Charlestown, situated on the Northeast River, was established by an Act of the Maryland Assembly in 1742. It served as the county seat from 1782 to 1787. The town layout has remained the same with its original twelve streets. The 1742 town boundaries changed for the first time in 1993 when a portion of Charlestown Manor was annexed.
Beginning the 2000-2001 tax year, the Town no longer provides a separate bill for town taxes. Town real property taxes are included on the county/state tax bills sent by the Cecil County Treasurer's Office. Inquiries regarding amount of payment, payment options, change of mailing address, and whether payment has been made should be made to the Treasurer's Office at (410) 996-5385.
Most residents are billed for town water & sewer. However, if you live in Trinity Woods or Charlestown Manor, you may receive a Town bill for water and a County bill for sewer. An important health note for families with infants or small children - the Town's water is not fluorinated.
How often do I receive a utility bill?The Town sends utility bills on a quarterly basis.
If I just moved into town, do I have to notify anyone?The Town usually updates a utility account when the deed is processed. The Town does request new property owners to confirm their mailing address and provide both a home and alternate telephone number for emergencies to the Town Hall.
Why does the Town need an emergency number?An example would be if your pipes burst and this is not your primary residence. Your telephone numbers will not be released to the general public.
When are utility bills due?Utility bills are generally due 45 days after the bill date, after which a 5% penalty is added & a past due notice is sent. If, after 15 days past due payment is not received, a disconnect/reconnect fee is charged & water service is discontinued until payment is received.
Do I get a utility bill if I rent?The Town holds the property owner responsible for paying utility bills and they will receive the original bill. If you, as a renter, are making payment, you can call the Town Hall & be placed on a list of renters who receive a copy of their landlord's bill.
The Town has municipal trash removal, which you pay for through your tax dollars. When is trash picked up? Trash pick up begins 7 a.m. on Mondays except on the following holiday: Christmas. If this falls on a Monday, trash is picked up on the following Tuesday.
Does the Town have recycling?Recycling is not mandatory but is encouraged. Town maintenance workers will pick up recyclables on Mondays except on town holidays, when it will be picked up on the following Tuesday.
What are recyclables?Plastics, glass bottles & jars, aluminum cans, newspaper, cardboard, white appliances (washer/dryer, hot water heaters, stoves, refrigerators/freezers with door removed), bagged grass clippings & leaves, small limbs or branches (if more than 1" in diameter, cut into 4 ft. lengths), Christmas trees, furniture. Construction debris is not considered recycables. If you are not sure if the item is a recyclable, contact the Town Hall.
Where do I put it?Set your trash and/or recyclables at the curbside. If you have a fenced yard, trash and/or recyclables need to be set outside the fence. How will they know the difference between trash and recyclables? For the recyclables, use blue bags (like the ones gotten from Valu Food or Acme) or a container clearly marked "recyclables".
What do I do if they didn't pick up my trash/recyclables?Call the Town Hall & arrangements will be made to pick it up.
What do I need a permit for?Some examples for which a building permit is needed:
Removal of viable trees
Porch, deck or enclosure thereof
Building permit forms are available at the Town Hall.
Four copies of a signed and dated site plan, drawn to scale with the scale indicated, need to be submitted with each permit. This is a drawing with the dimensions of your lot, size of and setback measurements of all permanent structures on your lot, and the size and setback measurements of the proposed structure. Four copies of the building specifications/plans, signed, dated, and drawn to scale with the scale indicated, for the proposed structure also need to be submitted. Contact the Town Hall for more specific information.
Minor building permit: $ 20.00
Major building permit: $ 50.00
Some minor and all major building permits require county approval & permit & the need for such will be stated on your town permit when you receive preliminary approval. After receiving the county permit, you need to return the entire permit package to the Town Hall for final approval. After final approval, an orange card will be issued with your permit and is to be prominently displayed at your work site.
The Charlestown Planning & Zoning Commission meets the first Tuesday each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall. Permit applications need to be submitted 2 weeks prior to the meeting. For building permits to be considered by the Planning & Zoning Commission, the applicant must attend the meeting at which their permit is being considered.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
As a residential community, the Town encourages all residents to protect our kids and each other by making sure our pets are properly restrained, vaccinated and licensed. The Town follows the County's Animal Control Ordinance. If you have a dog, it should not be roaming at large off your property. Fines for a loose pet can be expensive.
To lodge a complaint about a loose animal or more information regarding animal control, vaccination clinics or licensing, call the S.P.C.A. at (410) 398-9555.
There is a Town ordinance which requires house numbers be displayed on every residence and business. Numbers are to be no less than 4 inches in height and affixed on or close to the residence in such a manner that they are easily seen from the street.
This helps ambulance, fire and/or police personnel to locate your residence as quickly as possible. In the case of an emergency where seconds may count, the simple task of displaying your house number may save a life.
Important Phone Numbers
Town Hall (410) 287-6173 Business Hours: Mon - Fri 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (closed daily for lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m.)
Fire/Ambulance/Police Emergency 911
Charlestown Fire Co. (410) 287-6451
Cecil County Sheriff's Office (410) 996-5500
The Town of Charlestown has an elected board of five commissioners who each serve a 2-year term. Commissioners are volunteers and are not compensated for sitting on the board. Town elections are held on the second Monday of January each year with two Commissioner seats open one year and three seats open the next. After they are sworn in, the Commissioners vote for their officers.
Where do I register to vote?If you wish to vote in all elections (general and town elections), contact the Cecil County Election Board at (410) 996-5310 for a registration form. If you wish to vote in Town elections only, obtain a Town-only registration form from the Town Hall.
When are Town meetings?Town meetings are held every second and fourth Tuesday each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Hall. Meeting changes will be posted outside Town Hall, and if time allows, in the Cecil Whig. The Town encourages all residents to take an active part in their municipal government and attend town meetings. If you wish to discuss a topic at length with the Commissioners, call the Town Hall by Monday prior to the meeting to be placed on the agenda.
What commissions does the Town have that I may volunteer to serve on?Planning & Zoning Commission
Historic District Commission
Board of Appeals
Openings on any of these commissions are posted at the Town Hall and published in the legal section of the Cecil Whig. All applicants must be interviewed by the Town Commissioners. For more information on any of these commissions, its duties, length of term, etc., please contact Town Hall.
TOWN PARKS & PUBLIC FACILITIES
This complex contains a ball field, basketball and tennis courts, and a walking track. Parking is available off Frederick Street.
Fair Green Park:
This park, located behind Town Hall, is geared toward the young children of the Town. The Town has a pavilion for picnickers. DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THIS PARK.
This park, located near the corner of Market and Water Streets, has a pavilion that provides for a nice view of the Northeast River. DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THIS PARK.
The main reason Charlestown was established was to provide a port at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. The stone wharf is a reproduction built on the cribbing of the original wharf. This area, at the corner of Water and Conestoga Streets, is a designated "free fishing" zone, which means you do not need a fishing license to fish off the wharf.
Public Boat Ramp:
The free public boat ramp, located at Water and Market Streets, is open year round to the public. Public parking of boat trailers is allowed in Parking Lot B only and requires a town boat trailer parking permit. Contact the Town Hall for permit information.
Public Parking Lots:
Lot A - located at Veterans Park and is primarily for vehicle parking for the park or pavilion. Boat trailer parking is prohibited.
Lot B - located at the corner of Water and Louisa Lane, this lot is for both vehicle and boat trailer parking. Boat trailers require a parking permit. For permit information, contact the Town Hall.
Municipal Boat Pier:
The Town has a municipal boat pier and rents the slips each year. If you wish to be placed on a waiting list for a slip, call the Town Hall or fill out a mail-in application form here. All boats using a slip on this pier must be Maryland registered.
This is a public restroom facility located at Veterans Park. It is open to the public during the boating season.
Tory/107 House:Colonial Charlestown, Inc., a non-profit organization, has lovingly restored this structure with its colonial tavern to reflect its past. Open house is held the third Sunday from 2-4 p.m., May through October. Tours may be given upon request. Come and learn about the Town's heritage.
Charlestown Volunteer Fire CompanyCompany meetings are held at the firehouse on the second Monday each month at 7:30 p.m. For information regarding membership, call (410) 287-6451.
Charlestown Elementary School Parent-Teacher AssociationThe P.T.A. meets the third Tuesday each month at 7:00 p.m. at the elementary school.