Berlin Council News In Brief

BERLIN – The Berlin Mayor and Council discussed several items briefly at their last August meeting on Monday night. The following is a look at some of the topics discussed.

— The council voted to commission a re-evaluation of wastewater rates to more accurately reflect future costs.

The study will re-evaluate existing wastewater rates and special connection fees in light of the construction of improvements and expanded capacity at the Berlin wastewater plant, said Water and Wastewater Superintendent Jane Kreiter.

The report will be finished in three weeks.

“The timeline was important. We wanted to get the impact to the residents as nailed down as quickly as possible,” said Kreiter.

The study will cost no more than $7,500.

“This is basically a follow up on the study that was done two years ago,” said Kreiter.

That study, conducted before the town had identified funding or costs, must be updated, she said. “This will allow us to narrow down the numbers a lot better than they were. They were very vague in the past,” said Kreiter.

“Now we’ll be able to plug in actual numbers rather than guesstimates,” said Berlin Mayor Gee Williams.

Councilman Troy Purnell said the study was “something we have to have.”

When delivered, the formula in the report spreadsheet will be able to handle different data and scenarios, Kreiter said, allowing the town to explore different charges and funding scenarios.

— Restriping the public parking lot east of Main St. will provide another 45 spaces, Public Works Director Mike Gibbons said this week.

More easily accessible parking spaces in that lot will attract more shoppers or visitors to downtown attractions, restaurants and shops, town boosters believe. Some visitors decide against stopping in town when parking is not easy to find, business owners have said.

“It also brings order to that lot,” said town Economic Development Director Michael Day. “If two cars get out of whack, it’s a chain reaction.”         

The town will save money on the inexpensive operation by doing the restriping in house.

“We do have the equipment. It was never used before. We just started using it,” said Gibbons.

Williams said the timing of the project should benefit the town.

“I’m glad we were able to follow through on it. It’s just in time for the shopping season in the fall,” said Williams.

The town received a significant discount on the parking space re-arrangement plan from a local business, said Day.

“We definitely encourage when it’s ethical and feasible to keep those monies local,” said Williams.

– Economic Development Director and Main Street Maryland Coordinator Michael Day pointed to several minor developments in promoting town events and properties at the Monday night meeting.

The town website, along with the Main Street Maryland website for Berlin and the Berlin Arts and Entertainment district website, now link to a comprehensive town events calendar.

Day is also working on a downtown business directory. The previous directory featured 22 businesses. So far, Day has compiled a list of 90 businesses for the updated list.

Also, the Tyson poultry plant property is now listed on the state of Maryland’s Choose Maryland business and economic development site, just one of two Worcester County properties listed in the state’s available commercial property database.