From the Mayor's Desk
As 2013 draws tto a close
December 31, 2013
As 2013 draws to a close, it is time to reflect on the true state of the town, not necessarily what you read in the media. We have undoubtedly sold a lot of newspapers and fed the social networking sites with an abundance of rhetoric from every arm chair opinion editor in Kent County. In truth, our successes, of which there are many, are often overshadowed by the murkiness of the political process. Nevertheless, we do have a number of significant initiatives in the win column that the media may have overlooked in their haste to go to press with those 'Extra-Read All About It' headlines. I have touted these successes recently to remind everyone what we can accomplish when the crew is rowing the boat in the same direction.
In 2011 we dredged the harbor entrance to a depth of 8ft. making Rock Hall Harbor one of the deepest, most accessible, and safest harbors on the Eastern Shore. The shoaling entrance had put us on the avoidance list for a few years, and we all felt the economic impact. The Rock Hall Trolley was put into service in 2011, making affordable local transportation to everyone. We partnered with Chesapeake College to establish a GED program, as well as non-credit college classes and adult ed classes right here in Rock Hall. The GED program has already graduated six Rock Hall students. The old clam house which has been empty for a dozen years has been re-vitalized and will soon be transformed into a multi-use marine facility. The tennis courts/basketball court at the Civic Center will be completely rebuilt by spring 2014. These are but a few of the building block projects which will preserve jobs, create jobs, and re-educate our work force. With a focus on strengthening our community through the promotion of family values, we created 'Beach Fest', a Saturday night beach bonanza at the Ferry Park Beach. Entire families could come to the beach and watch big screen movies and to enjoy the fun of a beach party.
All of these projects were done at no cost to the taxpayers. In just two years this small town of less than 1300 residents managed to acquire revenue neutral funding of nearly $2 million. This was accomplished in one of the worst economic environments in recent history.
When I ran for mayor in 2011 my motives were pure and simple -to put the town in a better place. There is absolutely no fame or fortune for any elected Rock Hall official. Unlike a business, a town is a complex mix of political agendas and social agendas, in a tug of war with economic realities. It should be a black and white issue if a taxpayer in Rock Hall is paying $65 a quarter for the treatment of sewage, and Kent County is paying Rock Hall approximately $35 a quarter per household ( out of town accounts) for that very same service from the Rock Hall plant. There is a gross inequity and Rock Hall taxpayers are losing. We need to get our heads out of the sand. We were promised by our paid officials that our 1.2 megawatt solar field would save us money. The only savings realized so far have been to whoever benefitted from the huge tax credits that are derived from these alternative sources of energy. Unfortunately Rock Hall is not on that list. Someone has a lot of explaining to do. The other solar installations in Kent County are experiencing this same reality. Who benefitted? Not the taxpayers. When the mayor (officially the CEO of the town) has to request documents through a multi-mix of back channels, just to make sense of these business engagements, it is time to awaken the public. My powers have been diminished, my character demeaned, my family bullied and threatened. I realize that I stepped into a hornets' nest of political power that uses taxpayer dollars to fuel the engine.
There are petitions circulating around town to recall me. I will not quit. A vote for recall will be a vote to return to politics as usual. Reclaim your town.
We will move forward with more projects to strengthen the infrastructure of Rock Hall in 2014. There is much to do.
Mayor Bob Willis
Rock Hall, Maryland