Tempers flare at town hall meeting on Pittsville water
PITTSVILLE, Md. – Residents have been coping with discolored water, and for weeks have had to buy bottled water, or avoid showers. Thursday a town hall was held at the Pittsville Fire Hall, so residents could ask town leadership directly what has happened, and question the its response and their communication with resident during this process.
It has been a long month for residents, many of whom have seen costs rise, or potentially had health incidents.
“One of my lifelong friends, and neighbor, actually had her skin break out after the water got bad,” said Pittsville resident Jared Schablein.
Melody Harley, another Pittsville resident in attendance said, “there’s a lot of expense that the people in the town incurred throughout a month’s worth of dirty, nasty water.”
The town first knew of the problem on April 10, officials say residents were notified quickly.
“We actually got on the, I’m not sure of the exact date, it wasn’t long after the situation happened, and we put notification out on our webpage,” said town manager Joe Mangini.
When you log on to the town’s website, the notice was posted April 30, almost a full three weeks later. It raises the question of how transparent the town has been through the process.
“What are you doing to improve transparency. How are we going to open up our community, and how are we going to prevent jumping from one crisis to the next,” said Schablein.
“And the way that this was handled, it should’ve been completely different. So they really need to fine-tune this and get it right,” said Harley.
Residents at the meeting complained of the lack of town communication, with one council member agreeing there needs to be improvement on Pittsville’s part.
One person said they were not notified additional chlorine was added to the supply, others complained of the lack of social media presence.
But officials hold firm they are committed to getting information out to the people.
Mangini tells us the town will be looking through its water plant to see exactly what projects need to be done to avoid this in the future. He says they are looking to the 2020 budget to address this, adding the town has a water impact fund and a sewer impact fund they can draw from without raising rates.
The next Council Meeting will be held on Monday at 7:30 PM.