WESTMINSTER — Mayor W. Benjamin Brown joined the buy-American frenzy sweeping the country Monday by recommending the City Council change its purchasingpolicy to select local, state and American goods first.
The mayor's proposal, which was not acted on by the council, contends it is inthe city's best interest to purchase goods and services from vendorslocated within Westminster city limits.
Similarly, the proposal says the purchase of goods and services from vendors "whose place of business and place of manufacture" are inMaryland or the U.S. "is in the best interest of the city, providingcost, quality and service are determined to be comparable to those foreign services or manufacture."
"We see more and more signs of countries looking into the best interests of their citizens," the mayorsaid.
He said the council and the mayor would determine what is "comparable" when purchasing goods or services.
The council didn't comment on the proposal.
POWER PLAN IS ATTACKED
FREDERICK -- Potomac Edison's plans to run a 14.6-mile power line between Mount Airy and Frederick have come under criticism.
Lake Linganore and New Market residents told the state Public Service Commission that the $11 million power line would lower property values and dampen hopes for future development.
"The placing of 100-foot poles 400 feet behind our house will destroy our dream of a beautiful home site," Chester Wagstaff, a resident along the proposed route, said Tuesday at a public hearing.
William R. Davis, supervisor of area planning for Potomac Edison, said the line is needed to meet the needs of 18,000 new customers in eastern Frederick. Over the past six years, electricity use has risen 28 percent, he said.
HOLIDAY STILL ON HOLD
WESTMINSTER -- A City Council committee is still reviewing employees' request to trade one of their holidays to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday in January.
RebeccaOrenstein, chair of the council's Personnel Committee, said her panel was not prepared to issue a recommendation on the request at Monday's meeting. A recommendation is expected at the council's Feb. 24 meeting.
She said the committee has surveyed city workers and is still working out some sort of solution to provide the holiday.
SKATING STILL BANNED
WESTMINSTER -- No trespassing signs will remain posted at Eden Farms Pond until the City Council looks into other avenues to allow ice skating there.
City Attorney John Walsh Jr. said the the city should "exercise due care" in deciding whether to allow skating to continue. Several residents from Eden Farms and Willow Pond last month asked the council to allow their children to continue skating on the city-owned pond.
Responding to complaints and concerned about liability, the city posted no-trespassing signs at the pond until further notice.
The council Monday asked the city staff to talk to the county about either taking over the property or working out a joint agreement between the county and the city to continue to allow skating.
COUNCIL SAVES MONEY
WESTMINSTER -- The owner of an undisclosed downtown site has agreed to pay a $600 environmental testing fee, the City Council learned last week.
When the council was asked to pay for the fee, Councilman Stephen R. Chapin asked the city staff to approach the owner about picking up the tab.
The city already has spent more than $2,000to conduct an environmental study of the site. During the study, it was learned underground fuel tanks had been removed from the site. Tests are needed to determine whether there has been any contamination.
The city is looking at the property as a possible site for a proposed police department building.
WORK SESSION IS SLATED
WESTMINSTER -- The City Council will conduct a work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the results of a public hearing on the proposed expansion of Emerald Hill.
The meeting will be held at the Westminster fire hall on East Main Street. The council is lookingto provide additional work space for city workers, who find themselves cramped in City Hall.
Councilwoman Rebecca Orenstein has pushedfor the work session so council members have a better idea of where their colleagues stand on the issue. The controversial proposal wouldadd a 10,000-square-foot addition to Emerald Hill and construct a new building for the police department.
The cost of the project is expected to be about $3.4 million. Council approved the project last summer, but then narrowly tabled bids for the first phase in December.
During a public hearing Monday, residents concerned about the beauty and historical character of Emerald Hill, overwhelmingly urged the council to either rent existing office space downtown or renovate the Longwell Armory, a measure proposed by Mayor W. Benjamin Brown.
Residents had until Friday to submit comments to the council.
FOOD DRIVE SUCCESSFUL