FROSTBURG — With three candidates approved for enrollment in an upcoming police training academy, Frostburg hopes that its police department will become fully staffed, the mayor and City Council announced at their recent meeting.
“We have had a great deal of difficulty in recruiting and maintaining enough police officers,” said John Kirby, city administrator, in an interview with the Times-News.
Officials hope the new recruits will bring the police department to a desired budgeted level of 17 officers.
The new hires will leave for a 26-week police academy training program in early January.
“They will be back as officers in June,” said Kirby.
The city continues to move forward on its 20-year combined sewer overflow abatement project.
“We are about halfway through the project,” said Kirby.
With a total price tag of $25 million, the CSO abatement project is mandated by the Maryland Department of the Environment, which wants the project completed by 2020.
The purpose of the project is to separate the city’s intertwined storm and sewer pipe system.
The outdated system has been a hazard to the environment because during heavy rains it allows for dumping excess storm/sewer effluent into the region’s waterways, including the Potomac River.
Frostburg chose to abate the problem by separating all of its sewer lines from its storm lines.
“We’ve been doing it in phases. Although we are about halfway through the project, we have about 60 to 70 percent of our lines separated,” said Kirby.
During a Nov. 21 mayor and council meeting, officials approved moving $197,975 from the water surcharge fund to repay the city’s CSO fund for recent phases of the project.
The city also approved two change orders from the Lashley Construction Co. for additional CSO work. The change orders were for $5,198 and $67,407.56.
The changes were mainly for the clearing of trees and other obstacles as well as adding manholes and creating two inlets to remedy a problematic culvert.
Following the separation of the Taylor Street to Bowery Street CSO lines, the project will move in 2014 to a section of lines running from Bowery Street down Paul Street.
“We want to continue. Money is getting much more difficult to get,” said Kirby.
Although the state is requiring the repair of the outdated system, funding has been difficult to obtain through state sources during the current economic times.
The city also transferred $100,000 from the water surcharge fund for an engineering study to determine how to best repair breaks found in water distribution pipe- lines.
Kirby said the breaks occurred in lines that begin at the filtration plant on the west side and run through the city to the industrial park on the east side.
The city is also moving forward with upgrades at its Savage Springs water supply site. Frostburg gets its water from two sources: Piney Dam and Savage Springs.
The council approved a contract of $625,341.50 with Braddock Construction to continue repairs and upgrades at Savage Springs.
An open board seat on the Frostburg Planning and Zoning Commission was filled by appointing Jeff Snyder for a term expiring June 21, 2017.
Greg Larry can be contacted at email@example.com.