MIDDLETOWN — An area business is one step closer to being able to expand.

Middletown council members at a Monday night work session approved moving forward with a plan that would allow Shaffer’s BBQ to tap into the city sewer line.

The owners of Shaffer’s found after purchasing the building that the septic tank they are on would allow for only so many users. The number of customers they can have at their site is about half of what they feel they would be able to handle, which is affecting the business, said town attorney J. David Griffin.

The business sits in Frederick County, just outside of the town- in fact, only five properties separate the business from the town’s main line, Griffin said.

The matter is complicated by the fact that four years ago the Frederick County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution stating that any county resident has to be on Frederick County wastewater and billed for that use.

The plan Middletown council members agreed to would result in the town building out its sewer main line to Shaffer’s BBQ, allowing the business to tap into the line. Talks are still ongoing with the county and others.

Shaffer’s would be responsible for paying for the expanded sewer line over a 30-year time frame.

The plans are still preliminary and a cost for the project is unknown.

Shaffer’s would be given credit a defray their cost if anyone else in that area decided to tap into the town’s sewer line, Griffin said.

Once anyone was tapped into the line, Frederick County would meter and bill them for the sewer use- complying with the county resolution, Griffin said.

Middletown would maintain ownership of the expanded line and be responsible for its maintenance.

“This shows how we can all work together. This shows how business-friendly we are,” Mayor Charles Harbaugh said.

Council members again voted down a pay increase for themselves at the work session.

Council member Scott Fink brought up the issue which had previously been heard and voted down in August. The pay increase would have been effective with the new council session beginning in January.

Council members Carole Snyder Jones and Carolyn Aliff quickly spoke against any pay increase.

“If we are going to spend money spend it on the town, not ourselves,” Jones said.

Town manager Rebecca Layman advised that the town had not factored in a pay increase for council members or the mayor in the upcoming year’s budget.

One item they are considering spending money on is a radio system for town employees.

Council members at the work session authorized Layman to research prices for a new system that would allow employees to communicate with each other.

Town public works employees had a difficult time communicating with each other at a recent water main break, having to walk around trying to find each other when they needed to talk during repairs, Layman said.

Contact Melissa Topey at mtopey@nvdaily.com