County Needs To Cut
Did you know that 80% of Worcester County’s revenue comes from property taxes? Dropping property values have resulted in $3.8 million decrease in county funds for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013/2014.
The difference between the expected county income and initial spending requests for FY 2013/2014 is a deficit of over $7 million.
The County Commissioners could offset the decrease in property values by raising property taxes.
Perhaps because election season is around the corner, the County Commissioners are considering making up the $3.8 million shortage with money from the General Stabilization fund or the “rainy day” fund. Finance officer Harold Higgins told the commissioners on April 16 that almost all of the rainy day fund would be depleted to get the county through FY2015.
Once the rainy day fund is gone, the next logical step would be a property tax increase if the housing market has not recovered.
There is a proposed 5% increase over last year’s budget for the general fund, which amounts to over $8 million. It is imperative that the commissioners cut the budget, fulfilling only the necessary needs and services of Worcester County. The economic downturn is still in full force, and the consequences of the gas tax are yet to be seen. There is no guarantee that property values will have recovered by the time the rainy day fund is gone. With the cost of living on the rise, Worcester County residents simply can’t afford a property tax increase.
The Worcester County Commissioners need to cut the budget and refuse to increase property taxes. Please attend the budget hearing at Stephen Decatur High School, May 7 at 7 p.m. and exercise your voice. We must stop the spending madness.
2206 Orchard Dr.
Spring is here. Mother’s Day is coming where we honor our Mothers both alive and past. On this same week-end, May 10, another event is coming — The Relay For Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society and held at the Frontier town Campground. Both events are celebrations. For Mothers whom we love and honor and cancer survivors who have battled this dreaded disease and won. We also want to remember the loved ones who lost and ask individuals and communities to fight back against this disease.
People from all walks of life gather to celebrate this event. Cancer doesn’t discriminate, it affects young, old, all genders and ethnic groups. No matter who you are, there is a place for you at the Relay.
The joy and emotion felt at the relay is hard to describe but heartwarming feelings are felt everywhere. Tears flow along with the joy of togetherness. I am in my 9th year as a survivor and every time I attend these relays, my feelings revert to the following: Joy for being here; Hope for others to overcome cancer and sadness for those who lost the battle.
My letter is to ask that the good people of this community look around and see how your friends and loved ones are affected by this disease and contribute no matter what amount to the American Cancer Society. To all my friends and loved ones, who are suffering from this disease, God Bless to all.
Shame On Snow Hill
The reporting in another local newspaper on April 17, 2013, “New Election Code Changes Absentee Ballot Laws” contains misleading information that is damaging to some people mentioned in the article. It states “Edward S. Lee claimed mayoral candidate Dorman stuffed campaign fliers into absentee ballots mailed to … voters” and “Lee also alleged a manager at the Snow Hill Post Office colluded with Dorman’s campaign to spy on citizens to find out who had been receiving and sending out absentee ballots.” These inaccurate statements lead the reader to believe that Lee caused the “Still pending…investigation” and that Snow Hill residents’ primary intention is something other than the pursuit of justice in the Snow Hill Election debacle of May 2012.
Here are the facts:
Former Snow Hill Mayor Steve Matthews and Council voted to request State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby to investigate voter suppression — a civil rights violation — in the May 1, 2012 election. Prima facia evidence showed that Dorman used the Maryland Food Bank’s Free Food distribution program for political purposes to win his election. In the council’s letter to Oglesby they presented altered Food Bank flyers as evidence. The Food Banks flyers were altered by Dorman to suggest that he was responsible for the food distribution in an effort to persuade voters to vote for him.
Ballot stuffing was also charged by the Mayor and Council in their letter to the Attorney General. They presented evidence (voters signed statements) that Dorman’s ballots were received in their “official absentee ballot” mailed to them by the Board of Elections. No one claimed that Dorman stuffed ballots as was reported. However it is clear, from the evidence, that if ballots were stuffed, the Board of Elections had to have been involved.
Mr. and Mrs. Mullins, Snow Hill residents, called upon the United States Post Master to investigate whether Cynthia Miller, former Snow Hill Post Office Manager, had participated in “spying on citizens”. The manager’s actions were prompted by Dorman supporters out of concern for the number of absentee ballot applications requested by Dorman’s opposition. The Mayor and Council in their letter to the State’s Attorney presented evidence that the Snow Hill Chief of Police was not directed to ask Miller for help in determining who was bringing absentee ballots to the Post Office, as Miller had indicated in a letter addressed to, “To Whom It May Concern”.
It is unfortunate that the citizens of Snow Hill who seek to change the political culture of their government to one of participation and engagement are demonized.
Your reporter singling me out of a group of “citizen activists” is damaging and detrimental. Doing so undermines the principles of organized peaceful community protest. Wittingly or unwittingly, in the minds of readers, you have taken sides and portrayed me as a trouble-maker rather than as the concerned and ethical citizen that I am. It is not necessary that your paper agree with our issues or concerns, but ethically and professionally you have the obligation to be informed and fair in your reporting. You failed to do so. Shame on you.
Edward S. Lee
I had the privilege of attending the Berlin Intermediate School Dinner Theater production of “The Little Mermaid” on April 23.
I was amazed at the talents and abilities on display, from the politeness of the students and cast members who served our delicious dinner, all the way through to the well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the performance.
The sets, props, costumes and staging were wonderful and creative, and the acting and singing was, well, words fail. Simply marvelous.
Everyone involved in this production should rightly feel very proud of themselves.
Thanks For Cleanup Help
On behalf of the Berlin Parks Commission and the Town of Berlin I want to thank everyone who participated in our Annual Community Clean-Up Day on April 20, the kick-off event for the 2nd Annual Take Pride in Berlin Week, which ran from April 20-27 this year.
Despite soggy conditions and chilly weather, we had a great turn-out for Clean-Up Day in both Stephen Decatur and William Henry Park. Volunteers weeded, pruned, cleared, raked and mulched through the morning and their efforts shows. In addition to cleaning up existing beds in both parks, we were also able to create a new rain garden in Stephen Decatur Park to help drain water from the Nature Trail parking lot. Volunteers also worked downtown to spruce up flower beds at the corner of Pitts and Main streets. A really adventurous group event climbed down into the Hudson Branch to pull out all sorts of trash and debris including a mattress and several TV sets.
Berlin Area Ministries United once again provided a great lunch for participants hungry after all their hard work.
But taking pride in Berlin doesn’t end on Clean-Up Day. The week occurs every year around Earth Day and we encourage everyone to use this time to think about what they can do for their town, neighborhoods, and neighbors.
Take Pride in Berlin Week is a great opportunity for each of us to think about what living and working in Berlin means to us an individuals and how we can apply that pride to our community.
Mary T. Bohlen
(The writer is the deputy town administrator and liaison to the Berlin Parks Commission.)
Facebook Page On
Why did the tourist cross the road? If you answered, “to get to the other side”, you are right. No matter how many crosswalks are in town (at last count I had 390), most people just want to get to the other side as quickly as possible. If there is a crosswalk, but it’s 100 feet away, ain’t nobody got time for that. But I’m sure that even Sweet Brown could tell you that the dangers of crossing Coastal Highway are real.
Last summer, I think I reached my limit in hearing about people getting hit by cars. It is shameful that we have people losing their lives crossing the street in Ocean City. Most people agree that a change is needed. But this is where things start to get tricky. How do we make crossing the street safer? Will lowering the speed limit help? More crosswalks? More pedestrian traffic lights? More do not cross signs? How much is too much? I think that all of these changes will probably help, but it ultimately will still come down to the individual crossing the street. How badly do they need to get to the other side?
I think the best thing that we can do to help is to make sure that person knows about the danger. Just like with an electric fence, once people understand that the danger is real, I think there will be fewer accidents. When your friends come to town, tell them to use the crosswalk and have them tell their friends. Let them know this is no longer a joke. Use the crosswalk. Set the example for others to follow.
I created a Facebook page called OC Crosswalk and encourage you to like it and become an OC Crosswalker to help spread awareness of this issue before the summer season hits. It is time for us OC Crosswalkers to unite in the name of safety. There are far too many other dangerous things going on in the world today. Crossing the street in Ocean City should not be one of them.
Jason Long Ocean City
I recently attended a convention in Ocean City on April 20. While in your resort town I stopped to have a delicious bagel at Bagels and Buns.
Unfortunately, I left my appointment book in their place of business and did not remember doing so. I tore apart my car, my house and looked everywhere that I thought I might have left this valuable (only to me) book, which contained my appointments.
Imagine my surprise when they called and asked if I needed it and did I want them to mail it to me. With a resounding yes, they mailed it on a Monday and I received it on a Tuesday. It would have taken me several days and many phone calls to duplicate what was in that book.
Thank you, Bagels and Buns. Whenever I am in O.C., I will stop by and make a purchase.
High Marks For Deli
As a year round resident of Ocean City for eight years, one of the things I continue to enjoy is reading about new businesses opening their doors to our community ( eating establishments in particular).
During the many months while the newly establishment had been under construction, and after reading about the plans for the community to have such a business very near my residence, I was anxious to try it out as soon as it opened. Fortunately, I was able to enter the doors on opening day (Monday) and ordered for take-out (Liverwurst on Rye) and ate a very good sandwich at a reasonable price.
I also did appreciate having the opportunity to read in this past week’s edition of The Dispatch about some of the background work that was involved prior to the erecting of Rosenfeld’s Deli. It’s interesting indeed to learn that Rosenfeld’s Deli stands alone of its kind within a two-hour drive in any direction.
I look forward to returning to Rosenfeld’s Deli many, many times. Thank you for coming to the neighborhood.