a. A Forensic Audit by an independent outside auditor is to take place immediately before a new Town Manager is hired to verify the financial stability of the Town Government.b. The inappropriate relationship between the current CFO and the previous Town Manager may have bypassed whatever checks and balances might have existed within the Town Government. Therefore, a forensic audit is necessary to dispel any hint of collusion and scandal.c. Issuing Town vehicles to employees for personal use should be discontinued for liability reasons. A mileage allowance or fixed monthly transportation allowance should be used instead.d. Acquisition of real property valued at $100,000 or more should be brought to referendum with specific reasons for acquiring the property (i.e. infrastructure improvements, recreation, open space, etc.).
a. The Town Council should be expanded to five members. The current system has allowed one strong councilmember, in collaboration with the Town Manager, to run the Town and subvert the democratic process. The threat of exclusion from decision-making keeps dissenting members in line and leads to unequal representation and infringement of tax-payer rights.b. Consideration should be given to an elected Mayor rather than a Town Manager. This would increase accountability within the government.c. Consultants should be hired as needed rather than full-time staff, especially to execute grants so the cost of personnel with necessary experience and expertise can be adjusted according to need.d. The salary structure should be revisited to reflect what is realistic for a Town of our size.
a. The investment in the Wharf to turn it into a center of commerce and tourism has been a disappointment. The Town Council should develop a plan, with input from a group of citizens, which attempts to recover some of the millions of dollars that have been invested in the Wharf properties. This group should especially include residents of North Brook, Symphony Village and the downtown area.b. A Heritage/Downtown Revitalization Plan should be developed for the old part of town. The goal would be to attract a reasonable amount of tourism and provide restaurants and shopping for the existing residents of Town, especially Symphony Village and North Brook. This type of plan requires a professional planner so resources, trends, and patterns can be thoroughly analyzed juxtaposed to services, events, and economic potential. This Plan also should examine the current status of floating/revitalization zones to insure neighborhood compatibility. Most important, this Plan should be guided by extensive citizen input to guide future development, redevelopment, and infill.c. Additional low-income housing, subsidized by the taxpayers, in the old part of town is not conducive to improving the vitality of the Town and could instead keep people away and potentially create declining conditions. Other solutions should be found to provide low-income housing rather than concentrated low-income housing projects where no transportation exists. Most jurisdictions have moved away from this model because it doesn't work and are instead focusing on dispersed housing (see the Crisfield Strategic Revitalization Plan). We urge the Town Council to review other municipalities where this has been done and look at the results. This has the potential to destroy one of the Town's largest and most promising tax-bases instead of allowing to emerge as a center for commerce (see Crisfield, Easton, others).d. We would also urge the Town Council to consider a Developer's Rights and Responsibilities Ordinance (DRRA) to insure that citizens have a say in the development process and that developers are held accountable to the Town's tax-payers for promised returns. Costs should not be passed on to citizens so that an outside company can profit.
A group of citizens from Downtown, the Wharf, North Brook and Symphony Village
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