Voices From The Readers

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Bus Stop Locations Inconsistent For Safety

Editor:

There has been much concern the last number of years over pedestrian safety on Coastal Highway.

The city has spent thousands of dollars trying to promote the idea of crossing at the traffic lights.

There was an advertising campaign last year promoting the issue.

The speed limit on Coastal Highway was lowered.

There has been fencing put up in some of the mediums so people cannot cross in the middle of the block.

Then why I ask is the city transportation department not doing its part in trying to improve safety. Why are they in a way promoting the idea of crossing in the middle of the block? How you ask?

Have you ever noticed as you drive along Coastal Highway that over 60% of the bus stops are in the middle of the block?

When young people get off the bus, they just run straight across the highway in the middle of the block. If you don’t think this is so, just think back to when you were in your teens and early 20s.

Would you actually have taken the time to walk to the end of the block and the traffic light or would you have taken a look and shot across the street?

The city needs to address this issue. The bus stops need to be moved to the end of the block.

If you are all in for safety, then this is one way to help improve the situation.

Len Bender

Ocean City

 

Ad Appreciated

Editor:

I have just read the full page ad in The Dispatch on Feb. 27 titled, “A Cop On The Take.”

I would like to thank the B.H. Clark family for having this printed.

As a retired police officer, all of the things listed in the piece and more are surely to occur during an officers’ career.

Speaking for many of my “brothers in blue,” we never think about these things. These worries are left to our parents, wives and all of our loved ones.

Again, I would like to thank the Clark family and to add my support to the Ocean City Police Department, Worcester County Sheriff’s Department and the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Major Herbert D. King, Ret.

Ocean City

 

History Repeating?

Editor:

One hundred years ago, around the Syrian town of Dier Ez-Zor in the surrounding dessert, Muslim Jihadists slaughtered 1.5 million Christians. Today Muslim Jihadists going by the anachronism ISIL are slaughtering Christians and others in the same spot.

I attended the Ocean City Mayor and Council meeting Monday with the full intent of appealing to the Council’s higher sense of purpose by requesting more budget vigilance. The extensive procedures of annual budget approval and amendment seem out of control. The Mayor and Lloyd Martin got predictably defensive and attacked me. No wonder: Their fingerprints are all over many years of budgets and budget amendments, and I was showing evidence why the budget process was out of control. However, it was heartening that Hartman, James and DeLuca, who have only been on the Council for the first amendment to the 2015 Budget, were attentive and seemed interested.

As a person who has sat through numerous hearings during the two-week process of budget adoption, regrettably the numbers included here will document that the adoption process is more pomp and ceremony than substance. Moreover, all amendments of the budget always seem to lead to increased spending.

My appeal to enlist council support went something like this: History shows that it is very rare that any political class has been able to reduce budget expenses. I said that I believed only two presidents, Jefferson and Coolidge, were able to reduce expenses, and I wasn’t sure about Jefferson. I told them we can be groundbreaking, trendsetting, a model for other communities if we merely live within our adopted budget and stop adding on spending.

My point was that if adopting a budget, a multiple-week process, wherein department heads try to guesstimate their expenses for the coming year with honest estimation, common sense says that some years the budget will be over and some years the budget will be under, but this is not the case. Every year, despite the strenuous process of adoption, the amendments significantly increase spending during the year. The amended budget numbers seem always to be significantly higher, which suggests to me that the process is out of control. Let’s take a look at the actual numbers from 2010–2014.

In 2010, the adopted budget was $112.3M, but after two amendments it grew to $134.9M. In 2011, it was $111M, growing to $133.5M after two amendments. The budget for 2012 was adopted at $114M and amended to $118.1M. In 2013, a $120.1M budget was adopted and amended to $126.8M. In 2014, the adopted budget was 129.7M, but ended at $149.7M. An additional $77.9M was spent over the adopted budgets during the five years. It doesn’t seem that our local Council does any better than the U.S. Congress, which is unable to operate within its budget either.

You would think, after the arduous ordeal of budget adoption, that it would be easier not to spend more, maybe even spend a bit less, but the Council was never under budget in the above years. This out-of-control process I call, “spending gone wild.” Oh well, the U. S. Congress does it, and they do it in Annapolis, too. This is merely history repeating, or, maybe more precisely, monkey see, monkey do. My appeal was simply to stop the over spending. Please live within the budget, which some view as extremely generous anyway.

Admittedly, some of the increases are grants or taxes from someone else that are always promptly spent. It is worse than this, though. There is an oft-repeated habit when an expense on the Adopted Budget comes in under budget. Do we get any money returned when that happens? No. Every time a savings is announced on an Adopted Budget item, the money saved is promptly spent on items not approved in the Adopted Budget. Though the process seems to be under control, in reality it is a spending smorgasbord. The process is out of control and headed to an even worse place.

Within five years if not sooner, I predict our inability to fund past promises of the council as well as their loose spending patterns annually will be apparent to many more people and will get the City in financial trouble. Hopefully, we can find the political will to fix it and gain control over a process that appears to be out of control.

Tony Christ

 

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