In Mount Airy, Concerns Of Carroll And Frederick Merge

County, Town Leaders Discuss Waste-to-energy Plant, School

December 18, 1991|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff writer

MOUNT AIRY — Two Carroll commissioners asked their counterparts from Frederick County to reconsider building a regional waste-to-energy plant, dangling the possibility of establishing such a facility in south Carroll asthe carrot.

Revisiting a $300,000 four-county waste disposal study that has been gathering dust was one of several issues of mutual concern discussed yesterday among the five Frederick and three Carroll commissioners and Mount Airy officials at Town Hall.

The meeting marked the first time in recent memory that elected leaders from the two counties and the town convened to coordinate plans and share ideas.

The town's population of 3,964 is split betweenthe two counties, with 2,420 in Carroll.

Other issues discussed included building a regional high school in northwest Mount Airy for students from both counties on an 89-acre tract owned by the town; sharing operating costs for a new library and senior center under construction; and participating in a work session to develop an affordable housing development.

Carroll Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said it is "quite possible and feasible" that a waste-to-energy facility, which converts trash to steam or electricity through incineration, could be established at the Hoods Mill Landfill site. The county is considering dropping plans to expand the landfill.

Lippy said the Frederick commissioners seemed to dismiss the recommendation contained in the study in previous meetings because they didn't want a waste-to-energy plant in their jurisdiction.

Lippy and Commissioner Donald I. Dell, who recently toured the largest waste-to-energy plant in the nation, in Fairfax, Va., said they are convinced that such facilities are the best answer to solid-waste disposal problems. The plants reducethe volume of trash buried in landfills and are subject to strict environmental regulations. A regional plant would be more cost-effective than a one-county facility.

Carroll Commissioner Julia W. Gouge did not advocate a waste-to-energy plant.

Two Frederick commissioners said they are concerned about environmental aspects of waste-to-energy plants -- especially monitoring the intake of hazardous waste -- and suggested establishing a regional recycling facility. But otherFrederick commissioners said they'd consider the idea.

Gouge asked the Frederick commissioners when they would pay the $200,000 promised by the previous Frederick board for the new senior center and library that will serve residents of both counties. She also asked that Frederick share proportionately in the operating costs of the facility.

Frederick officials said they had made a partial payment toward construction costs. Carroll is paying $3.7 million of the estimated $4.3 million project. Frederick Commissioner Bruce Reeder suggested discussing operating cost arrangements after the facility is open for at least six months.

Mount Airy Mayor Gerald R. Johnson Jr. and Councilman David W. Pyatt advocated the two counties work together to build a regional high school, saying a cooperative effort would be morelikely to receive state approval.

Students from Mount Airy attendhigh schools miles away in both counties.

A high school in town would help develop "community atmosphere," said Town Planner Teresa Bamberger.

Frederick commissioners said they are planning to build another high school by 1995, but in an area where demand is greater.

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