BERLIN — At this week’s Berlin Mayor and Council meeting, a contract for street repair was accepted, several special events were approved and updates were delivered on the status of the town’s first wind turbine and the search for a new Planning and Zoning director, which has been re-christened, “Planning and Building,” among other agenda items.
Jefferson Street Work Set
The council unanimously voted to accept a $46,949 bid from Terra Firma of Delmarva for asphalt repair and overlay work on Jefferson Street. The edges of the street will be milled and a “glass-grid interlayer reinforcement” will be added, according to Public Works Director Mike Gibbons.
“It should give us 200- to 300-percent more life than just a standard overlay,” he told the council, “And then we come back with the 1.5-inch overlay on top of the grid … so with the grid it should increase the longevity by six to eight years.”
Work will cover Jefferson Street from Main Street to Washington Street. Mayor Gee Williams asked Gibbons if any sidewalk work would be included in the asphalt repair.
“That sidewalk work is [already] done,” Gibbons replied. “It’s all done. So this work, as soon as it gets approved, can be completed by the first week in August.”
The bid from Terra Firma was accepted, as it was the lowest bid out of three.
“This was, of course, among the discussion of priority streets to be paved when we did our FY14 budget,” Williams said.
Special Events Approved
Three traditional special events, including Berlin’s oldest running festival, were all approved unanimously this week by the council.
The first was the annual Peach Festival. While nothing much has changed with the event, Williams complimented its steady development and potential to become one of the more popular town events.
“It’s got an excellent reputation, it’s grown naturally and it has been, I think, done extremely well and is a real compliment to the town and hopefully will be a festival that outlives all of us,” said the mayor.
The festival will be held Saturday, Aug. 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Taylor House Museum.
The town’s support of National Night Out (NNO) was also reaffirmed this week. Berlin has participated in the event for more than a decade, according to Police Chief Arnold Downing. The event will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 6 from 2-7 p.m. in Henry Park.
The final event approved was the Fiddler’s Convention, which will celebrate its 21st birthday this year.
“This has been our largest and longest standing event,” said Williams.
There will be a new edition to this year’s convention: artists will be scattered throughout town during that weekend for a plein air event.
“They will be doing paintings over that weekend and then will have their sale on Sunday,” said Williams. “That, hopefully, will increase the number of people who get exposed to that aspect of the community as well.”
Fiddler’s will span the weekend of Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22.
New Director Eyed
Having just recently filled their open town administrator position, the council will be turning its focus to finding a new Planning and Building Director.
“The process is going along at a very reasonable and steady rate,” said Williams. “And it is our hope that we will have someone in place by sometime in August.”
The town received more than 50 applications for the position, and Human Resources Director Jeff Fleetwood confirmed Monday that the majority of the applications have been eliminated.
“We’ve narrowed it down now to four candidates,” he said. “Those four candidates are coming on site to town hall in Berlin [Tuesday] to meet with myself and the deputy town administrator.”
Candidates who make it past that initial interview this week will meet with the new Town Administrator Laura Allen as well as council members on July 17-18.
Wind Turbine Parts Installed
Berlin’s first wind turbine, which is also the first of its design anywhere, moved closer to completion this week. It will be located off Old Ocean City Boulevard.
“We installed the primary transformer for the wind turbine at the Rayne’s property and last week I also started receiving parts for the wind turbine,” Electric Utilities Director Tim Lawrence told the council. “The blades came in, the hub and the tailfin port.”
Once completed, the 50KW turbine will stand 85 feet tall. The construction process will continue this summer, with Lawrence expecting the device will be fully operational and producing electricity sometime in August or mid-September.