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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Series of unfortunate events bedevils Berlin

This has not been the Town of Berlin’s year.

Although everyone generally accepts the principle that nothing stays positive forever, as the laws of the universe dictate, no one could have foreseen or expected that so many negatives would arrive one after the other on Town Hall’s doorstep.

This is especially so considering the town’s extraordinarily long run of good fortune.

First, budget problems caused by tax rates that had been kept artificially low for years led to a hugely unpopular rate adjustment.
Next, shortages in the water and sewer funds, also brought on by years of holding rates in check while expenses rose, reached critical mass in the spring, forcing the mayor and council to impose similarly unpopular rate increases in those categories.

Public reaction to the water and sewer rates situation prompted criticism of the town’s purchase of the Heron Park parcel, even though the latter had no financial relationship with the former.

Then, just when criticism of the park purchase subsided, a container or containers of the toxic chemical sodium hydroxide that no one apparently knew about was exposed during the demolition of a building on the park property. That resulted in a cleanup bill of more than a quarter of a million dollars for the already cash-strapped town.

And this week, the mayor and council fired Town Administrator Laura Allen but can’t say why out of fairness and without exposing the town to some form of legal action.

Any one of these things occurring in a year would be bad enough, but to have all four happen over the course of five or six months is a vicious blow from the public perspective.

Even so, the town will recover. The question now is how quickly it will do that and whether picking at these unfortunate events with the clarity of hindsight will be yet another hindrance to the progress that everyone wants restored.