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Forum for small-town leaders tackles big issues

October 04, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Candace Donaho with the Md Municpal League and Mayor of Chesapeake Beach Bruce Wahl facilitate the Small Town Forum at the Maryland Municipal League Fall Conference on Thursday.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The closing of post offices and an increase to the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fee were some of the topics that were discussed during a small town forum Thursday at Hager Hall in Hagerstown.

Dozens of officials from small towns across the state attended the discussion, which was one of many that will be held for the rest of this week in the city as the Maryland Municipal League holds its annual fall conference.

Maryland Municipal League President Judith Davis said the primary focus of the event is for league members to discover their legislative priorities and vote on them as a body. MML officials then take those priorities to the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis.

“It’s also a chance for people to come and talk with each other, find out what problems they have and share solutions,” Davis said. “We have training sessions as well, especially for those that are newly elected and for those perhaps who need a little reminder of what the job of being a municipal official is all about.”

Boonsboro Town Councilwoman Janeen Solberg was the only one of several town officials from Washington County who spoke during the discussion.

She offered advice to others who said they were concerned by the United States Postal Service’s recent decision to close small post offices statewide.

“I manage a small business on Main Street in Boonsboro and, as a small business, we depend on our post office,” Solberg said. “I would implore to the small businesses in your community to get support from them.”

A portion of the forum focused on the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fee being raised from $30 to $60 per year. The increase took effect July 1 and generates millions of dollars to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Many of the officials said they were concerned that senior citizens and other residents on fixed incomes wouldn’t be able to afford the increase.

Davis said the organization has an annual summer conference at Ocean City and switches the location of its smaller fall conference from year to year.

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