Low-Income Dental Clinic Plans Progress

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners discussed a low-income children’s dental clinic, the Newark water tower, disposing of a vehicle and a recycling event briefly at this week’s meeting.

— The planned children’s dental clinic to be located in the old Berlin Senior Center building will now have four dentist chairs instead of three, expanding the service offered by the clinic.

State Dental Director Dr. Harry Goodman is such a strong proponent of the project that he offered to add that fourth chair, said Worcester County Health Officer Debbie Goeller.

“In the long run by having four chairs, it would help us be most efficient operationally,” said Goeller. “[Goodman] has allocated the funding for that.”

The county desperately needs more dental care for low-income children, Goeller said.

The funding for the new clinic came from a Maryland state grant.

The renovations at the former senior center will cost roughly $300,000. The project is a win-win for the county, which is relying on state grant money to renovate and operate the dental clinic, with the Health Department putting in a small amount, because the old senior center building would need renovation whether the dental clinic moves in or not, Goeller said.

The Worcester County Commissioners awarded the construction contract for the work this week.

“I’m delighted to hear of the support from the state,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs.

“We’re very close here on getting that project done,” said Goeller.

— The new Newark water tower will be painted with the name of the village, contrary to the usual practice in Worcester County.

“It’s been an informal policy over the years to not identify the towers with service areas,” said Public Works Director John Tustin during Tuesday morning’s meeting. “It’s really a call whether we want to start identifying the water towers with particular service areas.”

Tustin said that on repainting the Ocean Pines south water tower, the “OP” label was painted over. The Mystic Harbor water tower is still labeled as such, because it was painted in the early 1990’s before the county took over that service area. Glen Riddle has its name on the community’s water tower through a special arrangement negotiated with the county.

The Newark Volunteer Fire Company (NVFC) requested the label on the village’s new water tower. The painting work would cost $4,500.

“We believe that this would be a boon to this vital, but often overlooked, part of the county and would help to answer the often-asked question, ‘Where’s Newark?’” wrote NVFC Secretary Kathryn V. Westbrook.

“This is not the time to start doing that,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs.

Commissioner Bobby Cowger disagreed, saying, “I think it’s a great idea. You need to start identifying those areas.”

Truckers and motorists can have trouble finding the village, Cowger said.

There is money available, according to county staff, to paint the village name on the water tower.

“As long as the money’s available,” said Boggs.

— This week the County Commissioners agreed to sell a seldom-used bus known as the commissioner’s bus.

Public Works Director John Tustin estimated that the bus had been used just a handful of times in the last five years. He recommended selling the vehicle.

“If we ever do need to go on an adventure we’ll rent a bus somewhere,” Tustin said.

The bus has been used for a few tours of specific areas in the county and to transport people at a landfill event.

Commissioner President Bud Church suggested keeping the bus because of the low mileage and low maintenance costs.

Commissioner Bobby Cowger disagreed, saying that he had never set foot on said bus in his seven years in office.

— The county will hold another e-cycling and hazardous waste collection event April 24, although no state money is available to fund the event.

The county has money set aside in the budget for the collection, Public Works Director John Tustin said.

“This project would be outside the grant,” said Tustin.

“People are just going to dump [electronics] anyway. Might as well do it the right way,” said Commissioner Linda Busick.

Recycling Coordinator Ron Taylor reminded citizens the transfer stations accept these materials throughout the year and not just on the designated collection days.

“We do accept them everyday of the year at transfer stations and also at the central landfill,” said Taylor.

“This is certainly of benefit to the county,” Tustin said.