County Granted Exclusive Franchise to Provide Utilities Outside Elkton Causes Delay in Annexation Process

Elkton Town Meeting, March 2, 2011 — For a second time in several weeks, a  hearing was scheduled so the public could provide input on an annexation for about 28 acres of land at 189 Belle Hill Road in Elkton.  In February when the first public hearing was planned, the petitioners attorney, Dwight Thomey,  appeared before the board to request a cancellation of the hearing. 

The property owners had just learned that Artesian Wastewater Maryland, had been granted an exclusive franchise to provide water and service to unincorporated area outside the municipality by the previous board of Cecil County Commissioners.  But after getting in touch with Artesian, the utility couldn’t advise when they’d get around to providing sewer hookups to the area, although Elkton has lines in the vicinity and could provide service now.  Since lots more needed to be hammered out about the exclusive franchise and the ability of the Delaware headquatered company to provide sewer service, Thomey requested a delay in annexation process.

When it came up this time the attorney noted that until recently the owners assumed Elkton would be able to provide both services, but after finding out about the county granted exclusive franchise, they have been informed that Artesian wants to provide the service in accordance with the agreement.  “But we’ve been unable to get them to put anything in writing.  They keep telling us that they’re talking to you,” the attorney remarked, as he discussed the need to know when the property at Belle Hill Road would have sewer hook-ups.     

Considering the number of delays, the attorney asked if the town could go ahead with the annexation, but forgive taxes until the problem had water and sewer.  “Hopefully you’ll give us some relief,” Thomey said.

Mayor Fisona indicated that he too had been working to try to straighten things out.  “We do have some issues with Artesian.  As of 4 o’clock this afternoon I tried to talk to Ms. Taylor, but again she’s still holding her ground.”

As for whether the town would annex the property and not collect town property taxes until utilities are provided, Commissioner Piner worried about the municipality making a decision without having all the facts.  “I don’t like making something up.  Artesian is playing a game and I don’t want to be in the middle of it.  The deal between Artesian and the county is something they made.  The town of Elkton doesn’t have all the facts to push forward.”

Discussion about Commissioner Piners comments followed and all the board members agreed it was best to hold up on the annexation until more was known.

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