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Smithsburg briefs

September 03, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

Trick-or-treat night set

SMITHSBURG -- Smithsburg's trick-or-treat night will be the night before Halloween this year due to sporting events scheduled for Oct. 31, the Smithsburg Town Council decided Tuesday.

The council voted to have trick or treat from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 30. Residents should indicate their participation by turning on their porch lights, council members said.

Plan would double building permit fee

SMITHSBURG -- The minimum residential building permit fee would double under a new building permits fee schedule introduced Tuesday by the Smithsburg Town Council.

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Under the new schedule, residential building permits would cost $100 plus 10 cents per square foot. Previously, permits were $50 plus 7 cents per square foot, Planning and Zoning Administrator Randy Dick said.

The town has not changed its permit fees since 1995, Dick said. The town is losing money on deck inspections, and the increases are designed to allow the town to break even on its permitting expenses, he said. The new fee schedule would also raise the fees for zoning certification and day-care inspections.

The town also introduced an ordinance repealing and re-enacting the town's building code, which would bring the code up-to-date to make it consistent with Washington County's latest building code, according to town attorney Charles F. Wagaman Jr.

The town will hold a public hearing on the ordinance and the permit fee changes at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 and will vote on both during its regular Oct. 7 meeting, clerk/treasurer Betsy Martin said.

Park work continues

SMITHSBURG -- Phase three of a five-year plan for Veterans Park was completed this summer with the addition of more paved trail, Smithsburg Parks and Improvement Commission Chairman Carlo Belella said. The park now has a total of 4,961 feet of paved trail, Belella said.

Belella also announced that the town installed a player's bench at the basketball court and ordered two small benches with money raised by Smithsburg Middle School students.

Grant requested

SMITHSBURG -- Smithsburg officials have requested a $31,000 grant from the state's Community Parks and Playgrounds Program, funded by Program Open Space, Smithsburg clerk/treasurer Betsy Martin said. If the request is approved, the money would be used for several covered picnic tables along park trails and an erosion-control rock project, Parks and Improvement Commission Chairman Carlo Belella said.

Safety day set for Sept. 20

SMITHSBURG -- Plans have been finalized for a safety day Sept. 20 from noon to 4 p.m. at Veterans Park, said Smithsburg Citizens Police Advisory Commission Chairman Charles "Bud" Lucassen.

The safety day will include information, demonstrations and freebies, Councilman Tom Chiarizia said. The commission is seeking volunteers to help set up for the event, Councilman Donnie Souders Jr. said.

Water being turned off at park on Oct. 31

SMITHSBURG -- The water will be turned off and the bathrooms will be closed Oct. 31 at Smithsburg's Veterans Park and Lions Park, Public Works Director William Loughridge said. In addition, the trash bin will be removed from Lions Park, he said. The parks will remain otherwise accessible throughout the winter.

Longtime employees honored

SMITHSBURG -- The Smithsburg Mayor and Council honored longtime town employees Randy Dick, Betsy Martin and William Loughridge on Tuesday for their years of service to the town.

Dick, the town's planning and zoning administrator, was presented with a 30-year service award. Martin, the town's clerk/treasurer, was presented with a 21-year service award. Loughridge, the town's director of public works, was presented with a 10-year service award.

All three jobs have changed drastically during the employees' tenure as the town has grown, Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said.

"I'm very proud of all these employees," Myers said.

Town donates $50 to Hospice

SMITHSBURG -- The town of Smithsburg made a $50 donation to Hospice of Washington County in memory of former Smithsburg Election Board Chairwoman Frances Kaye Duncan, who died Aug. 7, town clerk/treasurer Betsy Martin said.

The Smithsburg Mayor and Council expressed their sympathies for Duncan's family. Though the election board chairmanship is a paid position, Duncan often refused pay for her work, Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said.

Probationary nuisance list proposed

SMITHSBURG -- Properties to which police are called more than 20 times in a six-month period would be put on a "probationary nuisance" list and their owners would be fined under an ordinance introduced Tuesday by the Smithsburg Town Council.

The ordinance would add a section to the town code titled "excessive use of police forces" and is intended to compensate for the cost of police services. Qualifying calls would include incidents of drug activity, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, liquor law violations, littering, noise complaints, loitering, prostitution, public urination or indecent exposure, or undesirable, intoxicated or suspicious persons. Fines of $100 to $750 per offense would be assessed against the owner of the property.

Smithsburg Police Chief Charles R. Stanford said that until July, there were two properties in town that would have qualified as nuisances, but they have been addressed. He said he hoped the ordinance would encourage absent landlords to exercise more control over activity by their tenants.

The town is scheduled to vote at its October meeting on whether to enact the ordinance.

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