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Carroll County commissioners OK upgrades, maintenance for residents in Freedom District

The final portion of the most recent Carroll County Board of Commissioners open session might be best described as “dirty work” items on the agenda, but for many within the Freedom District they carried some importance.

Three Eldersburg areas are set to receive outdoor water meter vaults as part of a system-wide upgrade in the area thanks to a unanimous vote from the commissioners. Andrew Watcher, the county’s bureau of facilities chief, spoke during the Nov. 24 meeting and said 187 meter vaults will be installed by Mid-Atlantic Utilities, which will oversee and complete the project for a little more than $250,000.

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Watcher said the first group includes residential sites on White Cedar Court, Pitch Pine Court, and Longleaf Pine Road. The second group consists of Advisory Court, Agrippas Court, and Monroe Avenue, and the third is Tydings Road.

Watcher said the average unit cost for these groupings is $1,350 compared to an average cost of $2,500 incurred in past projects. The vaults are designed to house and protect the water meter equipment for residents in those areas, he said.

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The Freedom service area has approximately 8,700 metered accounts, Watcher said, and 8,230 of that total are residential users. With the completion of the project, Watcher said 7,197 of the homes will be fully upgraded.

That leaves a little more than 1,000 to go, with 33 of them being in townhouse units that can create a little more challenging task, Watcher said. The bureau expects the project to be completed over the next three fiscal years, Watcher said.

Commissioners switched from water meters to voting unanimously for the supply and installation of a generator at the Waters Edge Sewage Pumping Station on Johnsville Road in Eldersburg.

The purpose of backup generators at each of the bureau’s fleet of 23 pumping stations, Watcher said, is to prevent a raw sewage overflow into the surrounding environment in the event of loss of primary power supply.

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The existing 80-kilowatt generator, at 19 years old, is no longer reliable, Watcher said, and despite having only 700 or so hours of use. Watcher said there isn’t a financially practical rebuilding option available to the county, so Fidelity Power Systems is ready to replace and install for a little more than $54,000.

Commissioners agreed on the bid for approval, and Board President Stephen Wantz said, “that sounds like a heck of a deal on a generator, by the way. Well done on that.”

The commissioners next voted unanimously to allow for the completion of culvert repair and rehabilitation at locations on Oakleigh Drive and Wolf Hill Drive in Eldersburg. An initial project for repair work there was approved in September and completed in October, but Deputy of Public Works Director Douglas Brown told the commissioners that some corrugated metal pipe work needed to be fixed.

Brown said the additional work is set to be finished by Pleasants Construction, Inc, and cost about $9,100. Because the unfinished work was the contractor’s error, Brown said the next phase of repair will be at no cost other than materials needed.

Estimated time to complete the project at each site should be two working days, Brown said, weather permitting.

Meeting notes

Wantz said the county office building’s annual holiday lighting ceremony is set for Dec. 7 at 5 p.m., and while it will have a different look than in previous years the event will still be “very nice ceremony and it will be safely done with all best practices.”

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