Fenwick Public Safety Building Approved

FENWICK — Fenwick Island officials last week approved the construction of a new public safety building after months of debate about the size of the structure.

The new 3,500-square foot facility will be built on a town-owned property adjacent to the public works garage. The town has contracted with Bunting Construction to build the facility, which came in with a price tag of just over $603,000.

The building will include a reception area, office space and lockers for the town’s police department and a holding area for arrestees. In addition, about 650 square feet in the facility will be set aside for the town’s 26-member beach patrol. The facility will be built to hurricane strength standards and could be used as a command center and shelter in the event of an emergency. Construction is set to begin shortly after Labor Day and the facility should be completed by next April or May.

Mikulski Jobs Tour Hits Shore

BERLIN — Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski last week continued her statewide jobs tour by meeting with representatives of the poultry and seafood industries on the Eastern Shore. 

Poultry is a $2 billion a year industry in Maryland. The state’s 1,000 poultry farms create 14,700 jobs on the Delmarva Peninsula, including 8,000 jobs in Maryland. Seafood is also a $2 billion a year industry in Maryland.

“I’m so proud to be on the Eastern Shore to talk about how we can preserve and create jobs in the industries that have made Maryland great,” she said. “On the Eastern Shore, that’s poultry and seafood. I’m here to listen to the people of the Eastern Shore. I know Washington doesn’t have all the answers, and that what’s right for one part of the country may not be right for the Eastern Shore. I will keep fighting for you and make sure your voices are heard in Washington.”

Mikulski also is fighting for Maryland’s seafood industry, which faces big challenges in the market and from the forces of nature.

“Here on the Chesapeake Bay, watermen and seafood processors are an integral part of our life, our history, our culture and our economy,”Mikulski said. “We are concerned they are an endangered species. I will keep fighting to make sure they have the workforce they need to harvest and process crabs and oysters from the Chesapeake Bay.”

Wicomico Online Tax Payment Option Starts

SALISBURY — Residents and business owners in Wicomico County are able to pay property taxes and utility bills on-line through the county’s website starting this week.

Wicomico County Executive Richard M. Pollitt, Jr., announced, starting yesterday, July 14, residents and businesses may go online to view and pay real estate, personal property and county utility bills. Pollitt said that users can access the new service by logging on to the county web page and selecting a button on the left that reads, “Pay Real Estate Taxes Online- Citizen Self-Service.” Users should then follow the link to “Citizen Self Service.”

With the new service, Pollitt said that users can view tax bills and make payment by credit card, debit card or electronic check. A third party service provider, Official Payments, operates the new process. There is a convenience fee of 2.75 percent of the bill amount or a $3.95 minimum for credit or debit card use. There is a flat fee of $3 for electronic check payments. The fees are in addition to the amount due the county. The user will see the fees involved before payments are processed.

“This should be a great convenience for our county tax payers,” said Pollitt. “I also anticipate that the service will greatly improve the efficiency of the county Finance Department. I encourage the use of this new feature.”

Chesapeake Milestone Near

BERLIN — At the Chesapeake Executive Council Meeting last week, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced that Maryland is 98 percent on the way to reaching its two-year milestone commitments for reducing nitrogen and phosphorous into the Chesapeake Bay – a sign that the state is making significant progress toward reaching its short term Chesapeake Bay pollution reduction goal. 

“While along with the other Bay states, we must await confirmation of our numbers from the EPA’s computer model at year’s end, our BayStat process allows us to accurately track our progress on a monthly basis,” said O’Malley.   “With our farmers planting record numbers of cover crops, our citizens planting trees and growing oysters, our municipalities upgrading wastewater treatment plants, and our legislators enacting important new laws, these numbers once again prove that here in Maryland, we don’t make excuses, we make progress.”

In an effort to dramatically accelerate Bay restoration progress, O’Malley originally led the effort to establish short-term pollution reduction goals during the 2009 Chesapeake Executive Council (EC) meeting.  Maryland uses the BayStat process to continually assess and adapt its 2-year milestone achievements and goals to reflect actual conditions.  Maryland’s goals for the period 2009-2011 were to reduce nitrogen by 3.75 million pounds and phosphorus by 193,000 pounds. 

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