by Lisa Tome
In mid-November, Rising Sun's town board passed Resolution 2013-19 which clearly states that the town's future water source will be Chester Water Authority.
In mid-December, Tucker Moorehead offered up an alternative plan which he says will save the town millions. His plan has water supply costing $1.3 million.
Water and sewer Commissioner George Walker said he's skeptical. He said that in both 2007 and 2010, studies were performed with the proposed McCoy property as a well site. Walker said that 2007 plan had the cost at $4-5 million. In 2010, that cost was up to $12 million.
He also said the McCoy property wouldn't yield what is needed and the legion wells would have to also be brought online.
"We have seen nothing in writing about the (McCoy property). All we have is (mayor) Fisher's word and he lied to us over and over," said Walker.
"I want the citizens to know we didn't throw that report out without looking at it. Because of the (potential) lawsuits (from developers) we can't take a chance. Digging wells is not a guarantee. Chester Water is the only guaranteed water source," said Walker.
This issue came to a head during the December 10 town meeting.
Walker stated that he took the position of water and sewer commissioner from Lyn Dugger because Dugger supports the new plan.
Dugger said the Maryland Department of the Environment has "given its blessing" for the town to look at this plan.
"What is the harm is gaining more knowledge?," said Dugger.
"The board voted to move forward with Chester Water," said Commissioner Travis Marion.
"This board has already made its decision," said Walker.
"Knowledge could open the door to save the town money...It is a risk. The lawsuits are holding our town hostage," said Dugger.
Walker said the board is "never" going to consider the new plan.
"I wanted to bring this up in front of the lawyers and the commissioners and I was shut down," said Dugger.
Resolution 2013-19 lays out a plan for the town's water and sewer infrastructure.
The tasks included are as follows:
• Revisit and revise the impact fee study.
• Adopt an adequate public facilities ordinance.
• Adopt a developers rights and agreement ordinance.
• Modify the current land development code.
• Determine who will be the town's water engineer going forward.
• Instruct the engineer to prioritize the design of the Maryland portion of the new water line.
• Instruct the water project team to continue discussions with Chester Water on the frame work of an agreement for water.
• Begin the frame work of a rate study to determine the financial needs for this infrastructure and to evaluate the existing financial capabilities of the town to fund this project.
• Identify possible funding sources for the infrastructure upgrades.
• Develop a strategy for dealing with the engineer and contractor on the delays at the sewer plant.
• Revisit what the final disposition of the town's existing well system will be. The general idea would be to keep the wells on line to maintain permit allocation, but possibly sell such water to other entities in need, such as Southern States.