Manchester Town Council voted unanimously last night to award a five-year contract for the town's trash collection to Hughes Trash Removal Inc., its current contractor and the lowest of three bidders.
The bids from Hughes, Browning-Ferris Industries Inc. and York Waste Disposal Inc. ranged from about $382,000 to $567,000 during the length of the contract.
The council decided to accept a five-year contract, rather than three years, and to add Christmas tree collection for the first time next year rather than have the town's Department of Public Works do the job under Director Steve Miller.
"For the time and effort Steve's guys spend, I would hope you would consider it," Town Manager Philip L. Arbaugh said of the tree pickup proposal.
The council agreed to the Christmas trees, but removed from the contract a proposal to have Hughes collect yard waste from April to November.
Councilman Daniel Riley recalled a town effort several years ago to have residents take yard debris to a town park for collection -- and no one did.
Several council members noted that the town would have to pay the cost for each unit, even if only 10 people used the service.
Also last night, Miller reported on the status of the Ferrier Road and Crossroads wells.
Residents cut water use by about 10 percent last summer, Miller said.
Still, two of the town's five wells had to pump deeper than normal.
Miller said a 72-hour pump test for the Ferrier well was completed Nov. 1 as required by the Maryland Department of the Environment to ensure other area wells were not affected.
The well pumped 70 gallons a minute without going below 53 feet.
"So things went real well out there," Miller said.
The new Crossroads well is about 75 percent completed, he said, and is expected to yield 35 to 38 gallons a minute.
Manchester, in the water-poor northeast corner of Carroll County, is often looking for new wells.
For five summers, its unofficial rallying cry has been "Brown is beautiful" in the face of a ban on outdoor water use, testing the resourcefulness of its gardeners in recycling and reusing water.
With the wells recovering from the summer drought, Mayor Christopher B. D'Amario said, "Effective immediately, I'm going to go ahead and lift the outdoor water restrictions so you can go ahead and use water -- for everything except watering lawns and filling the pools."
The next council meeting is scheduled at 7: 30 p.m. Dec. 14.