SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Board of Commissioners were sworn in at a ceremony Tuesday morning and welcomed new commissioners Jim Bunting representing District 6 and Merrill W. Lockfaw Jr. representing District 1.
The commissioners approved a request to honor recently deceased civic leader Tom Patton by renaming the road that leads past the UMES Paul S. Sarbanes Coastal Ecology Center to the Rackliffe House Tom Patton Lane.
Joan Jenkins , co-vice president of the Rackliffe House Trust, wrote to the commissioners asking for the change citing Patton’s devotion to the project.
“Tom had the vision to see what it could be and wanted so much to turn Rackliffe House into a Heritage Museum so that others could learn the history of life on our coastal bays,” Jenkins wrote.
Public Works director John Tustin told the commissioners that Assateague Island State Park, the only other landowner on the street, endorsed the name change.
The Board of Worcester County Commissioners re-elected Commissioner James C. “Bud” Church to the position of commission president for the second consecutive year and elected Commissioner James L. Purnell Jr. to that of vice president.
Church has served as a commissioner since being voted into office in 2002. As president, he will chair board meetings. Though he will neither make nor second motions, he retains his ability to vote on each of the issues reviewed by the board.
Purnell has served on the board since 1995. As vice president, Purnell shall assume the duties of the president in Church’s absence.
New Effluent Pipe
The commissioners voted to support the town of Berlin’s routing plan for state and federal permits to build a 4-inch force main from the current effluent spray site at Libertytown to the new spray site in Newark. The approval clears the way for Berlin to begin receiving state and federal money for infrastructure improvements needed to transport treated effluent to the new site.
The town provided the county with what Tustin called an acceptable routing plan for the project’s pipes to run along county right-of-way land.
Bid specifications have been completed and work is expected to start on the West Ocean City
Harbor boat ramp renovation project in February. Tustin told the commissioners the county already have $800,000 in grant funding committed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
He said the project is scheduled to last 120 days culminating in an early June opening. “If not fully completed we’d like to have a ramp or two [ready for the boating season],” Tustin said.
Bidding has begun on the Mystic Harbour wastewater treatment plant project and the process will close on Feb. 7. The project is partially funded through a USDA grant. Tustin told the commissioners any company interested in bidding on the project can purchase a set of bid documents at the county administrative offices for $50.
The commissioners awarded American Tennis Courts, a Baltimore company, the job of refurbishing the basketball courts in Showell and John Walter Smith parks. Sharon DeMar Reilly, director of Worcester County Recreation and Parks told the commissioners that the cold weather might postpone the work.