Saturday, April 28, 2007

Delmar Delaware Proposed Town Budget

I stopped by Town Hall, yesterday, and looked over the proposed town budget for next year. Naturally I think everyone who pays taxes should do so, but the only time you can look at it is during "normal" business hours so that will prevent a large number of people from doing so. When will we get to the point where the town puts more material out on their website. The budget is not all "numbers", there is a narrative attached to it that explains what the town is planning to do with the money and where it comes from.

To put it simply I found no large issues to complain about. The Town of Delmar Delaware simply does not have that much money that they can waste. Sure, I may not be happy with some of the line items but if you were to eliminate them you still would not have a reduction in expenses that would produce any kind of significant tax reduction. Street sweeping didn't seem to get any attention in the budget. The largest item is salaries and perhaps looking at "outsourcing' some functions might be in order. The tax rates remained the same as this year. Now if I lived on the Maryland side of town I might complain about the Delmar, Maryland budget but since I live on the Delaware side there is no reason to shoot a cash cow.

The two towns are looking at increasing the police force next year by one officer and adding a part time utility clerk. The utility clerk will be paid from the inflated Utility Budget. This will bring the approved towns personnel positions to;
Police and Public safety, 14 full time and 3 part-time
Executive and financial, 8 full time and 1 part-time
Public Works and Waste Water Treatment, 9 full time and 1 part-time
For a total of 31 full time and 5 part-time people
Of course approving the positions and getting the people to fill them are two separate stories. Delmar, Maryland has a population of 1,859 people and Delmar, Delaware has 1,407, for a total of the two towns of 3,266. This would mean an average of 90 Delmar people are supporting one town employees.

In addition, on the town personnel roll are the Paramedics and EMTBs from the fire department. This would be 8 full time and 32 part-time people. The Fire department however reimburses the town for the salaries, etc related to carrying these personnel.

One revenue item it would appear they did not go with and they should have, is the street breaking permit charge. Currently, in the budget for the Delaware side they have a total of $30 and for the Maryland side $10 for the year for street breaking permits. This is a charge for when a utility or construction company comes into town and cut the street to lay a cable or pipe. Most towns charge an amount based on the square footage of the street cut made. We do not. A ride down Foskey Lane will make you want to charge them a $1,000 a square foot for the mess they have made and are making. I think, as had been suggested, a street breaking charge of $100 administration fee and $10 a square foot which would be about $600 for a street breaking permit would be fair. This would at least reimburse the town for the time and effort to inspect the paved over street cuts and repair those that collapse.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The End of "Delmar At It's Best"

Andy over at the Delmar blog "Delmar At it's Best" said he was unable to find time to keep the blog up so he was dropping it. Hope you come back one day Andy.

A Splendid Little War - III

"It has been a splendid little war; begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificence's intelligence and spirit, favored by that fortune which loves the brave."
John Hay, United States Ambassador to England

The Spanish American War was a short war, begun in April - pretty much over with in August. The flag of Spain had flown over Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico for over 300 years and in the end the United States of America flag took it's place. It gave America that false sense of power that it could take on anyone in the world. In the end, the war treaty gave us Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and we went ahead and annexed Hawaii. Altho we did not annex Cuba we had economic control over it. It allowed history teachers forever after to drum into their students the term "Manifest Destiny". The army went from under 29,000 men to over 250,000 men in in three months. Needless to say it could not train and supply this many. Most of the men spend the time in training camps and were discharged in the fall. For the Confederate and Union Veterans of the Civil war it was a last hooray. It was a training grounds for the new military men for the upcoming fighting in the Philippines, the Mexican Border War, World War I and II.

The title of this series of posts "A Splendid Little War" is a common title used by a number of authors and given to a number of articles on the Spanish American war. My posts should not be confused with them.

From the book by Charles Johnson Post called "The Little War of Private Post"
"Any book about the Spanish-American War of 1898 needs a word of introduction. For this particular subject is regarded as among the little wars that are mere trivia of history. Yet, for those who are in the war and battles and on the fighting line, there is no triviality in shaking dice with death. It makes no difference whether a man gets his along with twenty thousand others, or falls while on outpost duty all by himself. He is a hundred per cent casualty to himself. For him there is no lesser percentage. What more could there be to give?"

As the new troops were sent off on the troop trains they were given bouquets of lilacs and other spring flowers. The custom of the time called for patriotic young ladies to sew a red flannel bellyband for the men leaving for the military. The red flannel bellyband was suppose to protect the soldier from tropical ills as blackwater fever, malaria, yellow fevor etc. Due to the large number of volunteer troops in a short period of time it created a shortage of red flannel. The young ladies would also trade a kiss for a brass military button off the soldiers jacket leaving many men showing up in camp buttonless. It also created a shortage in replacement brass buttons.

William E. Carmine, who was born in Delmar Delaware, enlisted in May 1898 at the age of 21 with the 1st Regiment of the Delaware Volunteers. He was to spend his time in Camp Tunnell at Middletown, Delaware for the course of the fighting and was discharged in October. Others from the surrounding area in the 1st Regiment were; William T. Baker, Zollie C. Collins, George W. Davis, William Driskill, Harry F. Hastings, Ira E. Hearn, William L. Hearn, Emmett Hegeman, William L. Hitchens, John W. Massey, William O. McGee, Edward P. O'Neal, Joseph F. Osborn, Eugene H. Philips, Claude S. Venables, James F. Waller, Earl A. Wiley, Harry L. Wooten, and Edward M. Wootten.

Odd Fellows Cemetary Laurel Delaware
Corpl Harry F. Hastings Co I
1 Del. Inf.
Spam. War

Over in Maryland, G.Vickers White, John H. Waller, Wade Porter, William Bensinger, Percy Brewington and Morris Hitch joined the 1st Maryland Regiment. Harry Johnson and James H Burke joined the 5th Maryland Regiment. Lieutenant Albert Laws was with the 24th Infantry.

Private William Bensinger Company F, 1st Regt Maryland Infantry
Laurel Hill Cemetery Laurel Delaware

St. Stephens Cemetery (Grove Street)
James H. Burke
Company H
5th Maryland Infantry

Some general Spanish American war stats;
Total service Members 306,760
Battle Deaths 385
Other Deaths 2,061
Non Mortal woundings 1,662

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Splendid Little War - II

On April 23rd, 1898 Regent Queen Maria Cristina of the Kingdom of Spain broke off diplomatic relations with the United States of America and declared war. Click here for The Spanish Declaration of War Both sides had now given an official date to begin the Spanish American War.

A Cornerstone Community Church Event

The following was sent to me as information on an event. If your church, school or organization has an event coming up EMail me and let me know.

"Tonight at Delmar’s Youth Activity Center at LiveWire, Cornerstone Community Church will be hosting New Life Drama Company. Teens 11-High School age, Come out and enjoy the fun dramatic presentations by this dynamic drama company. The center opens at 7:00 pm and will go until about 9:00 pm Monday night, April 23, 2007. Come and bring a friend. Check out our home page at Cornerstone for more information. The Drama company will also be ministering at the 605 BiState Blvd. Delmar, MD, location on Sunday, April 29th, 2007 at the 10:30 am service. Come and bring the whole family and enjoy the drama outreach and fun."

Delmar School Referendum

On Wednesday from 12:00 Noon to 9:00 PM we will be given a chance to vote on a referendum in the Delmar School District. This referendum is called for because the School District wants to transfer money from the "debt service tax fund" to the school "operating fund", which means the residents of Delaware who live in the Delmar School District will vote to approve or disapprove this transfer. Now the result of this election is a forgone conclusion as the apathy in Delmar is so low the main group of people who will vote will probably be employees at the school, who will naturally vote to increase the "Operating Budget". Lets face it in the last referendum less than 100 people voted and determined the tax outcome for the 1,400 or 1,500 Delaware voters who could have voted. I am sure these referendums are always frustrating to the Maryland residents who have kids in the Delmar school as they don't have a vote in the matter, of course they won't be directly paying the school tax either. I have attempted to contact Dr. Ring at the school but so for have not been able to talk with him on this referendum. Should I talk with him I will update this post later.

Now, school budgets are one of the more complicated type of budgets I have looked at. To make sense of the budget is like trying to cut fog with scissors. They have sources of money flowing in from everywhere and all of it has strings attached to as to how they can spend it. I do know that the source of pretty much all the money leads back to me and the other taxpayers.

My guess is they are not paying as much in interest on the debt they took on, as they had originally budgeted, and would like to transfer some of the unused amount in this fund to the operating fund. This will amount to 15 cents per hundred. They are also combining this transfer with a five cent per hundred decrease in operating taxes.

Does this mean if you vote "no" will the amount not paid in interest decrease your taxes by 15 cents plus the 5 Cents from the normal operating fund? Will the tax rate I paid last year of $3.20 per hundred be reduced to $3.15 or $3.00? Does this mean what we are really looking at is a ten cent tax increase in the school district operating fund that is being offset by a transfer from the "interest on debt fund" (an accounting slight of hand trick)? Anyway if you vote "no" at this referendum I have no ideal what the tax outcome will be. Will taxes decrease, remain the same, or increase? It would appear if you vote "yes" to the referendum your school taxes will go down by some amount next year. This may be a good subject for Andy over at Delmar at its Best to speak on as he will be on the school board shortly.

UPDATE: Dr. Ring called me back today (4/25/07) and said a vote for the referendum would decrease the school tax by a nickle next year.

What ever is your opinion, or lack of opinion, on this referendum you should vote. It would be good to see that people turned out and at least gave it an enthusiastic approval. Apathy in an election of any kind is always pathetic. Anyone who is eighteen years of age, lives in Delaware and the Delmar School District should vote Wednesday at the Delmar School District Board of Education meeting room. You do not have to be a registered voter.