Worcester Notes

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners discussed several items briefly at their second June meeting, held Tuesday. Here’s a recap:

Work on the final design of the new Mystic Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant was authorized by the County Commissioners Tuesday, paving the way for the replacement sewer treatment facility. The design is already 30 percent complete.

“We’re now ready to move into the final design of this project,” said John Ross, deputy director of public works.

The remainder of the design work will cost $641,000.

The county staff will review the design several times as work continues, to make certain the design is on track, at 60 percent complete, 90 percent complete and after the design is entirely finished.

Designer JMT Engineering will also apply for permits, assist in bidding out the project and awarding the construction contract.

Site survey and deed descriptions for delayed property transfers also come under the scope of work.

According to Ross, earlier property transfers were agreed to but never properly recorded and some parcels are still listed under the ownership of the Mystic Harbor Corporation.

“The plant property is the biggest one,” said Ross.

The deed changes are a housekeeping measure. At some point in the process, Worcester County will have to certify that it holds clear title to all the land affected by the construction of the replacement wastewater treatment plant.

Work continues on sewer line improvements at Showell Elementary School, with the commissioners approving design work for the waterline and the school’s connection to the sewer pump station.

Plans currently now do not call for the connection of the Showell Recreation Area, across Route 589 from the school, into public sewer service from Ocean Pines.

“We’re not going to run a line under 589 at this time,” said Ross.

The commissioners certified the Worcester County Board of Education budget, an action required by the Maryland State Board of Education.

The certification includes the budget amount assigned to the schools for the fiscal year 2010, $71.9 million, and the $9.2 million in school capital project debt service that the county handles, which is not part of the school budget.

While the amount of the schools budget has not changed, two weeks ago, the commissioners allowed the schools to transfer money back into instructional salaries from other sections of the school budget, while preserving some of the funding moved by the commissioners to provide more funds for materials of instruction. That category originally saw deep cuts by the school board.

The commissioners voted during budget deliberations to restore the materials of instruction funding.

Commissioner Virgil Shockley asked about the distribution of materials of instruction funding within that category, but the school board has not yet supplied that information to the county commissioners.

The commissioners prioritized waterway projects to support a request for Waterway  Improvement Project grants for fiscal year 2011, from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The list is an annual formality and does not mean funding will be approved by the state.

The first project on the list is the West Ocean City commercial harbor, followed by the relocation of finger piers and a ramp at South Point and the replacement of finger piers and ramps at Cedar Hall.