Tuesday, March 24, 2020
To the Citizens and Guests of Berlin
To the Citizens and Guests of Berlin:
This is the second public statement issued by the Town of Berlin regarding the evolving situation as a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic. I anticipate that there will be at a minimum, weekly public statements from the Town of Berlin in the immediately foreseeable future.
Effective today, Monday, March 23, 2020 the Town of Berlin is closing our public parks (Henry Park, Heron Park, and Stephen Decatur Park). Berlin Police will continue to patrol our town parks and public places to reinforce this ban during the current health emergency.
We continue to be in regular contact with the Worcester County Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health to seek their advice and guidance. I feel fortunate that we are in the State of Maryland where state government is proactively responding to this health care crisis. They have and continue to provide thoughtful, credible actions and communications to Maryland communities and citizens.
Berlin supports Gov. Larry Hogan’s request today for all Marylanders to, “stay in your home, unless you have an essential reason to leave your house.” This is especially important if you are in one of the higher-risk groups for COVID-19: are over age 60, have diabetes, heart disease or lung disease.
The Town of Berlin has cancelled all public events in April 2020. We will be announcing a decision in a couple of weeks as to whether the Town will cancel any or all public events in Berlin planned for May.
Also, one week from now the Town of Berlin will announce the rescheduling of previously cancelled municipal public meetings. They will be held in electronic video/audio live format so citizens can follow from home. But citizens will not be able to attend these public meetings in person in accordance with the state’s order to not gather in groups of 10 persons or more.
As mayor, I have decided that when the town’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget process resumes in April, I will not be recommending any property tax increase in our new municipal budget. I will propose holding the tax rate to 80 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is the current rate.
As this crisis unfolds it gives us time for reflection, and once again we should be grateful to live in a rural community with a significantly less dense population than suburban and urban areas. This does not mean any of us are immune to the coronavirus, but with reasoned, informed actions and consideration for our family and others, we all can minimize the spread and impact of this disease in our area.
The Town of Berlin will distribute this public notice and other such notifications to all local media, and post with other helpful information to the following: berlinmd.gov/news/; Berlin Facebook page; Berlin’s Public Access Channel and will continue to display notices outside of Town Hall.
This unprecedented health emergency will certainly test not only our patience, but the very character of our community both as individuals and as the extended family of Berlin.
Mayor Wm. Gee Williams, III
Town of Berlin, Maryland
at 3/24/2020 06:00:00 PM