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Tempers flare at Smithsburg town council meeting

April 08, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Jerome Martin
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SMITHSBURG -- Tensions rose again Tuesday night between Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers and some members of the Smithsburg Town Council, this time over declining funding and garbage services.

It started when town council member Jerome Martin said a combination of declining state highway-user revenue, declining property assessments and the county's plan to eliminate a tax rebate to local municipal governments could leave Smithsburg facing a deficit of about $350,000.

Martin said the deficit could be reduced to about $200,000 through a property tax increase.

Martin also said the town should re-examine its garbage collection service in town, possibly scaling back the town's yard waste pickup service.

Myers said changes in the town's trash service cannot be changed now because town council members have already told the town's trash hauler that the company would continue to be used.

Tensions increased as Martin and Myers argued about the issue and others, such as when the town knew about the elimination of the county's tax rebate system.

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Council member Donnie Souders also joined in the debate.

"All right. Okay. Stop it," said Myers, who slammed down her gavel. "We are here to serve citizens. We are not here to argue over silly little things."

Souders issued a statement after Tuesday's meeting, saying Myers has started working on the town's budget, which she will give to council members soon.

Souders said in his statement that several town council members have asked that there be an "open and honest debate" about the loss of revenue facing the town.

Souders said council members have been told that there will be no discussion on budget issues until a work session that is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Tensions have increased periodically at town council meetings. During a March 2 council meeting, there was a long, heated debate over how the town will conduct mowing this summer.

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