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


Commissioners may tap reserves

SNOW HILL — Worcester County has run dangerously low on cash and could have to borrow from its reserves, Worcester County Finance Officer Harold Higgins told the county commissioners Tuesday.

He said circumstances beyond the administration’s control had caused the situation, but that the county is generally low on cash at this time of the year as they wait for payments to begin. In addition to a lag in local tax revenue payments, tax processing in Ocean City and Pocomoke City remains incomplete. 

“We haven’t had to hit it yet,” Higgins said of the reserve fund. 

Should the transfer be needed to solve what he characterized as a temporary cash flow problem, the commissioners authorized Higgins to take the necessary steps at his discretion. Once the revenue stream is no longer hampered, the reserves will be re-funded the complete amount.

In other county government business, the commissioners exempted the newly created Worcester County Liquor Control Board from county bidding rules, given that the nature of its business involves different processes and regulations than county departments usually encounter.

They also approved the transfer of the former Liquor Board employees’ benefit and retirement packages from the defunct board’s benefit accounts to the county’s control. 

Under questioning from Commissioner Virgil Shockley, Higgins assured the commissioners that there would be no cost to the county to administer the program, barring a completely unforeseen circumstance such as a lawsuit.

The commissioners appointed Higgins the trustee and voted to officially accept the Liquor Board employees as county employees.

County administrator Gerald Mason said he spoke with Bobby Cowger, newly appointed director of the LCB, who reported that everything went smoothly over the Independence Day weekend. The commissioners praised all those involved in the transition for their work on and during the change in management.

Also, Diakonia was once again eligible for a multi-year grant from the Homeless Women — Crisis Shelter Home Program. The $73,671 grant will help to fund the charity providing $24,557 per year.

In order to receive the grant, Diakonia required certification from the Worcester County Commissioners, who approved it unanimously.

The Berlin Community Improvement Association (BICA)was exempted from county property taxes. The non-profit BICA runs several programs and facilities around town including the Multi-Purpose Building on Flower Street.

The commissioners will host a dedication of the county dental center in Downtown Berlin 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 19. The public is invited to attend.