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Westernport praises workers; discusses equipment parked on streets

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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By Ronda Wertman

Tribune Correspondent

WESTERNPORT – The efforts of the town crew and water department garnered praise recently as the Westernport mayor and council recognized their hard work during inclement weather.

 “Our crew has done an unbelievable job for this town. They have done one fantastic job,” commissioner Allen Shapiro said.

“We’ve had more snows this season than the past five seasons,” said commissioner Phil Whetstone.

Commissioner Sarah Llewellyn offered her thanks to the water department, which has been out fixing leaks as well as fire hydrants during the storms.

“They are doing the best with what they have,” she said.

One concern raised by the council was equipment being left on the streets as the gas company continues work in town.

“It’s a hazard to our town, to our citizens,” said commissioner Judy Hamilton, noting that in some areas a fire truck can’t get through where the equipment is parked and it’s also a concern for snow removal.

Unpaid water bills are a continuing issue with 215 customers late on their payments. The council continues to urge those in arrears to contact the town to make payment arrangements.

As the town continues with the next phases of the water project, Shapiro suggested that a survey be included on the water bills to ascertain if those outside the town limits, but who receive water service are interested in being brought into the town and receiving other benefits such as street lights and snow removal.

“I don’t want them to come back with the water rates and say no one ever asked,” Shapiro said.

It was noted that residents were asked in 2007-2008, but nothing was followed up on.

“I think it’s worthwhile; all we’re doing is a survey,” he added.

Following up on discussion from January, mayor Laura Legge discussed the Nixle alerting system, which is used by agencies in both Maryland and West Virginia.

“It gives the town the ability to text an emergency out,” she said, explaining that for a one-time set up charge and an annual fee, the system would provide thousands of texts per year.

“People will need to sign up for themselves,” said Legge, noting that information will be provided on the water bills on how to sign up when the system is ready.

“I think this would be helpful,” she added.

“We don’t have TV or a local radio station. I think it’s money well spent,” said Shapiro.

With hopes of warmer weather, the council accepted a $7,000 bid for tree cutting in various areas around town.

The council has voted to hold its regular meetings the second Monday of the month. The next meeting will be held March 8.