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


Berlin makes right call on project’s annexation

To grow or not to grow, that is the question just about every prosperous community asks itself at one time or another, as residents and officials debate the question of how much success is too much.
What makes that question so arguable, as the Berlin Town Council demonstrated Monday, is that there isn’t any clear answer.
While it is true that a community can outgrow its charm and flavor, it is also impossible to maintain a set level of livability at a similarly fixed level of expense. Expenses always go up and, consequently, there are only two ways to cover the increases: raise taxes periodically to cover rising costs or keep the tax rate down by expanding the assessable base through growth.
The problems are simple, but the answers aren’t, as other Eastern Shore towns discovered when their attempts to hold back the tide of growth resulted in the departure of long-time residents who were forced out by rising costs of living.
That’s what it always comes down to: who will pay the bill for keeping a community the way it is while also enabling it to add the amenities and services residents want?
As there is no pure solution, the next best thing is to do what the Berlin Town Council majority did Monday, when it annexed the Seahawk Road property where an apartment complex will stand.
Doing so will increase the town’s tax base and bring in new revenue. Town officials also seem to have done their due diligence on the project and its developer and have taken into consideration the concerns of neighboring residents.
As was pointed out during the meeting, there is no such thing as a perfect situation. Problems of growth will arise, but the majority agreed that the upside of the annexation is worth it.
Perhaps the most appropriate comment of the evening was made by Council member Dean Burrell, when he said, “The future is not promised to any one of us, and it’s incumbent upon us to do the best we can today.”