Council updated on ongoing efforts, 2020 projects

by Geoff Fox

Town meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month, but that won’t be the case in January.

Because the General Assembly in Annapolis has their opening sessions on January 8, 2020, the January town meeting is going to be on Wednesday, January 15. The meeting would still be held at 7 p.m.

Maryland Municipal League usually holds a reception the night the Assembly opens their session and Hancock officials would like to attend.

Drug drop off box

Mayor Ralph Salvagno asked incoming Police Chief James Robison if he had noticed people still dropping off unused medications at the drop off box just inside the door at the Police Department.

“People are aware of it,” Robison said, noting he has seen people dropping off medications.

The chief wants to do more on the police’s section of the town’s website and adding information about the drop box is one of those things. Currently, the page is listed as “under construction.”

Town meeting town?

Councilman Tim Smith made a suggestion to Salvagno and his fellow councilmen about possibly holding a meeting with elected officials from neighboring Bath (Berkeley Springs).

Smith said he had attended the Cocoa Crawl and Christmas Parade in Berkeley Springs earlier this month and had dinner with Bath Mayor Scott Merki and Region 9 Planning and Development Director Bill Clark where they discussed the possibility of Hancock’s mayor and council meeting up with Bath’s mayor and council, “a little sit down thing.”

This would allow both town governments to talk about what’s going on in their town and what is and isn’t working for them. It could also have the two towns’ relationship stronger if they could work together on things.

Salvagno said it would be a great idea, however it would have to be a workshop type meeting open to the public, as officials would be meeting together.

He also said an invitation could be sent out after the first of the year and “invite them to our home.”

Closed session

Salvagno said the town-owned house at Kirkwood Park is under contractual revisions.

He also said there would need to be a decision in “relatively short order” about the town’s new water well.

Both items would warrant a special meeting this week, however it would be for the sole purpose of going into closed session to discuss the contracts.

Wastewater upgrades

Town Manager Joe Gilbert said the funding projections from the Maryland Department of the Environment for a new town wastewater treatment system should be coming back any time now.

Gilbert was told those reports for the proposed facility upgrade would be back within the first two weeks of December.

This is in accordance with the preliminary engineering report for the facility that had been submitted this past summer.

In those projections, the MDE could inform the town about state funding for the project.

“Then we can use that as our match in the 25% of funding to the federal government to get the entire thing funded,” Gilbert said.

Boat ramp agreement

Gilbert also said the Memorandum of Understanding with the National Park Service for the boat ramp area along the Potomac River is still with attorneys and the town input is in that document.

Projects for the first two years of the MOU include the boat ramp, expanded picnic area and playground, clearing brush, and potential use of the maintenance shed. The replacement of the canal bridge is also in the document, but has become a state priority since it was closed due to safety concerns.

“So when it comes back from them, approved by the National Park Service, I’ll present it to you,” Gilbert told town officials.

He said the MOU with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the Western Maryland Rail Trail is also in the hands of lawyers.