Natural gas talk continues in Hurlock

HURLOCK — Natural gas lines are still being discussed in Hurlock. The issue was publicly raised by Hurlock Citizens and Seniors group organizer Frank Bittner at a recent meeting following a council decision to replace aging water lines. Mr. Bittner suggested installing natural gas lines at the same time. At the Aug. 25 town meeting, Mayor Joyce Spratt reported that Chesapeake Utilities told her they have been continually receiving calls about running the lines.
The Mayor noted, “We have had them here, talked to them, had lunch with them; we’ve done everything. There’s such a high percentage of homes in the area that would have to convert over to natural gas. If it was a development it would be easier to put the natural gas in as opposed to these older homes. People don’t have $10 or $12,000 to convert to natural gas from their existing systems.”
She said company representative Daryl Wilson would be glad to speak again at a town meeting but she does not anticipate a large audience. A meeting, probably in November, will be announced with the next municipal water bill. Natural gas is generally considered a safe, efficient, clean, reliable, and inexpensive source of energy.
The council unanimously agreed to transfer ownership of the town’s ALS house property, formerly used for an after-school program, to the Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company for potential future expansion. The lot is about .5 acres and is assessed at $85,000. Councilman Charles Cephas’ motion to sell the property to the fire company for $1 was unanimously approved.
Attorney David Thompson read two ordinances for council approval: Ord. 2014-4 to purchase 202 S. Main St. was unanimously approved for a cost, excluding settlement expenses, not to exceed, $3,549.45; Ord. 2014-5 to purchase 408A Charles St. for a cost, excluding expenses, not to exceed $2,733.17.
County Councilman Rick Price reported that three public hearings on previously introduced ordinances were held at the council’s Aug. 19 legislative session. Amick Farms will receive a $15,000 tax credit for their property on Nealson Street in Hurlock. A zoning ordinance regarding critical area protection for development and re-development in the MAP upper exemption areas and intensely developed areas and resource conservation areas was amended. An ordinance to close an abandoned 6,200’ strip on Phillips Gunning Club Road in south Dorchester was contested by some residents over access that would be limited for certain activities including environmental education and sightseeing. The closure is being considered because highway user funds were severely cut, said Mr. Price. This was tabled for 30 days to allow for additional input and further options.
The loan resolution with the state for the $1.2 million incubator project in the county’s Tech Park was approved.
A bill to exempt buildings that are used for agricultural purposes from Planning & Zoning code regulations will be considered for a public hearing.
In her report, Mayor Spratt said she received a response to the town’s request to purchase the ball field, located in Hurlock, from the county. County council President Jay Newcomb said the council would like to meet in executive session with the Town Council to discuss the legal ramifications and possibilities of a long-term lease of the field.
Volunteer cat wrangler Pat Finley announced that the next clinic to spay/neuter feral or stray cats at Snip Tuck in Secretary is Sept. 13. She asked that any residents who want her help in trapping and transporting cats to the clinic may call her at 410-943-0333 or 443-521-4269.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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