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From the Desk of
Town Commissioner Chris Staiger

(Nov, 2010) October has been an eventful month in town government. Following our municipal election at the end of September, returning Commissioner Glenn Blanchard and newly elected Commissioner Pat Joy were seated. Thank you to all who took the time to come out and vote! Thank you also to election judges Sharon Hane, Lisa Mazaleski, and Charlotte Mazaleski for spending the day and night checking us in and then tallying the ballots. I would also like to thank departing Commissioner Denise Etris for her hard work – especially getting the Community Advisory Board up and running. Her dedication and follow through has been greatly appreciated and will be sorely missed!

In October, the Board received an update from Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage (CWH) on their management of the Scott Road Farm off of Annandale Road under the state sponsored Conservation Reserve Enhancement (CREP) Program . This program is meant to return agricultural land to its pre agricultural state through the removal of invasive species and promotion of an environment favorable to native plants and wildlife. The town receives income from CWH greater than the previous agricultural use, while CWH manages the property – seeding and weeding to meet the program’s goals. Current plans now call for the creation of a ten acre wetland zone at one corner of the property. This should result in an attractive environment for migratory waterfowl as well as native plants and insects.

Also in October, the Board approved a change to parking requirements for new commercial uses in the ‘Village Zone.’ In some ways, these requirements in the town center were more stringent than for other commercial uses outside the town center. Now, everyone will be on level playing field. The board is committed to promoting commercial uses along Main Street and Seton Avenue and will continue to investigate opportunities to promote commercial development in the town center as well as larger scale opportunities in other designated business corridors such as Silo Hill Parkway, Creamery Road, and Rt. 140 east of US15. In partnership with Mount Saint Mary’s University, the town office will be conducting a survey of local business to identify additional areas of concern and improvement.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to say about the November elections besides vote, and vote your conscience! I guess I’ll go so far as to say that I am always surprised that what was right last time is wrong this time and then right again the next time– but I guess that’s the whiplash nature of politics… I hear and understand the desire for lower taxes and less debt but I also realize that those actions have consequences in terms of services. Since "entitlement spending," whether social security and medicare at the national level or education funding at the local level, absorbs such great percentages of the budget, reductions tend to take place at the margins. For us locally, this probably means the elimination of county funding to the Up County Program or additional reductions to county services offered at the community center such as senior programs and local access to social services.

In a similar vein, the town government will have to make a determination in December whether we should maintain our contract for three resident deputies with the County Sheriff’s Office. This expenditure currently accounts for $300,000 of our 1.5 million dollar budget. It was just a few years ago when the town was flush with money from residential development that the addition of a third deputy was approved. Now that times are tight, the question is should we go back to two resident deputies? I encourage you to contact the commissioners with your opinions on this issue. This hundred thousand dollar expenditure is probably the single largest item we will address in the budget year!

Otherwise, I wish all of you a safe and happy Halloween and Thanksgiving Holiday. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and concerns at 447-3757 or Thanks, Chris Staiger

Sincerely, Chris Staiger

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