Casey run­ning for re-election in Ridgely

Times-Record - - News - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­ Fol­low Caro­line/ Dorch­ester Ed­i­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @Dustin_ StarDem.

RIDGELY — Ridgely Town Coun­cil Pres­i­dent An­thony Casey will be run­ning un­op­posed in the town’s Mon­day, April 24, election.

The election will be held at the town of­fice from 1 to 7 p.m.

Casey first earned a seat on the town coun­cil in 2010 af­ter be­ing elected as a write-in can­di­date. Casey has since won re-election and seeks an­other term. He is an ad­min­is­tra­tive mem­ber of the Ridgely Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment, a Caro­line County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment board mem­ber, Mid Shore Re­gional Coun­cil board mem­ber and past pres­i­dent for the Caro­line County As­so­ci­a­tion of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Casey said dur­ing his ten­ure, Ridgely be­came the first mu­nic­i­pal­ity to in­stall so­lar pan­els to sup­ply en­ergy to its Waste Wa­ter fa­cil­ity, which saves money on a fixed rate for 20 years and us­ing re­new­able en­ergy for a greener en­vi­ron­ment.

In 2013 Ridgely re­cov­ered from a nearly $300,000 deficit. They re­ceived the top rank­ing for its fis­cal year 2016 au­dit by TGM Group, LLC as the town con­tin­ues to in­crease its pos­i­tive fund bal­ance.

The Un­mod­i­fied Opin­ion rank­ing was the sixth-straight year the town achieved the rank­ing. Dur­ing the pe­riod, the town took a $280,000 gen­eral fund bal­ance deficit and in­creased it to a now pos­i­tive $365,000 fund bal­ance.

The town has man­aged to achieve the bud­getary suc­cess with­out stray­ing far from the con­stant yield tax rate the coun­cil re­ceives each year that presents a tax rate to re­ceive the same rev­enue as the year be­fore. In FY14, the con­stant yield jumped the town’s tax rate from 48 cents per $100 of as­sessed value to 58 cents per $100 of as­sessed value. The jump oc­curred af­ter the town got re­assessed, but the coun­cil has kept the tax rate within a penny in the years since.

“The con­stant yield is some­thing we never want to go over,” Casey said. “It isn’t a bench­mark be­cause we look at how much we need to keep the town run­ning. If we only need less than the con­stant yield, we can lower the rate to meet that year’s need. The coun­cil feels strongly we don’t want to spend more than the con­stant yield sug­gests if we don’t have to.”

Though the town has in­creased its pos­i­tive fund bal­ance, the town con­tin­ues to spend money to keep from fall­ing be­hind in the fu­ture. The town re­cently pur­chased a new fleet of vehicles for the Ridgely Po­lice Depart­ment. The town had money avail­able be­cause they put funds in an ac­count that was ear­marked for fu­ture ve­hi­cle pur­chases.

“We had a re­ally good plan where we put money into an ac­count and ear­mark it for new vehicles,” Casey said. “We were spend­ing more money on main­te­nance for used vehicles than what we would spend on a new ve­hi­cle.

“Now, we have a ro­ta­tion of once they get to a cer­tain mileage or cer­tain year, we will trade them in and buy a new ve­hi­cle,” he said. “That way we are not wor­ried about the main­te­nance of these things.”

In Fe­bru­ary, the town held a rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony for a new play­ground at Martin Sut­ton Park.

Casey said the town had been sav­ing money for the past five years for the $120,000 project. With help from a $17,000 grant, the Ridgely Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works be­gan con­struc­tion of the play­ground in mid-Fe­bru­ary.

“We wanted to in­vest money in places where the com­mu­nity could come to­gether and use,” Casey said. “It re­ally is about the peo­ple who live here. We want to cel­e­brate that by putting this play­ground in here.

“When we came up with the idea that we wanted a new play­ground, the staff de­cided to start putting money away for sev­eral years un­til we got what we needed for the play­ground. The staff has been sav­ing for the last five years. Town Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor David Crist, town ClerkTrea­surer Stephanie Berkey and town As­sis­tant ClerkTrea­surer Melissa Leonard de­serve a ton of credit for putting this project to­gether, from sav­ing the money to con­struc­tion.”


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