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Mayor to give Smithsburg's first state of town address

April 02, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

SMITHSBURG - Mayor Tommy Bowers is slated to make Smithsburg history when he holds the community's first state of the town address.

The mayor has not given a date for his speech, saying that "it will be part of the budgetary process."

Bowers is expected to present a tentative budget to council this month.

An annual address detailing the mayor's plans for the town, is required according to the town charter.

"I'm not sure why it was never done before," Bowers said.

The mayor said he will give the speech to inform the public of his vision for the town.

Bowers said he will speak of the need for him and the Town Council to work together for the good of Smithsburg.

"There is a lot of opportunity to get things done if we could just cooperate," he said.

He said he will also focus on the status of the town's water and sewer rates, the North Main Street drainage and paving project, parks and town library expansion.

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The mayors of Hagerstown and Hancock gave similar addresses earlier this year. The mayors of other towns in Washington County have not given state of the town addresses.

Bowers has gone back and forth in his decision to hold his address in recent weeks.

David Williams, who was one of the council members to vote to remove Bowers as police chief, has criticized the mayor for the delay in presenting the address.

"I have reminded the mayor on numerous occasions of his responsibility to the citizens of the town that, in accordance with the charter of the town, he should give an accounting of the actions of government," Williams said.

Bowers said he has hesitated because of fear of perpetuating tension among council members who may disagree with his plans for the future.

When Bowers does present his speech, resident Mary White said she will be in the first row.

"I'm for it. The better informed people are the better choices they can make and be active in the community," she said.

"It's a great idea," said Troy Jernigan, parks committee member. He said residents should attend Bowers' speech and regular meetings to voice their opinions on town issues.

"So many people are quick to criticize but whenever it comes time to participate they're never there," he said.

Citizens Police Advisory Committee member Jake Johnson echoed those sentiments.

"I think it's a good idea just as long as it's what he wants to do," Johnson said.

Johnson said Bowers may feel he is being pushed into holding an address by Town Council members who oppose him.

"I give him a lot of credit. If he follows through with it, it shows he has a lot of character," he said.

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