Williamsport town briefs

June 10, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

Little League to host state tournament

WILLIAMSPORT - The Conococheague Little League will host the 2004 state championship tournament, league representative Walter Williams told the mayor and Town Council on Monday.

The honor, which is not easy to earn, comes in time for Conococheague Little League's 50th anniversary, he said.

Mayor John W. Slayman appointed the entire Town Council and Williams to a committee to plan a celebration for the anniversary.

Debbie Everts, a Little League district administrator in Maryland, said Tuesday that the championship tournament for 11- and 12-year-old players probably will be held in late July 2004. The winning team will go to the Eastern Regional championship in Bristol, Conn., she said.

Early in Monday's meeting, Williams accused Slayman of criticizing the league for asking the town to help with "little things," such as photocopying.


"I don't ask for nothing unless I really have to have something," Williams said.

Slayman said Williams was mistaken.

Prepared with a list, the mayor read a number of things the town does for the league, including maintenance, utilities and various discounts. Town employees spent four weeks removing rock, which required a lot of overtime, Slayman said.

"I mean, I can just go on and on, Walt," he said.

Slayman and Williams apparently smoothed over their differences. They agreed that the league will go to Assistant Mayor Walter W. Tracy Jr., the chairman of the parks committee, when it needs the town's help.

Resident again urges employee drug testing

WILLIAMSPORT - Town resident Regina Yohe urged the mayor and Town Council on Monday to reconsider her proposal to test employees for drug use.

Yohe, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in March, said someone asked her to push for the policy because some employees have used drugs. She vowed not to name the employees or her source.

Edward Kuczynski, the town's attorney, argued that testing would not have worked before because it was too expensive, but Yohe found out that the price had dropped.

Still, Kuczynski said, the risk of violating an employee's civil rights remains. An employee who is fired after a positive drug test could sue on the grounds that drug addiction is a medical condition protected under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, he said.

Yohe said employees who use drugs should be weeded out before they, for example, crash a vehicle.

When it comes to worthwhile new ideas, "You shoot everything down," Yohe said to Kuczynski.

He countered by saying he looks out for taxpayers' legal interests.

Slayman said drug testing will be covered in an upcoming Maryland Municipal League seminar and the town can learn more.

Town applies for Open Space funds

WILLIAMSPORT - The town has applied for about $36,000 in Maryland's Program Open Space funds.

Town Clerk Bonnie J. Errico said Monday that the state notified the town that it never filled out paperwork to be reimbursed for an old project.

In the 1994-95 budget, the town constructed a pavilion, a jogging path and a nature walk. The work cost about $96,000 to build a pavilion, Errico said.

The state recently alerted the town that it would soon lose its $36,000 reimbursement if it didn't claim it.

Assistant Mayor Walter W. Tracy Jr. recommended that the town put the $36,000 reimbursement in the vehicle replacement fund to help buy a new dump truck.

It would replace a truck that is almost 12 years old, Mayor John W. Slayman said.

The council approved Tracy's suggestion.

Deidra Ritchie, who administers Program Open Space funding for Western Maryland, said Tuesday that municipalities must use Open Space money for park acquisition or development projects.

In this case, the town put the $36,000 into the project and is being reimbursed for the money it spent, she said.

The town's original funding application said the project would cost $40,000. The state was to contribute 90 percent.

The cost of the project rose and the pavilion alone cost about $61,000, Ritchie said.

The project was completed in 1995, but the town never asked to be reimbursed.

FEMA to help with costs of snowstorm

WILLIAMSPORT - The Federal Emergency Management Agency will give the town $10,982.01 to partly cover the cost of a February snowstorm, Town Clerk Bonnie J. Errico said Monday.

The town was allowed to pick the worst two-day period of the winter, then put in for 75 percent of the expenses from that period, she said.

FEMA has promised to transfer the money by the end of the month, but that's not likely, Errico said.

Electricity rate will increase July 1

WILLIAMSPORT - An electricity "pass-through" rate for Williamsport residents will increase "at least 25 percent" on July 1, according to Town Clerk Bonnie J. Errico.

That's when Dominion Energy Marketing Inc. of Richmond, Va., will take over as a provider.

As a consortium, Williamsport, Hagerstown, Thurmont, Md., and Front Royal, Va., decided last year to switch to Dominion from Allegheny Power.

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