By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(July 12, 2018) At-Large Berlin Town Councilman Thom Gulyas on Monday filed paperwork to seek a second term in office.
Gulyas, 53, was born in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania and moved to the area in 1982.
He is the owner of Ace Printing & Mailing in Berlin, His mother, the late Louise Gulyas, was a four-term Worcester County Commissioner.
Running for a first term four years ago, he said, was because of “a sense of obligation and a sense of wanting to help my community.”
“Everyone says, ‘Well, your mom did it, so you should do it.’ I’ve got really big shoes to fill if I try to go down that road,” he said. “I was very proud of what she did. I hope I’m half as successful as she was.
“The main reason why I ran was because I love our community and I love the Town of Berlin, and I want to make sure it continues in the right direction,” he added.
Despite his service, Gulyas called himself “the new guy” and said he was still learning the job. He credited Berlin workers with most of the success of the town, as well as Mayor Gee Williams.
“I think we have a mayor who works very hard. He and I don’t always agree … but I think he always has the best interest of the town at heart,” Gulyas said. “And I enjoy working with the council. I think we all get along extremely well and, once the vote’s taken, the vote’s taken. It’s on to something else.”
He said the major issues over the next several years would likely include improved relations with the Berlin Fire Company, developing Berlin Falls park and finding ways to address parking issues downtown.
On the fire company, Gulyas said there were “a ton of personalities involved.”
“I know that they feel we want to run the fire company and that’s the furthest thing from the truth,” he said. “I believe I’m the only one [on the council] that’s ever been with a fire department, but that doesn’t mean I’m eligible to run a fire department. (Editor’s note: Councilman Zack Tyndall was a member of the Berlin Fire Company).
“We don’t want to run it, but we are accountable for that tax money that goes in there to support those folks … and we need to know where that money is going,” he continued. “I think we’re headed in the right direction now, but it’s not going to be cured overnight. It’s going to take some time.”
He said there were lots of opportunities for town parks, especially with the one recently purchased and that happens to be across from his office on Old Ocean City Boulevard.
“There are things I’d like to see personally and things other folks would like to see, but I need people to understand that a nature trail is not going to pay a $2.5 million bill — not unless everybody wants to pay $100 to see some turtles and birds,” he said.
Ideally, Gulyas would like to see the town build a recreation center and have the county parks and recreation department run it.
“They do a fantastic job with Snow Hill,” he said. “On the worst, dreariest days, you can go in and walk the track and everybody from the neighborhood is in there. It is a great place.
“It wouldn’t be terribly expensive to build and in the long run it would behoove us, because we need something on this end [of the county]. I think it would be a great partnership.”
Gulyas said the town has been too relaxed when it comes to enforcing parking laws. People parking all day in front of marked two-hour parking spaces, for instance, are taking up valuable space and should be ticketed, he said.
“You’ve got to make some more room,” he said. “The mayor has got some good ideas and that’s something we need to tackle real, real soon.”
He said he was open to charging tourists for parking and added, “I don’t think that the residents should foot the bill for all of the activities on Main Street. That’s not right. Those that use should pay.”
For the most part, Gulyas said he was thrilled with the way town government operates. He said it was “about as transparent as could possibly be.”
“As far as the town goes our job, as mayor and council, is easy because it’s the town employees that make us look really good. And I firmly believe that,” he said. “They are the front folks for all of us and I can’t thank them enough. They do a phenomenal job for a little town.”