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Letter to the Editor By "Councilman Stewart Cumbo"

Name
Councilman Stewart Cumbo
Email
scumbo@verizon.net
Subject
Councilman Cumbo discusses funding for the Chesapeake Beach Veteran’s Memorial Park
Message
Once again the actions of three members of the Chesapeake Beach Town Council have obstructed the process of maintaining and preserving our Chesapeake Beach Veteran’s Memorial Park. Mind you, this park is located at the intersection of Maryland Route 260 and 261 in front of a pristine view of the Chesapeake Bay in a scenic somber location, and it was dedicated in 2001 as a testimonial to the heroes who sacrificed their lives in service to our country. What rational human beings could be against that? Well, there are three members of the Town Council who are! As a member of the Town Council I have been involved with the memorial park since its inception, and I chaired the committee that initiated the addition of the five black granite memorials representing the five branches of the Armed Forces and the headstone Memorials representing Police, Fire and EMS. Just recently, as a result of the efforts of our local Nam Knights Organization, a new Viet Nam Memorial was added to our Memorial Park. Subsequently, we have been listed in “The Memorial Day Foundation” listing our park as a National War Memorial Registry (memorialdayfoundation.org). Now, we have an obligation and duty to maintain our Veteran’s Memorial Park because there has been slow deterioration. The most obvious signs are the white effervescence or seepage from the mortar staining the stone surfaces and the water fall, and problems with the pump system. A committee was formed last year to evaluate the condition and to make recommendations for repairs and upgrades. Consequently, funding was approved in last year’s town budget to move forward with those renovations. This year after preparation for bids, a contractor was found to perform the work. However, at the town council meeting on Thursday, September 18, 2014, two ordinances were introduced for a vote: The first to transfer the funding for this project from last year’s budget to this year’s budget, and the second to award the contract in order to begin construction. This funding is a decision which was made last year in the best interest of the town and supported by the majority of residents. Nevertheless, after the work of the committee having funded the project, having gone to bid and having selected a contractor to perform the renovations, Council Members Jeff Krahling and Eric Reinhardt voted “ NO” to reallocate funding. Councilman Woman Valerie Beaudin “Abstained” from the vote. ( Council Woman Beaudin’s abstention is significant because her action single handily killed the ordinance to reallocate the previously approved funding.) Council Woman Beaudin knew that Councilman Mahoney, Carpenter and I (Cumbo) supported the ordinance. Her opposition along with Krahling and Reinhard would have presented a 3 – 3 tie vote enabling the Mayor (who supported the ordinance) to break the tie in favor of reallocation. Note: Beaudin abstained knowing that her failure to cast a “NO’ vote would prevent a tie and would, therefore, “kill” the ordinance. It is unfortunate that a small town, patriotic and proud of their veterans and their Veteran’s Park that provides the opportunity to remember and honor national and local heroes in a peaceful setting along the Chesapeake Bay, could be so easily and quickly deprived of such. The actions of three members of the Chesapeake Town Council prevent funding to maintain the Chesapeake Beach Memorial Park , thereby, dishonoring our heroes who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty to country. This is indeed a shame. Stewart Cumbo, Councilman Town of Chesapeake