Questions To Consider
The first chance to address the new budget will be at the Jan, 27 work session of the Mayor and City Council. We will have the opportunity to express our options and possible concerns about the next year’s budget.
I believe Ocean City’s government has grown to a size, that it will not be able to sustain the town’s budget affordably into the future.
Therefore, I ask you to explore these questions:
1. Do you believe Ocean City is experiencing a recession the same as the rest of the nation and that the phrase “Ocean City is recession proof” is not true during this economic crisis?
2. Should the Ocean City Council deliver a 5-percent tax reduction below the $47,546,932 in property tax revenue collected last year?
3. Should the town council be reconsidering levels of service, payroll levels of all employees and benefit levels?
4. Can Ocean City reasonably prosper in the future with a smaller, leaner government that provides essential services and public safety?
5. Do you support an Ocean City management plan that reduces government’s role in the tourist industry?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you believe as I do.
My concern is that if the size of government continues to grow the cost of running government will price you and me out of our town. Each year it becomes more difficult for me to afford to run a seasonal business with year-round bills. The effort to extend our season into the shoulder months has increased business; however new competition and increased expenses has erased any gains resulting in no real net growth.
I believe it is time for business to guide tourism and for government to refocus the spending of our tax dollars on essential services and public safety.
Please join the Mayor and City Council in this important discussion Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall on 3rd Street. Any questions, call me at 443-235-4406 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph T. Hall II
(The writer is an Ocean City councilman.)
At What Expense?
I am mystified by some of our "conservative" leaders in Congress who say that we have to balance the budget on the backs of Social Security and Medicare – and I suppose on the backs of federal civilian and military retirees too and anyone else they can "stick" other than their own corporate supporters and other special interests.
Where were these people over the last eight years as the Bush administration and Congress irresponsibly cut taxes on the more wealthy (even in wartime) and ballooned the federal deficit to unheard-of levels?
We need economic recovery, but not at the expense of Social Security and Federal military and civilian retirees and Medicare/Medicaid recipients who did not cause the current economic mess but are being hammered by it as much as anyone else. We are all in this together.
Yes, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid will have to undergo some changes to align them more to demographic realities. But yes also, as the economy turns around we have to get our fiscal house in order. That may well mean tax increases. And a necessary starting point is gradually to increase the federal gasoline tax over time. That will encourage greater motor vehicle efficiencies, reduce our foreign energy dependency, aid the environment, and help to ease our budget deficits. A prior condition for any of this is political courage to state realities. Lawmakers need to lead, not pander.
D. Thomas Longo, Jr.
Adjusting To The Times
I’ve written before about Ocean City and the rising cost to vacation there. And with the recession rolling along, I’m glad the business I own is not in Ocean City.
Why? Last year, we spent probably $250 less then our normal vacation. We stayed only three nights, making sure one of them was not a Saturday night. Why? Motel is a lot cheaper. We bought only one new T-shirt instead of a bunch. No souvenirs for friends or family. And no eating out at breakfast. Only one all-you-can-eat meal since that is pricey as can be. It still cost us over $60 for two people.
This year we again reserved a room for three nights in May. Before Memorial Day again to save and no Saturday night. We assume there will be a lot of sales so we should save a ton of money buying our one shirt again and for our meals.
I’m sure most people this year will be doing the same things, assuming that they can even afford a trip to the beach this year. So, it should be a very rough year to be in business in OC.
I even had to let my subscription lapse of this fine newspaper. I do miss the paper copy with the ads and other things the web site does not publish, but I need to save money any way I can.
Good luck to all the businesses this year, you’re going to need it.
Support For Restaurant
It seems that the popular thing these days in Berlin is to express dissatisfaction of the former Solstice Grille located in the Atlantic Hotel.
I am going to do the unpopular thing and say that I actually liked the Solstice Grille. Heaven forbid the wonderful people of Berlin try and enjoy something different for a change. In fact, that is one of the main reasons why I did enjoy Solstice, it wasn’t the Atlantic Hotel, not to mention the food and service was outstanding.
And the way people have been commenting on the creative look of some of the staff there is shocking and down right ignorant. The last time I checked Berlin, Md. was located in the United States of America and people are free to express themselves freely.
It also legal and okay to not patronize an establishment if you don’t like it, and since it is okay to do so, I will not continue to shop in certain antique stores or will ever be purchasing any landscaping materials from a local greenery located in Berlin. Also just for the record, I prefer the look of orange hair over gray hair.
Cold Weather Items Sought
The Noel Community continues its outreach program during the cold winter months.
We are in need of gloves, hats, socks, and blankets. This Valentine’s Day, open your heart and share the gift of warmth during our seventh annual gLOVEs drive. Please consider dropping off a donation of a new pair of gloves or socks, blankets, and hats at the Ocean Pines Library on Cathell Road, the Ocean City Library on 100th Street, or the Berlin Library on Main Street between Feb. 2 and 13.
From your heart to theirs.
The Noel Community
Farm Funding Lauded
This week’s announcement that $23 million in federal Farm Bill funds are now available for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative is great news for the bay and for Maryland farmers. We applaud Maryland’s Congressional delegation and Governor Martin O’Malley for their steadfast efforts to ensure Maryland received this additional funding to implement vital, targeted agricultural conservation practices to help clean up the Bay.
This year, Maryland’s share of the money is $5.1 million, which will nearly double available funding through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for this purpose. According to the formula approved by Congress, funding to further reduce nutrients from agricultural operations will continue to ramp up over the next three years. The funds will be used to support nutrient management, cover crops, crop vegetative buffers and other on-farm conservation practices that help reduce pollution flowing into the streams, creeks and rivers that feed the Bay. These best management practices tie directly to Governor O’Malley’s BayStat initiative to show measurable progress in reducing pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. These funds also could help poultry and livestock farmers meet requirements of the new Animal Feeding Operation regulations going into effect now.
We are also pleased that Congressman Frank Kratovil has been appointed to the House Agriculture Committee. We look forward to his assistance in supporting Maryland’s agricultural and farmland conservation priorities in Washington as the State continues to grow smarter and greener.
Roger L. Richardson
Shari T. Wilson
John R. Griffin
(Richard is the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture; Wilson the Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment; and Griffin the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.)
A Comprehensive Program
Congress and the Administration are touting alternative energy sources to replace power production derived from foreign oil. They want to generate 10 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. energy needs from alternative sources.
Most of the alternative energy would have to be generated from wind power systems. If we assume 10 percent of the U.S. energy requirements consist of 100,000 megawatts, and each wind turbine produces approximately two to three megawatts, it will take about 40,000 wind turbines to produce the 100,000 megawatts.
Forty thousand wind turbines around the country could be a monumental task since an average wind speed of about 12 mph is needed to efficiently operate a wind turbine. Hilltops, mountains, canyons and some coastlines are candidate locations for the wind machines, but these locations pose logistical, noise and aesthetic obstacles. The generation of power from the wind turbines is dependent on weather conditions, and we all know how unpredictable and varied the weather can be. Furthermore, we would need an electrical grid system spread out around the country to tie in the wind turbines to the national grid.
Approximately 50 nuclear power plants with two units per site providing a total of 2,000 megawatts per site, will generate 100,000 megawatts of clean, reliable, operationally cost effective and continuous power.
Nuclear power plants, domestic oil production, wind energy systems and other alternative energy sources are all viable components of a comprehensive energy program.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Some Winter Thoughts
Some things to ponder …
… Why do so many “locals” run so many red lights in town this time of year? Instead of raising parking fees, put a plain car at a couple of traffic lights and watch the money roll in.
… I would like to see a statue of K-9 Semper the wonder dog in front of the flags on 65th Street with a roll call list of all the K-9s that we have lost.
… Wonder why there’s so much water on the streets after a good rain? Go north to about 144th-145th streets and take a look at the storm drains. In the spring you will actually see grass growing up from them.
… Wonder why you can assault four police officers and only get two days in jail? Yeah me too.
… Let’s see how many of the hotels that had “no slots” on their signs will welcome with open arms bus groups from afar for a night or two in the dead of winter.
… With the closing of the 65th Street Slide and Ride, there will be one less place for families to go in this “family resort”. As time goes on, there will be less and less activities for families to go to as they put up more vacant buildings in town.
… To go along with Steve Green’s “Things I Like” section, how about an “I Wonder Why” section.