Berlin Town Leaders Discuss Idea to Have Businesses Help Pay for - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Berlin Town Leaders Discuss Idea to Have Businesses Help Pay for Downtown Infrastructure Projects

Posted: Apr 04, 2018 11:23 AM Updated:

BERLIN, Md. - With back-to-back business lining Main Street in Berlin, it's easy to see why Mayor Gee Williams says downtown business is on the rise.

"We anticipate that that can continue, but not without public investments," said Mayor Williams.

Public investments the Mayor said will help pay for various infrastructure projects and other services in the downtown area.

"Parking is one of the most obvious immediate public investments we need to make. I do believe the downtown community, which will directly benefit from this investment should be a part of it," said Mayor Williams.

They're investments Mayor Williams said are also necessary because Maryland does not allow a local sales tax that would fund town improvements.

Mayor Williams said one idea is to create a downtown economic development district, which would set up a fee structure where money would be set aside for downtown projects.

Some business owners said a plan like that would only hurt customers.

"It's not something where you can take a business the size of mine and throw another 1,000 or 2,000 on top of it and not expect prices to go up because profit margin is not there," said Ruth Koontz, owner of Main Street Deli.

Victorian Charm co-owner Steve Frene said he understands the concern, but he believes it's important that businesses support the town.

"We're always ready to invest in the future, and if it requires a little more money to provide parking for our customer Victorian Charm is certainly for it," said Frene.

But before any plans are put in place, owners like Ruth and Steve want town leaders to know their doors are open for discussion. 

Mayor Gee Williams said open discussion is the focus before a plan is established.


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