Another Perspective On Trash Disposal
The May 31, 2019 issue of The Dispatch contained articles that show the trend toward fewer government services to help the people, the possibility of higher taxes for those fewer services and the plan for more punishment and fines for infringements that are the result of fewer services, plus higher taxes for the new services that would be required to police those violations.
It is our belief (and hope) that government exists to serve the people, not the other way around. This would be based on the idea that government, the larger entity, is more capable of managing certain tasks in areas where one person’s singular efforts are too small. Such an area would be disposal of trash.
In a smaller, poorer country, such as the Bahamas, for instance, many individuals in the out islands have to maintain their own trash dump, often in their front yards. On the other hand, in the United States, many county and municipal governments provide pickup services not only for trash and recycles but also for yard debris.
Worcester County, in contrast, charges a hefty fee for the privilege of using the county dump, which also is inconveniently located for a large number of residents. Otherwise, residents pay for trash pickup services from an independent contractor or do their own recycling by making use of “convenience centers” and recycling sites such as that offered near Walmart.
We are alarmed to see proposals for cutting back on the number of county employees and convenience centers involved in receiving trash. We agree with County Commissioner Bud Church, who indicated that there would be more trash on the roads if there were fewer convenience centers. Commissioner Diana Purnell rightly acknowledged that many would not be able to afford pickup services or be able to take their trash to a center. On the other hand, Commissioner Jim Bunting wants to do away with the convenience centers altogether.
And then there’s Director of Public Works John Tustin’s “educational campaign” to curb illegal dumping with a suggestion of surveillance cameras and fines. Of course, it would take higher taxes and more personnel to provide revenue to support this effort whereas greater accessibility and frequency of dumping sites would prevent the need for policing and punishment.
If we’re going to have to spend more money, let’s do it for pro-environment prevention and services rather than for after-the-fact punishment and fines.
Monty and Sara Lewis
West Ocean City
Berlin Rationale Disputed
I’m writing in response to a recent report from Town of Berlin officials regarding increased interest in town real estate, despite this year’s 18 percent property tax increase, 25 percent sewer rate increase, and five percent water rate increase.
At a recent meeting of the Berlin Mayor and Council, Planning Director Dave Englehart told officials that his department has so far received seven building permit applications for new homes in 2019. Somehow, the town presented these seven building permits as proof that these drastic cost increases are not impacting the real estate industry.
Like the rest of the country, our market struggles with inventory shortages and the high cost of new home construction limits our ability to provide our clients with high quality, affordable options. Therefore, we are thrilled to know that more homes are being built in Berlin.
However, our numbers show that the market in Berlin is not doing as well this year as it did last year. According to the Bright Multiple List Service, which is used by all local REALTORS® to list available properties, the number of new listings in Berlin between January 2019 and May 2019 increased by 13.6 percent compared to the same time period last year. That’s more Berlin property owners putting their homes on the market. The number of home sales in the Town of Berlin between January 2019 and May 2019 decreased by 8% compared to the same time period last year. The volume of real estate sold between January 2019 and May 2019 decreased by 5.3%. That’s less homes selling in Berlin.
We want Berlin’s real estate market to be successful, not only for our members, but also for the property owners whose rights we are sworn to protect. While it is encouraging that the town is receiving building permits, to allude that the real estate market isn’t taking a hit, despite these drastic cost increases, is incorrect and misleading.
(The writer is a director with the Coastal Association of REALTORS®.)
Event Support Acknowledged
The second year of “The Big Get-Together” was a big success. I would like to personally thank everyone who contributed so generously to our fundraising event, held on May 22 at the Ocean City Center for the Arts.
The Big Get-Together brought together tastings of craft beer, local wines, local food, original artwork, live music, and a “99 Bottles of Wine on the Wall” auction for a fun-filled evening that raised much-needed funds to support the programs of the Art League of Ocean City.
A special thank you to Sandy Gillis and her OC Foodie Tour for bringing in tastings from Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon, Candy Kitchen Shoppes, Dolle’s Candyland, Higgins Crab House, Longboard Café, OC Wasabi, Pit n Pub, Ripienos, Sanibel’s Oceanside 32 and Tailchasers. Thank you to Jamie Albright for coordinating the wall of wine and auction and to ShoreCraft Beer for lining up the craft beers tastings and Windmill Creek Winery & Vineyards for the local wine tastings.
Our gratitude also goes out to all who donated gift cards for our auction, including Angler, Coconuts, Creative Day Spa, Dolle’s Candyland, BLU/Embers, Fenwick Inn, Guido’s Burritos, Jolly Roger, OC Foodie Tour, Old Pro Golf, Pit n Pub, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Roland Powell Convention Center, SeaQuest Fashions, Team Productions, Touch of Italy, and Windmill Creek.
Thank you to Claire Esham for the wonderful music, and to all the wine donors who provided bottles for the auction. We also want to recognize the many volunteers to helped make this event possible, including Sandy Glassman, Kathy Bohs, Susan Burch, Marian Bickerstaff, Menat Elgadder, Becky Simonds and Shannon Southcomb.
Art does “bring together” the best in all of us.
(The writer is the executive director of the Art League of Ocean City and Ocean City Center for the Arts.)