Elkton Town Hall, June 2, 2010 — It was an unusually long meeting for the Mayor and Commissioners this evening, the board finally adjourning around 9:15 p.m. After being sworn in the newly elected officials spent most of this evening listening to citizen concerns about utility rate increases.
Speaker after speaker came forward to ask what could be done to alleviate some of the financial burden the rate increase is going to place on households. Most also wanted to know how they were going to be kept informed about what was going to be done and how they could constructively participate in the process. To that Commissioner Jablonski acknowledged that it was a challenge with keeping the public informed since the “Cecil Whig no longer sends a reporter to town meetings.” But she suggested that ratepayers visit the town web site where information is posted.
As for participation, the Commissioners suggested the public attend the next workshop, but she reminded them that they could only monitor the session since the public isn’t allowed to comment. That brought chuckles from the concerned audience and caused Commissioner Piner to suggest that for just this time the ratepayers be allowed to send one person to the workshop to represent them. Commissioner Givens agreed with the need to open up the process in Elkton to the public more since it is something he speaks about often. But he was concerned with limiting it to one person since different neighborhoods such as Thomson Estates, Elkwood Estates and Holly Hall Terrace are involved with unique interests and the varied input may help the board make a better decision. As they exchanged points of view on that and Commissioner Piner worried about the meeting getting out of control, Commissioner Givens said “You control it with the gavel. If someone gets out of order you gavel the meeting back to attention.”
When the vote on the question of allowing one person to speak was called Mayor Fisona and Commissioners Jablonski and Piner voted in favor while Commissioners Givens and Hicks were opposed. Thus one person will be allowed to represent the ratepayers.
The public kept asking for information on what rate increase the town was considering and were informed that all options were open. In earlier workshops, the administration had narrowed it attentions down to option D and the board had talked about the recommended plan in some detail. As a result, they had the admnistration draft an ordinance reflecting an increase as outlined in the option they were identifying in their deliberations as D. Of course, they could go back to the drawing board and have the administration consider the other possibilities outlined in the report.
In other business, two citizens asked about hook-up waivers and were informed that the town didn’t have the authority to waive those. That caused a serious of exchanges about what they’d done previously for other projects.
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