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Breichner criticized by council

July 13, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - The Funkstown mayor and members of the Town Council criticized Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner during the town's meeting Monday.

"In my opinion, he is a one-time mayor anyway," Mayor Robert Kline said at one point.

Breichner was elected mayor in 2001.

The discussion was sparked by a July 8 letter, signed by Breichner, to the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Funkstown has increased its sewer rates as the result of a state-mandated upgrade of the town's wastewater treatment plant.

The town has applied for an $800,000 Community Development Block Grant to help pay for a new treatment plant.

"In view of the fact that the Town of Funkstown has not shown any significant growth in recent years and that the majority of their sewage flows result from residential users, we would like to suggest that it would be more economical to invest in facilities designed to transfer their sewage flows to either the Hagerstown or the Washington County system," the letter said in part.

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Later in the letter Breichner wrote, "We believe that the town should investigate the feasibility of connecting to either the Hagerstown or Washington County system rather than investing in a new wastewater treatment plant to replace their existing lagoons."

Funkstown Town Councilwoman Sharon Chirgott questioned aloud whether Breichner's letter might jeopardize the town's chances of getting the grant.

Kline said he did not think that would be a problem since he has rebutted the mayor's comments in a letter of his own.

Kline and Councilman John Phillips III used the word "asinine" to describe Breichner's letter.

Breichner should "do his own homework on his own home," Councilman Kim Ramer said.

Reached by phone after the meeting, Breichner said the town ought to seriously consider his suggestion instead of pursuing a plan to spend more than $2 million to build a new system.

If he was on the Funkstown Town Council, his idea would be the first one he would want pursued, Breichner said.

"I may be thinking more about the Town of Funkstown than they are," Breichner said.

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