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From the Desk of Thurmont Town Commissioner Marty Burns

(1/2014) By now I hope everyone has enjoyed their Christmas break and prepared to head into a great new year. After 12 years as Mayor I am settling into my new role as a town Commissioner. Iím thankful to the residents who voted for me to continue my service to our town. You may not always agree or fully understand my decisions but know every single one is made based on whatís best for the town.

Mayor Kinnaird asked if I would continue to be the liaison for the County anti-drug initiative, and assist in getting the plans completed for the new town hall.

Regarding the Drug initiative, the County, along with the School Board, municipalities, Health Department, and Delegate Schultz are planning a host of informative presentations to be provided to parents across the county. The presentations will be held at local schools. If you care about drugs in your community, and if youíre a parent who cares about learning about signs of potential illegal drug use by your kids, then these meetings are for you. Please look for a press release for when and where these meetings will take place. There will also be a poster contest throughout the school system where kids can create an anti-drug poster. The winner will have their poster displayed across the county to try and show a standard front against illegal drug use. The inspiration for the poster contest was borne from the idea of Ms. Suzie Free.

The countywide effort above continues in large part, what was done by The Thurmont community, and spawned a new organization called "Thurmont Project Hope". This group of concerned parents is trying to leverage all ways to combat drug use, but also are try to get treatment for those who want/need help. The first Narcotics Anonymous meeting was held in Thurmont and from all accounts was well attended and a great event.

The construction plans for the new Town Hall are firming up. If you remember we purchased the property at 215 East Main Street and are putting in new bathrooms and making the building Handicapped Accessible. The drawings should be complete in a week or so and we hope to bid the projects shortly. After those projects we will send out another Request For Proposals for new Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning for the entire building. Finally, after that we will bid out the rest of the building. Most of the projects are grant funded and little if any tax dollars are going into them. Obviously weíd like to be in as soon as possible, but executing multiple construction projects may take longer than weíd hoped for. The sooner we move out of the current town office the sooner the Food Bank can move into their new home. Stay tuned.

Since Mayor Kinnaird was elected as the Mayor, the town has a vacant seat on the Board of Commissioners. That means that there is a two years term left on his Commissionerís position. Based on our Charter we have to hold a "Special Election" to fill his remaining two years remaining on the Board. That Election will be held on January 7th at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building.

On the official ballot are Wes Hamrick, Randy Cubbege, and Bill Blakeslee. Each one of the candidates has their own individual strengths and weaknesses. Itís your responsibility as residents and voter to educate yourself on each candidate and cast your vote for who you believe will be the best to work with the Mayor and Board of Commissioners on running the town.

I highly recommend you reach out to each and ask them questions, talk to people who know them, see where they stand on any given position. Itís important to make an educated decision.

Itís pretty sad to say that Iím relatively happy with the historical turnout of voters in Thurmont elections. Last Election garnered approximately 26%, unfortunately thatís fairly good in any election, but is truly sad that 70% of registered voters simply donít care enough to vote. There are countries that have fought and died for the right to vote in their country, and itís truly sad that most people donít think itís important enough in ours.

Thanks to everyone who does take the time to vote, it can certainly make a difference in taxes, fees, growth, and how to prioritize spending town revenue. So please donít forget to vote in the Special Election held on January 7th.

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