Wastewater treatment plant expansion moving forward in Leonardtown; Casas moving from county to town staff | Local News | somdnews.com

2022-09-18 23:43:15 By : Mr. Da Jen Lee

Laschelle McKay addresses the Leonardtown Council on Monday, Sept. 12. 

St. Mary's County spokeswoman ALisa Casas speaks during a ceremony held April 5 at the new North County Farmers' Market in Charlotte Hall. 

Laschelle McKay addresses the Leonardtown Council on Monday, Sept. 12. 

St. Mary's County spokeswoman ALisa Casas speaks during a ceremony held April 5 at the new North County Farmers' Market in Charlotte Hall. 

They've been talking about it since 2015, but Leonardtown is finally moving forward with an expansion of its wastewater treatment plant. 

Town Administrator Laschelle McKay told council members on Monday, Sept. 12, that the expansion would increase the amount of gallons of water per day that can be treated from 680,000 to 1 million. 

The $18.1 million project includes land next to the wastewater treatment plant that the town purchased for shellfish protection tanks, McKay said. 

During the meeting, the town council approved a $15.2 million contract with Michael F. Ronca & Sons of Bethlehem, Pa., for the project. Ronca was the lowest of three bidders, McKay said. 

"We still have to go through the bonding" process, she added. 

The town has $5.5 million in the bank from impact fees that will help pay for the project. In addition, it plans to use $3.8 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds and borrow around $8.1 million, she said. However, the town won't need to borrow the funds until the end of 2023.

The project will take 18 to 24 months to complete, according to McKay. 

In conjunction with that, the council approved a $1.4 million contract with GDH Inc. of Bowie to provide construction management inspection services. 

Also, McKay announced that the town will host a public hearing in October in regard to a proposed increase in the sewer impact fee. The proposal would raise the fee from $13,000 to $18,000 per equivalent dwelling unit. 

It would go into effect 20 days after approval by the council and would only apply to new projects that are approved after that date, she said. 

The council will also host a public hearing in October on a proposal to increase the late charge for utilities from $25 to $75. "We do an extensive, extensive job trying to collect" for past-due bills, she said.

Over the last year, about 200 late notices were sent out and 60% of them went to repeat offenders, according to a staff report. 

"The $25 fee has been in place for at least 22 years. We have researched other jurisdictions, and the $25 is entirely too low and gives repeat offenders no reason to pay on time," McKay said. 

The council also voted 5-0 to approve the final site plan for Phase I of the Meadows at Town Run II, which will include 12 single-family homes, 38 townhomes and one 36-unit apartment building. 

The 137.5-acre project includes three phases. It is located east of Route 245 (Hollywood Road) near Dry Docking Lane and includes the Wilkerson Farm. The land is a planned unit development with mixed-use.

Casas moving to town staff 

McKay said that the town has hired ALisa Casas to be the assistant town administrator, a new position that was created as part of the current budget. 

Casas, who is currently the director of communications for St. Mary's County government, is scheduled to start working for Leonardtown within 60 days, McKay said. 

"She'll be glued to me for the next couple of years, hopefully," McKay said. 

In an email on Thursday, Sept. 15, Casas said she has been with the county for 3½ years. She thanked Commissioner President Randy Guy (R) and former County Administrator Rebecca Bridgett.

"I'm confident that I am leaving the Public Information Office in competent hands ... I'll begin my new position in early November and look forward to the challenges and adventures that await," Casas said. 

Near the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Dan Burris announced that Councilman Tyler Alt resigned his position on Friday, Sept. 9, in order to take a new job in Florida. 

Burris suggested the council choose Heather Earhart to replace Alt. He noted that she was the first runner-up in the town's May 4 council election. Earhart placed fourth out of seven candidates with the top three elected.

Burris said it was Councilwoman Christy Hollander's idea to appoint Earhart. He noted that she has been on the town's planning commission since 2008.

The council voted 4-0 in favor of Earhart. Burris said she will be sworn-in during the council's next meeting.

Subscribe to this newsletter to have the latest obituaries delivered to your inbox weekdays at 5:30 pm.

A roundup of SoMdNews Headlines delivered to your inbox twice weekly, for free!

Your account has been registered, and you are now logged in.

Check your email for details.

Invalid password or account does not exist

Submitting this form below will send a message to your email with a link to change your password.

An email message containing instructions on how to reset your password has been sent to the e-mail address listed on your account.

Your purchase was successful, and you are now logged in.

A receipt was sent to your email.