PIEDMONT - Due to not having a quorum of council members present at the recent Piedmont government meeting, mayor Paula Boggs suggested a work session be held to center on the water project.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
PIEDMONT - Due to not having a quorum of council members present at the recent Piedmont government meeting, mayor Paula Boggs suggested a work session be held to center on the water project.
She added that during the work session only discussions would take place, and there would be no voting on any subject.
Boggs reported that she and Ben Smith, Piedmont’s water commissioner, attended a meeting with Westernport mayor Laura Legge and water commissioner Matt Ray to investigate the possibility of “going on their water, short term.”
Boggs said that according to information received by funding agencies contacted by Piedmont, “We will probably have to do that, or we get no funding.”
She also mentioned that Westernport is presently in negotiations with Luke concerning a water supply for that community.
With the expected agreement between Westernport and Luke happening within the next week, Boggs said that when that process is completed, “We could see Luke’s agreement,” and proceed with Piedmont receiving water from the Maryland community.
She said that in speaking with the Westernport officials, such things as fighting fires in town, flushing the hydrants, or filling the swimming pool, “There will be no break on these items.”
Boggs said that the information about receiving raw water from Westernport seemed to be because in 2005, Piedmont refused to go on Westernport water line.
Pat Amoroso, who was present at the Piedmont work session, said that as he recalled the 2005 incident and it “was cost prohibitive,” citing a cost of “$75,000 to set a water meter.”
He also said that at that time, “There was no need to go on Westernport’s water.”
Also present was John Amoroso, and he also recalled that a former mayor of Westernport had a meter installed along Route 135, to “sell water to Piedmont as long-range plan.”
Continuing, J. Amoroso wanted to know what the matter was with Piedmont’s water line, and perhaps a $200,000 bond could be obtained by the town for repairs if needed.
Smith did want to clarify that as of last week, “We have the right of entry to clean out our intake,” and that progress could start soon, however no equipment can be taken into the intake area.
He said permits are required to have the needed equipment into the intake area.
Smith said, “The real kicker is that we have to have the water line off of the bridge,” referring to the structure belonging to Verso.
Boggs spoke about the purchase of water from Westernport, and the price has not yet been set in stone, because the Maryland community is waiting on word in June 2020 from Annapolis of a possible raise in their water rates.
P. Amoroso said that if the cost of water from Westernport raises, “Piedmont rates will double.”
J. Amoroso said that if a water raise happens, the first thing that will happen is the swimming pool will shut down.
He added that what will happen to Piedmont is, “Lock the doors and go home.”
J. Amoroso said that what was needed was a plan, and to “get people around the table.”
P. Amoroso said that Piedmont has already wasted several months in dealing with the water situation, referring to a public meeting on that subject held in September.
The upcoming meeting to move forward with options for the Piedmont water project will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 3:30 p.m. at the council chambers