Charlestown will not extend water to Holloway Beach
— 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-
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.
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.