Perryville explores ability to call local state of emergency
— Town officials are exploring ways to keep residents and property safe in case of a local emergency, which may not be big enough to get the state involved.
While Maryland’s governor can declare a state of emergency — and did so statewide for the blizzard in January, the flooding in Ellicott City in August and the riots in Baltimore in April 2015 — Perryville’s elected officials want the authority to do likewise should it need to within its own borders.
The State of Civil Emergency could be used for such actions as curfews or evacuations, said Denise Breder, town administrator.
“It could be ordering people to close down if needed,” she said. “We already have an emergency plan. We want to be as prepared as we can be.”
While thankful that the civil unrest seen in larger cities has not visited Cecil County, Breder said the mayor and commissioners want to be ready just in case.
“It’s not so much about
funds, but the local resources,” Breder said, adding only a declaration from the governor or the president would signal the possibility of reimbursements.
Towns have only recently been receiving word from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency of the amount of reimbursement each will receive for the cost of shoveling snow and keeping staff on overtime during the Jan. 22-23 storm that dropped several feet of snow on Cecil County.
In that same vein, the board may also be considering establishing an official line of succession. Commissioner Alan Fox — who conducted the Tuesday night workshop in the absence of Mayor Jim Eberhardt — noted he had the role simply because of his tenure on the elected board.
“He’s absolutely right,” Breder said Thursday. “We do use the senior member.”
Other towns such as Rising Sun and Port Deposit have a board member who carries the additional title of deputy mayor. That person acts in that post should the mayor be unavailable.
“We may need to look into a system,” Breder said.