Charlestown will not ex­tend wa­ter to Hol­loway Beach

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— The town com­mis­sion­ers voted Tues­day night not to ex­tend wa­ter ser­vice to Hol­loway Beach res­i­dents, end­ing a months-long dis­cus­sion with their nearby neigh­bors.

In Oc­to­ber, the com­mis­sion­ers also voted against let­ting the county use the town’s ex­ist­ing sewer sys­tem for a planned ex­ten­sion to the water­front com­mu­nity just out­side of town lim­its that largely con­sists of mo­bile homes.

Charlestown be­gan ne­go­ti­at­ing with the county for that project in late Au­gust. The county ini­tially of­fered to up­grade the town’s Ava-

CHARLESTOWN

lon pump­ing sta­tion in ex­change for use of the town’s the sewer sys­tem.

But town com­mis­sion­ers wanted more than just a one-time pay­ment and asked that the county share in main­te­nance costs for the por­tion of the sys­tem they would be us­ing. The county didn’t want bear those ex­penses, and the ne­go­ti­a­tions reached an im­passe, forc­ing the town to deny the county’s re­quest for aid in the sewer project that will serve 67 res­i­dents, two com­mer­cial prop­er­ties and 43 un­built prop­er­ties in the com­mu­nity lo­cated off Bal­ti­more Street on the west side of town.

Then, last month, the county sent a let­ter to the town and Arte­sian Wa­ter Com­pany about its in­ter­ests in also sup­ply­ing wa­ter ser­vice to the com­mu­nity, said Wib Pumpaly, town ad­min­is­tra­tor. Know­ing that many res­i­dents will want to tap into both pub­lic util­i­ties, the county is search­ing for a wa­ter provider be­fore crews break ground on the sewer project this sum­mer.

If the town were to sup­ply wa­ter, Hol­loway Beach res­i­dents would have to sign a doc­u­ment stat­ing they would not fight an­nex­a­tion into the town. An­nex­a­tion would in­clude pay­ing town taxes and com­pling with plan­ning and zon­ing re­quire­ments. On the other hand, Arte­sian, the county’s largest pri­vate wa­ter sup­plier, could in­stall ser­vice lines and charge the res­i­dents for wa­ter us­age with­out the need for an an­nex­a­tion.

Pumpaly said the town would also have to ap­ply for a larger ground wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion to sup­port the area if the town were to sup­ply the wa­ter.

Re­nee Ca­pano, com­mis­sion pres­i­dent, ex­pressed con­cerns about res­i­dents who do not want to be an­nexed into the town but do want wa­ter ser­vice. An­other is­sue dis­cussed was who would help sup­port the cost of the project.

Com­mis­sioner Bruce Hech­mer said it would not be fair for non-Hol­loway Beach res­i­dents to help sup­port the project through in­creased prop­erty taxes. He added that does not make good fis­cal sense to spend $1 mil­lion to give wa­ter to 60 res­i­dents. If the com­mu­nity were to be an­nexed, there would be ad­di­tional costs such as paving the roads, as well, he noted.

“Morally, it might be the best thing to do, but fis­cally, it would not be fair to the peo­ple who live in this town and pay taxes,” Hech­mer said.

With the board’s unan­i­mous vote against pro­vid­ing ser­vice, Hol­loway Beach res­i­dents will now have to look to­ward Arte­sian for wa­ter ser­vice.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

The Hol­loway Beach com­mu­nity will have to look to­ward the county and Arte­sian Wa­ter Mary­land for aid af­ter the Town of Charlestown voted against sup­ply­ing sewer and wa­ter ser­vice to res­i­dents.

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