New commissioner sworn in; wastewater plant move closer


Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Secretary Town Clerk Yvonne Pritchett, left, swears in new commissioner Gary Burkey and re-elected commissioner Jennifer Beletsky. Watching the proceedings are Commissioner William Lauck, Mayor Susan Dukes, and Commissioner Michael Dennis (behind Ms. Pritchett).

SECRETARY — A new face now sits on the Secretary Town Commission. At the July 18 town meeting resident Gary Burkey was sworn in after winning the recent election. Mr. Burkey left his home state of Pennsylvania and discovered Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1987 and moved to Secretary in 1991. After driving for Preston Trucking Co. He joined the State Highway Administration. After 25 years of service he retired and began a new chapter in his life with a run for town commissioner. Mr. Burkey says, “I ran because I always liked what the town does and I like to help people out. I think I can make a difference.”
After Mr. Burkey and re-elected Commissioner Jennifer Beletsky were sworn into office by Town Clerk Yvonne Pritchett they took their seats and the meeting began. Mr. Burkey was unanimously named president of the Town Commission. Former Town Commissioner Henry Short, who has also served as mayor, was appointed to the Board of Appeals by unanimous vote.
A replacement for the outdated Twin Cities wastewater treatment plant has been in the works for several years and is now inching ever closer to fruition. ARRO Group engineer Lucinda Stevens updated the commission in a memo on progress of the design phase of the new plant. The ARRO Group is tasked with engineering the project which is slated to cost approximately $14 million and will be primarily state-funded.
To satisfy changes recommended by the Maryhland Department of the Environment (MDE), the consultants have made substantial modifications on the initial design. ARRO plans to resubmit to MDE with a point by point response.
Mayor Susan Dukes explained, “We are still only 30 percent into the design phase because of all the modifications. We should move along quicker now because we’ll be moving into the plumbing and electric phase.”
Based on concerns that all keys to the town hall are not accounted for, Mayor Dukes suggested a security system used by the fire department that offers two door coverage for $1,513. She noted that with each change in administration it is possible there “are keys out there. I would feel more comfortable knowing there is limited access to Town Hall.” Ms. Dukes explained that the system uses “bobs” that access the locks. The bobs cost a penny apiece and can be changed as necessary. The major expense is the initial installation. Council members agreed to table the issue to research other options.
Builder Greg Koski requested a delay in paying a water hook up fee for a new home he plans to build in Secretary. After discussion, the council agreed to require payment either when the water is turned on or waived for 12 months after a building permit is authorized. However, as soon as a permit is issued for a sewage hookup, the fee for the Twin City Wastewater Treatment Plant is due.
National Night Out is always a big ole’ party in Secretary. The annual event proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that small town America is alive and well in Dorchester County. Last year over 125 people attended and enjoyed a picture perfect evening. The Sheriff’s department, MD State Troopers, and the town’s fire department participate yearly to answer questions from young and old and enjoy the camaraderie with residents. This year the event is Aug 1, 6-8 pm.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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