Friday, September 5 – Challenger Files To Make Berlin District A Contest

BERLIN – Lisa Hall will challenge Thom
Gulyas for the District II Berlin Council seat this fall.

Hall filed her candidacy
paperwork on Wednesday, Sept. 3, less than a week after holding a well-attended
meeting on Berlin’s
ever-rising electric rates. The meeting inspired her, Hall said, to get
involved in Berlin

“I didn’t have the meeting
because it was an election year,” Hall said. “I’ve got to put my money where my
mouth is. I can’t just have meetings and get people stirred up.”

Upon learning of the challenger,
Gulyas said, “I certainly welcome the challenge.” Current District II council
member Ellen Lang will not run for re-election and plans to retire next year.

“I’m glad to see people are
interested. I really am,” Gulyas said.

A 14-year Berlin resident, Hall has never before been
involved in politics. She grew up in Parsonsburg. Her father owned a shirt
factory on Salisbury’s
Main St.
Her husband, Bill Hall, supports her candidacy, she said. The couple has five
children between them.

Hall said she is running on a
platform of accountability. Chiefly, Hall is concerned about the high electric
rates for Berlin
utility customers, and particularly on the effect those rates have on senior

When she filed for office
Wednesday, Hall said, she encountered an 81-year-old woman who is having a
difficult time paying her electric bills. The woman, said Hall, was referred to
Shore Up for help with her power costs, but she did not want to accept
government assistance for the first time in her life.

“I have a problem with that,”
Hall said.            

Money is Hall’s primary concern.

“Berlin’s been hemorrhaging since I moved in
there,” Hall said. “The first thing I’m going to do is go in there and strip
that budget department by department and make that town run like a business.”

Every month, Hall said, she
would go through a single department’s budget line by line.

Berlin, she said, has not been
economizing. The town cannot keep getting grants from the state, like the Maryland Main Street
grant, and paying matching amounts. Berlin
matched the Main Street
grant of $12,000 with $12,000 of its own, a state requirement.

“How can you afford to do that?”
Hall asked.

Instead of trying to attract
more businesses, Berlin
needs to concentrate on keeping the businesses it has, Hall said. Several,
according to Hall, are on the verge of leaving Berlin over their high electric bills.

The town’s high debt must also
be addressed, she said.

Money spent on sending employees
out to remove the citizen electric meeting signs from utility poles could have
been saved and put aside to pay down the bonds incurred by past improvements to
the electric system, Hall said. Many signs were illegally placed on utility
poles, town staff has said.

Berlin also needs to communicate
better with its citizens, Hall said, who depend on local newspapers for town

Hall plans to knock on every
door in her district during her campaign. She will also send out flyers and put
up campaign signs.

“I want to go and talk to
people. I want to hear what’s on their minds,” Hall said. “I think my chances
are good. Let the people decide.”