Council Seeks Town Hall Flag Thoughts

BERLIN – The two new flagpoles proposed for the roof of Berlin’s town hall may not be the best choice, and public input on new flagpoles at Berlin’s Town Hall is needed, the Town Council agreed this week.

Two weeks ago, Mayor Tom Cardinale suggested replacing the current set-up, which has small flagpoles jutting from the second story Town Hall, over the front door awning, with two new poles extending into the air over the roof.

“Frankly, I’m not smitten with your idea of flags flying on top of the building,” said Councilmember Paula Lynch at Monday night’s meeting. “I’d rather see a free standing flagpole.”

Cardinale said he had suggested the change to make it more convenient to care for the flags and to show more respect for the displayed flags. He is already scheduled to go before Berlin’s Historic Commission to seek permission to install those flagpoles.

Cardinale’s original suggestion could cost as much as $3,250.

“Before we jump into spending that kind of money I think we ought to think about it for a bit,” Lynch said.

She suggested gathering public input on the decision.

“I would love to have some input,” Cardinale said.

Lynch said there are other places to put flagpoles than on the building itself, suggesting a freestanding flagpole between the two streetlights in front of town hall.

There are two flagpoles at the Tyson plant property, at the top of the sewer lagoon, that are going unused, said developer Troy Purnell.

“I’d be glad to donate them to the town,” Purnell said.

There are also unused flagpoles in Stephen Decatur Park, near the memorial, said Parks Commission member Patricia Dufendach. She reminded the town council that flags need to be raised and lowered every day in the morning and evening or lit by a spotlight if flying 24 hours a day.

The spotlight outside Town Hall meant to illuminate the constantly flying flags there now does not seem to work, Cardinale said.

Councilmember Gee Williams put forward the idea of an ad hoc committee.

Council member Ellen Lang proposed putting the matter before an existing advisory body. “I think it would be good to throw it to the parks commission,” she said.

Staff received no clear direction on how to proceed, according to Linda Bambary, Berlin Administrative Director. The council did not vote on a direction to take.

Purnell said he would measure the flagpoles he proposed to donate and get that information to the town.