Residents praise quick road recovery

MIDDLETOWN – Town council and staff heard words of praise at the February town council meeting about how weather and road issues were dealt with late last month.

Former mayor Ray Steele addressed the council about how the public works department handled the water main break on U.S. 11 at 3rd Street that occurred on Jan. 20, days before a recent winter storm hit the area. Traffic was diverted from the area and a gravel patch was in place by the next afternoon.

Steele praised the speed at which the issue was handled, and he said some residents weren’t even aware that the break had happened.

“Some of us were aware because we observed you all firsthand, working under the cold and under really adverse conditions,” he said.

He also thanked the town for a job well done in removing snow and extended those thanks to Public Works Superintendent Donnie Welsh, who was absent.

Councilor George Smith said after the meeting that the gravel patch in place will remain on that section of the road until temperatures and weather conditions permit Stuart M. Perry Inc. to create an asphalt patch to cover the area.

As part of his reports, Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV read an email sent from a resident to the maintenance department that also praised snow removal efforts.

Councilor Scott Fink moved that the council approve an addition to the town’s personnel policy on workplace violence, but ended up withdrawing his motion after brief discussion by the council. Vice Mayor Thomas Simon said the language in the addition was vague and would invite scenarios of one person’s word versus another.

“I think while we should stand against workplace violence, I think we need to tighten this statement up before we put it in the personnel policy,” he said.

Other councilors agreed, and the addition will come again before council at its March meeting.

In the Public Works Committee report, Smith moved to approve a bid from David R. Dill Concrete Inc. to complete the maintenance building construction. He said after the meeting that he hopes the building, which was budgeted for $46,133.50 last year, will be completed by around April.

“It’s just something that we need – we’re growing in this town so much,” he said. “All our equipment is sitting outside in the cold weather and everything, we want to put them inside where they belong.”

“Our maintenance department has come a long, long way,” he continued. “We hired people, we got people in place … for the water main breaks and everything. People were there, we had people in place now.”

The town also voted to approve a resolution on Delegate Dave LaRock’s introduced House Bill 736 in the Virginia General Assembly, which would remove tax exemption from organizations like Stone House Foundation and Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation in Frederick County. The resolution opposes the bill and stated that the town didn’t receive notification about the bill before LaRock introduced it.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com