Casey running for re-election in Ridgely
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.”