Early Warnings Unneeded
Is it not bad enough that we have to deal with ridiculous new laws from Annapolis which will hurt our businesses now and in times to come, than to now have to try and understand our local decision making?
As I was traveling home from work on the Route 90 bridge, I noticed the special events sign for Cruisin. This is Wednesday. The law does not go into effect until next Tuesday. Why are we intimidating people for Mother’s Day weekend? A weekend that we should be promoting the many fine Mother’s Day brunches offered by our great dining community.
Who is making these decisions? If they were working for me, they would be fired. Period.
Frank E. Ferrell
Berlin Needs To Start Planning Efforts Now
I would like to applaud the Berlin Mayor and Council for their open and honest discussion at the work session on April 29. Passions were ignited, and it was refreshing to hear some opinions expressed that reflected the will of the people: no to a 30% tax increase, proposals to spread the repayment burden out over a number of years and across the board budget cuts. Councilman Tyndall proposed some specific cuts, and Councilman Burrell earned new fans when he pointed out that the town’s reserves were higher than they seemed, and might be more than enough to keep the town afloat.
Our elected officials made a start at digging the town out of the financial morass that years of neglect and mismanagement produced. As hard as the decision is to increase taxes, along with water and stormwater fees, that is the easy part of a process that the town has needed to begin for some time.
For years Berlin has relied on initial EDU hookups to pay for its stormwater system. Development money was dropped in the coffers when deals were signed, creating what looked like a budget surplus. But in the long term, those big numbers masked larger potential financial problems. The Ocean’s East EDU payment several years ago hid huge annual losses in the stormwater fund. New development looks pretty at first when big numbers are proposed, but the long-term costs have been ignored for too long.
I have written before about Berlin’s need to plan for its future, and now is a good time to kick that process into high gear. We need the Mayor and Council, and the town’s finance people, to start looking at long-term costs, not just short-term gains. When Berlin expands its borders through annexation, we face a slew of expenses that are not reflected in our budgets: wear and tear on town vehicles, personnel, utility costs, expanded road repair, greater trash and recycling expenses, just to name a few. As has become painfully obvious, the money received at the beginning of a development does not meet the expenses incurred by that development over the long term.
Now is the time for the Mayor and Council to start the more difficult and daunting task of planning for Berlin’s future, not just the next fiscal year, which seems to be locked in place, but the year after that and the year after that and the year after that. Now is the time to start understanding and planning for Berlin’s long-term stability and economic growth. Now is the time to put in place practical policies for where and how Berlin will grow.
Do we want new business or residential development? If so, where does it go? And how will Berlin pay for the inevitable economic cost that comes with growth? Now is the time for financial policies that reflect Berlin’s long-term needs.
To be sure, there are difficult choices ahead, with tough questions that need to be both asked and answered. Now is the time to ask them. Now is the time for the Mayor and Council to start planning.
Cleanup Effort Appreciated
Thank you for your help in publicizing the 4th Annual Earth Day Cleanup in the Town of Fenwick Island. On April 20, a blustery, rainy morning, over 40 community members gathered in our Town Hall to enjoy delicious breakfast refreshments donated by McCabe’s Gourmet Market and to peruse environmental displays provided by the Center for Inland Bays (CIB), the Town of Fenwick Island and KCI Technologies.
Every participant received a “Fenwick Island Celebrates Earth Day” reusable lunch tote and water bottle. Teams of volunteers picked up litter and trash from every street in Fenwick Island from the Maryland-Delaware line to Lewes Street.
Several local businesses made the event even more enjoyable by donating door prizes. Special thanks are due to Atlantic Shoals Surf Shop, Dirty Harry’s Restaurant, Discoversea Shipwreck Museum, Fenwick Bait & Tackle, Fenwick Surf Shop, Holly’s Treasure Chest, Jimmy’s Kitchen, Just Hooked, KCI Technologies, Inc., Mancini’s Brick Oven Pizzeria and Restaurant, McCabe’s Gourmet Market, OC Paintball & Sports Center, Ocean Side Subs & Pizza, Pottery Place, Ropewalk, Sea Shell City, Seaside Country Store, Southern Exposure, Surf’s Edge Deli & Pizzeria, The Flying Fish Café and Sushi Bar, Tidepool Toys & Games, Warren’s Station and Twilley’s Willys for their generous donations.
We appreciate everyone’s support in working to keep Fenwick Island the cleanest town on the Delaware Shore.
Fenwick Island Environmental Committee