Town officials address concerns over pit bull ban

Thursday, May 25, 2006






Thurmont Commissioner Ron Terpko said during Tuesday’s meeting that he and other town officials had received e-mails and letters from across the country asking them not to ban pit bulls.

The correspondence included a U.S. priority mail package sent separately to each member of the town’s board, and to the mayor, from the American Breeder’s Association in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In one e-mail Terpko received, the writer had asked that the town be removed from its listing on the DogFriendly.com Web site, which lists communities across the nation that are dog-friendly as a resource for people who travel with their pets.

‘‘I did not say I wanted to ban pit bulls,” Terpko said.

Commissioner Wayne Hooper said last week that he believed Commissioners Bill Blakeslee and Terpko would vote along with him in favor of a breed-specific ban, which has not been formally introduced.

Mayor Martin Burns said he found it funny that so many people responded to recent news articles about a potential pit bull ban in the town.

‘‘You would not believe the amount of people that have come out against the pit bull ban,” he said. ‘‘We’ve had lobbyists from out of state respond worse than any reaction to a developer I’ve ever seen. ... But we got the message [that people were generally opposed to a breed-specific ban] loud and clear.”

Blast-protection wall needed at new substation

Thurmont officials discussed Tuesday how the town would proceed with closing its old electric utility substation on East Main Street to fund improvements at a new electric utility substation opened several years ago.

Town electric superintendent Jim Greever told town officials that a blast-protection wall at the new substation would be necessary, and that they should budget for it in the fiscal 2007 budget.

‘‘The blast-protection wall will protect one transformer from shrapnel from the other one,” Greever said. ‘‘And transformers of this size do tend to explode when there is wiring fault. ... This wall is less expensive than the solid masonry wall, which would cost around $100,000.”

Greever said that if both transformers at the new substation were to blow, the whole town would ‘‘go black.”

‘‘When a whole town goes black, there’s problems,” he said.

Greever said it could take a long time for the town to get power back if it had to scramble to repair its transformers.

Commissioner Bill Blakeslee asked if the town could let the old electric substation sit while making improvements at the new substation.

‘‘Understand that I am hung up on the substation,” Blakeslee said. ‘‘Let’s say we get the wall up, and just let [the old substation] sit for eight months. That way we would not have to pay for demolition.”

Griever said that to run properly, the old transformers would require monthly maintenance because anything electrical tends to wear faster when not energized. He added that he wanted to be able to get the old substation demolished in the next couple of years to allow for open space for the trolley project on East Main street next to old substation.

The project involves bringing an old trolley that once ran along the Thurmont trolley to East Main Street, where it could potentially be used as museum.

Griever said it would cost between $5,000 and $10,000 a year to keep the old substation operational. Town officials agreed that might be worthwhile.

Recycling⁄yard waste pick up

Town Commissioner Ron Terpko said the town held its first yard waste recycling program over the weekend.

‘‘Forty people came,” Terpko said. ‘‘It was very successful for the first go-around.”

Terpko also said he would attend a condominium association meeting to address concerns from owners about not being able to participate in the county’s recycling program. The town is still hashing out an ordinance, which would make some forms of recycling mandatory.

‘‘They said the county refuses to give them bins for recycling,” Terpko said. ‘‘It’s hard for them to get it out [to the county’s recycling stations]. So I was wondering if it would be possible for us to pick up their recycling one or two times a week.”