Voices From The Readers
Column On Berlin Living Hits Home
I greatly enjoyed reading Steve Green's column in the May 11 edition of (ITALICS)The Dispatch. Having grown up in Berlin, as both my parents did before me, and as my mother's parents did before her, I could certainly identify with the sentiments expressed in the column. I cannot imagine living anywhere else, despite the other terrific choices here within Worcester County. Ocean City, Ocean Pines, Snow Hill and Pocomoke all have their own assets, but Berlin is my hometown.
As the column states, 'Berlin is not without its struggles.' As State's Attorney, I feel it incumbent upon me to point out how hard the local law enforcement community works at preventing crime in Berlin. Chief Arnold Downing is a great ambassador for the town at a variety of boards he and I serve on together. His heart and efforts are truly on making life in Berlin as close to perfect as possible.
Recently, my office has begun an experimental 'Community Prosecution' effort, in which I personally work out of the Berlin Police Substation at Quail Run I on Mondays of each month. I work with police officers, probation officers, addictions councilors, mental health workers, and other community leaders, at reviewing recent criminal events within the town, and strategizing how to prevent future events from occurring. Berlin was selected as the place to begin this program because of its successful C-Safe (collaborative supervision and enforcement) effort which has been in operation for several years.
I urge any citizen with an issue as to crime or standard of living issues within the town to stop and discuss it with me on Mondays at the Berlin Substation from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(The writer is the Worcester County State's Attorney.)
Once again the Ocean City Council members are planning a back-door increase in the money paid by Ocean City residents to obtain water.
When the new Worcester County library is completed in north Ocean City, the building and property of the old library in downtown Ocean City reverts back to the Town of Ocean City. The council members are then planning to sell this property to the Ocean City Water Fund for $315,000. Last year the Ocean City Water Fund lost $121,000, resulting in water rates recently being raised by 4 percent.
During the council's hearing on the 2008 Ocean City budget, City Manager Dennis Dare told the council members that the need to replace water facilities 'exceeds a couple of million dollars.' Since money to pay Water Fund expenses must come from billing Ocean City property owners, this means that the water rates in Ocean City will once again have to be raised to pay an unnecessary $315,000 to the city. Moreover, once the Water Fund obtains possession of the old library property, the council members on a motion by Council member Nancy Howard, voted to have the Water Fund pay to demolish the building to prevent, in the words of Mayor Rick Meehan, another city agency from moving into the building.
Now I am sure that the council members and their city bureaucrats can come up with an explanation for using this accounting gimmickry to justify this incestuous sale between the city and its water fund. But I have a good idea. Let's have the city donate the old library property to the water fund and it would not cost the Ocean City property owners any money.
Richard W. Quinn
Mosquito Control Tips
Residents of Ocean Pines can do much to help control mosquitoes in our community by a few simple steps on their own properties. Since the mosquitoes can only breed in standing water, here are a few tips.
1. Empty all containers holding water around your yard twice weekly. For example, this includes birdbaths, child's wading pools, etc.
2. Drop a 'Mosquito Dunk' into places where water cannot be emptied such as puddles that accumulate in ditches or low spots in woods near your home.
Mosquito dunks are sold locally at Ocean Pines Public Works Dept. ($8 for a six-pack)
3. If you live in an area that is fairly free of trees, a purple martin bird house can be installed, as these birds will eat mosquitoes.
These steps can help to keep mosquito counts low in our community and limit the spraying of toxic pesticides.
Tom and Betty Hemmick
Convention Center Expansion Not Needed
Only the Ocean City Council would continue to spend money on efforts to expand the operations of a money losing activity.
The Ocean City Council has obtained an additional $5 million in borrowing authority to consider the expansion of the Ocean City Convention Center. While the council has a study planned to determine if it is economically feasible to expand the convention center, the council members must be clairvoyant because it is planning to spend $250,000 to relocate a water well that lies in the same location as the area where the expansion will be built.
To pay for this expansion, the 1-percent tax on food paid by Ocean City residents and visitors will have to stay in place longer than planned. According to Ocean City financial records, in 2006 the convention center lost $1.2 million. In the next two years, the convention center's loss is estimated at $2.9 million.
Instead of being concerned with expanding this money losing activity, the Ocean City Council should first try to find out why the convention center continues to lose money. Ocean City voters should remember what actions the City Council takes to eliminate this loss the next time they enter the voting booth.
Shepherd's Crook, the food pantry at St. Paul's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in downtown Ocean City, would like to express heartfelt thanks to the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) for their recent Food Drive donation.
Because of the NALC's kind efforts and the generosity of the Ocean City community, Shepherd's Crook received an abundance of food items to stock its shelves. Open three days a week, Shepherd's Crook distributes food and clothing at no cost to guests.
The Crook serves many of Ocean City's neediest residents and visitors, and its ministry is made possible by the generous support of partners like the NALC. We are extremely grateful to the NALC for their help in supporting those in need of assistance in our community.
We thank the Letter Carriers in advance for their continued support in the future.
(The writer is the director of the Shepherd's Crook at the St. Paul's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.)
Give Trimper's A Break
What will the loss of Trimper's mean? What will the loss mean to the draw of the Boardwalk? What will the loss mean to the many children and adults who enjoy the rides and games? What will replace this time-honored business if it is forced to close? What will replace this business and will it be able to fill the void that will be left or will it be just another tasteless, useless condo complex?
These are the questions our elected officials need to ponder when considering the request for some tax relief for this local business. Will the mayor and council turn a blind eye to these questions? Will they insist that Trimper's must pay their full tax burden? Will they as with other decisions make the mistake of figuring that something else will automatically move into Trimpers place without considering what the loss of the family entertainment will mean?
All these questions must be addressed when the powers to be sit down and consider what to do. Many businesses throughout the state are given special tax breaks to attract them to Maryland. I say it is time we give a tax break to this local business to keep it in Maryland.