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


Town makes deal to save $1.5 million on MDE loan

BERLIN — The Mayor and Council passed a measure that could save the town as much as $1.5 million on the new wastewater treatment plant. Under an agreement with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) the Town will issue a bond for $3.5 million and use the cash it raises to pay off that much of the treatment plant and spray site debt.
As long as the town is able to make its bond payments the additional $1.5 million due the MDE will be a forgiven loan, which amounts to it being a grant. The funds primarily cover the storage and irrigation portions of the upgrade.
Mayor Gee Williams one again credited the Town staffers for their work both in getting the grants and meeting all the requirements and deadlines they entailed. He looked forward to hearing of completion of the plant’s final stage.
“It should be done just about a year from now,” Williams said.
Water Resources Director Jane Kreiter told the Council that the fair weather has allowed the contractors to begin setting up and that she expects the work to begin directly.
Williams said that although many people complain about environmental restrictions and the MDE bureaucracy, he could find no fault with their performance and was happy to have their contribution.
“They’ve been very supportive through this whole process,” he said.
Berlin Director of Business and Economic Development Michael Day presented the Council with the bookmark listing all the scheduled events for the coming year. 
“It’s an inch longer,” he said, referencing the many additional planned events the Town has either added or began participating in.
One of the big economic development announcements Day was able to make was that the Town of Berlin will be featured on the cover of the Seagull Century Bike Race guide this October. The annual event draws thousands of participants from around the country as well as a significant number of international participants.
In addition to the guide cover the Town will be featured on the back of 10,000 participant shirts and will be a designated stopover for the event.
The publicity is expected not only to draw thousands into town for the day but also to act as and enticement for return trips as people begin to plan their winter excursions and summer vacations. 
Day also took the opportunity to welcome Ocean City into the fold as one of the newest members of the Main Street Maryland Program. He said he looks forward to working even more closely with them as part of the Eastern Shore Main Streets.
Assistant Town Administrator Mary Bohlen told the Mayor and Council she and the other participating partners and departments were preparing for Take Pride in Berlin Week, April 21-28. Expanded from Take Pride in Berlin Day, which involved park cleanups, this year the Town will partner with Grow Berlin Green to hold additional civic pride events.
Take Pride in Berlin Week is tentatively to end with a Walkable, Bikable Berlin event. Slated to begin at Buckingham Elementary, Bohlen said she had yet to finalize the details and would make them public as soon as everything was set.
Mike Gibbons, Director of Public Works said he was working with Bohlen on a plan for a walking path in Henry Park. 
Additionally, he said the public works department was taking advantage of the mild weather to get a jump on general maintenance and cleanup in the Town parks and public spaces.
Berlin Director of Human Resources, Jeff Fleetwood reported to the Mayor and Council that the Town would receive $31,000 to defray the costs associated with preparing for and cleaning up after Hurricane Irene. The funds will be provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and are expected to be available shortly.
Fleetwood also announced that Berlin was recognized as one of only 41 policy holders out of more than 22,000 to receive a loss prevention award from the Town’s insurance company. He said it was a testament to the employees commitment to safety and their willingness to continue attending education events that improve on the job safety.