Between The Lines

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After reading all the details of the random attack on the Boardwalk last weekend, it’s difficult not to be disturbed.

A number of questions come to mind after this concerning incident. Did a group of nine men really just head to the Boardwalk looking to beat down a group of strangers? Was it really just “for fun” as alleged by the victims? Are the victims lucky to have survived this supposedly random attack? Is someone lying about what really happened? Is there anything in place to prevent something like this from happening again? Is the Boardwalk a safe place to be late at night?

It’s the last question that concerns me the most. While these sorts of major incidents are isolated to a degree, all of us need to be aware walking on the Boardwalk late at night may not be the wisest idea, particularly on the weekends.

Wednesday was a historic day for Maryland as former Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer was laid to rest. At least locally, the funeral services provided a unique opportunity for the three living mayors of Ocean City to spend the day together.

Senator Jim Mathias, who served as mayor of Ocean City from 1996-2006, called it “historic” to travel the state with former Mayor Fish Powell (1985-1996) and current Mayor Rick Meehan (since 2006).

Driving his Volkswagon Passat, Mathias apparently picked up Meehan at 5:45 a.m. at his home in Ocean City and then picked up Powell and his wife, Jeannie, a few minutes later. Mathias said the trio shared a number of stories during the day together, recalled Schaefer’s many contributions to the shore and Ocean City and felt privileged to attend the services with his colleagues.

Mathias said they returned to Ocean City around 9 p.m. and said yesterday it was a day he will not forget anytime soon. “It was wonderful for the three of us to represent Ocean City and I really enjoyed being with both of them. It’s not often we get to spend a lot of time together,” he said. “We started the day at 5:45 a.m. when I picked up Rick and then picked up Fish and Jeannie and we didn’t get back till 9 that night.”

Meehan, for his part, said the fact the three living mayors of the resort were represented was not lost on dignitaries attending the services. “It was amazing how many people really recognized the fact that Ocean City was represented by the last three mayors that were in office and surviving and I think it was a really good tribute to Governor Schaefer,” Meehan said.

For those keeping track, it appears the only local government in the Worcester-Wicomico area considering raising property taxes is the Wicomico County Council.

Although no budget is exactly clear at this point, officials in Ocean City, Berlin, Worcester County and Salisbury are not planning any kind of tax increase at this time. Nonetheless, most governments are finding themselves in the same proverbial boat — declining revenues in the face of increased costs of doing business.

In Wicomico, Executive Rick Pollitt released his proposed budget to the County Council last week, suggesting a 5-cent property tax increase for the county. This week, Pollitt announced a tax calculator on the county’s website is now available that will allow property owners to learn exactly what this proposed increase will cost them.

Pollitt said the tax increase will represent a $75 jump in taxes for the average property owner. Residents can see precisely what it will mean for their checkbooks by entering their assessed property value into the online calculator.

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