By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(June 21, 2018) The Berlin Mayor and Council last Monday discussed the following items during a public meeting at Town Hall:
Budget adoption upcoming
Finance Director Natalie Saleh said she is finalizing budget reports in anticipation of the budget’s adoption at the June 25 Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
A first reading of fiscal year 2019 budget took place at the May 29 Town Council meeting, and a public hearing is required before it can be adopted.
The proposed 2019 budget totals $17.963 million, about 5.7 percent less than the previous budget. Capital projects total $3.8 million, about 17 percent less than in fiscal 2018.
The council on May 29 voted unanimously to retain the current property tax rate of 0.68 cents per $100 of valuation.
Electric Utilities Director Tim Lawrence said his department is installing a fiber-optic network for the new Berlin library on Harrison Avenue and the police station on Decatur Street.
The new library has a tentative opening date of July 10.
Police Chief Arnold Downing said he recently met with library personnel to discuss lighting and security.
Planning Director Dave Engelhart said officials from the library and the new AGH cancer center had both contacted him to discuss closeout procedures.
“They’re nearing completion,” he said. “They’re both … staying with their deadlines. The projects are going well.”
Police again busy
Downing said although Berlin got quite a bit of water on the previous Saturday, “bOcean City got a lot more” during a major storm that reportedly dropped more than seven inches of rain.
Berlin Police used a five-ton military surplus vehicle to assist several stranded motorists in Ocean City, Downing said.
“Our truck was actually involved in three assists,” he said. “It’s a blessing that no one was injured with that much water inside the city.”
Engelhart said he’s continued work on a Maryland Bikeways grant application, which was approved by the council on May 29.
The council had approved a plan for the $950,000 bikeway, a 1.8-mile path that would run adjacent to existing railroad lines.
The first phase of the bikeway, running from Berlin Falls park to Broad Street, was estimated to cost $300,000, with the town paying for about 20 percent in matching funds and in-kind services.
“[The grant] is due Thursday, so we’re trying to get it in and get some construction funds for that bikeway,” Engelhart said.