Cumberland Times-News

November 14, 2012

Hearing set on county water, sewer plan

Public asked to comment at today’s meeting

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — A public hearing on changes to the county’s water and sewage plan are on the agenda for this evening’s Allegany County commission meeting.

“The Public Works Department — Engineering Division is endeavoring to make the 2011 Update to the Allegany County Water and Sewerage Plan, a current ‘one-stop shop’ re-source for all available county water and sewerage data. At the onset of plan creation, data was stored in several places and in various offices,” a county press release said.

The plan seems at odds with recent statements and actions of county commissioners, who have hired a law firm to challenge the state’s smart growth policies.

“Allegany County embraces the concepts of Smart Growth and Sustainability. To that end, the guiding principles of this plan serve to facilitate compact development, concentrating new development within or adjacent to existing areas of development ... and encouraging new land uses in areas where they can be adequately supported by infrastructure,” according to the document.

Allegany County commissioners have voted to contribute up to $25,000 to pay a law firm that is representing half a dozen counties in an effort to change the current plan to fight Chesapeake Bay pollution.

Funk and Bolton said it hopes to have at least 10 counties buy into the fight, which is designed to be more of a lobbying effort than a lawsuit, commission President Michael McKay said.

The $25,000 will go into a special escrow account at the firm and will not be funneled through other jurisdictions, county officials said.

In October, the law firm made a presentation to county commissioners about their plans.

The Conowingo Dam is the largest single contributor to Chesapeake Bay pollution, and no one is doing anything about the dam, firm members said in a previous presentation to commissioners.

“It’s the elephant in the room right now,” said Charles “Chip” MacLeod of the firm.

Alison Prost, Maryland executive director of the foundation, agreed the dam is an issue, but not the major problem in bay cleanup efforts.

The law firm believes money being spent for bay cleanup is not having the desired effect.

Commissioners will also hear a presentation on the Allegany Girl’s Home by Bruce T. Anderson, the chief executive officer of San Mar Children’s Home.

Founded in 1975 and previously operated by the YMCA of Cumberland, the home is a temporary shelter for wayward teenage girls from across the state.

The new parent organization, San Mar of Boonsboro, is a nonprofit organization that operates a number of group homes and foster care programs for adolescent girls in Washington County.

The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. at the Allegany County Office Building at 701 Kelly Road.