce said she plans to invest the city’s American Recovery Plan Act funds to generate interest before the money is used for city projects.

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

Melissa C. Keyes