Mayor Wants To See Flag Poles Outside Town Hall

BERLIN – Questions over Berlin Mayor Tom Cardinale’s proposal to add larger flagpoles to Berlin Town Hall were quickly dealt with this week, with the Berlin Town Council agreeing to move forward with the change.

Cardinale proposed two new 12-foot flagpoles against the brick face of the building to extend seven feet above the roof, which will display larger flags more respectfully. Eastern Shore Flagpoles of St. Michaels, Md. quoted a cost of $3,250 for a set of fiberglass poles that do not conduct electricity, or two flagpoles, not electricity resistant, for $2,250. The price does not include the two four feet by six feet flags.

The new poles would replace the two small ones jutting from the face of the building above the metal awning. The United States and Maryland flags on the existing flagpoles are too small and tend to tangle with the awning supports.

“We had to buy the smallest flags we could find because they’d get wrapped around these support rods of the overhang and get torn up,” said Cardinale at Tuesday’s meeting as he explained his thought process.

Replacing or straightening out the small flags is an involved task.

“When we have a problem, we have to call in a bucket truck,” Cardinale said. “I get uncomfortable anytime I see anybody hanging out the window trying to change a flag.”

Council Vice President Gee Williams said, “I don’t see a problem with it.”

Council member Paula Lynch asked, “Where are we going to find the money to pay for it?”

“If we can’t find $3,200, come on,” Williams replied.

The council agreed to have staff pursue any necessary planning permissions for the new flag set-up, although no vote was taken.

“If we vote against this, it’s like voting against apple pie and motherhood,” Lynch said.

The Historic District Commission must okay the new flagpoles, said Planning and Zoning Superintendent Stacey Weisner.

“I’m sure they’d have no problem with it,” Weisner said.

In response to a question about the increased cost of replacing the larger flags, Williams said, “I’d rather see good flags in good condition out there. If the town can’t afford that, we need to reexamine why we’re here. That is such a negligible cost compared to all the obligations of running the town. That’s not a significant factor to whether we do it or not.”

Cardinale said, “It’s a matter of respect. If we can’t display the symbol of our state and country, what can we do?”