Recent Statement on New Town Direction

Some residents have recently expressed concern over a statement that the town of St. Michaels is moving in a new direction. The fact is it already has. Over the past year, The Commissioners of St. Michaels have been busy positioning the town to compete in a 21st century economy. We have made significant advances, and look forward to more:

For the first time in many years, the Town has CUT taxes for property owners, the result of a dozen public work sessions. The budget also has a new format, making it easier for residents to understand. It applies more accountability to all departments. Employees are now filling out time sheets for the first time since they were mandated by the employee manual ten years ago.

The Water Department has been restructured to stand on its own. It is now generating enough revenue to retire a considerable amount of debt. Water Department operations will be modernized with the installation of smart meters to minimize waste and streamline the billing process. This is just one of the infrastructure challenges to be tackled in the years ahead.

Working with the Planning Commission, the Town has upgraded its parking options, adding dozens of new off-street spaces in lots on Mill St, Boundary Lane, and soon, on Fremont Street. Parking patterns in parts of the historic district have been reconfigured to allow easier access for emergency vehicles.

The Town has established a Climate Change/Sea Level Rise Commission to ensure a viable future. The Town is committed to a proactive approach toward mitigating the flooding that has become increasingly severe. Efforts are also underway to reduce the Town’s carbon footprint and lower our utility bills.

The Town is moving toward privatizing trash collection, which is currently a severe drain on resources and manpower. The goal is to share the cost more equitably among private property owners and commercial enterprises. Contracting out the work will also give the Public Works team more time for the Town’s pressing maintenance issues.

Last year’s election made it clear that most residents opposed the Town office building project as proposed. We are now moving in a new direction toward a scaled-down and more appropriate building. The Town will be hiring a professional town planner to help us in that process.

With the help of the Maryland Municipal League, and a professional recruiter, the Town will conduct a nationwide search for a new town administrator with the necessary education credentials and experience to help us adjust to an evolving post-pandemic economy.

Over the past year, the Town has moved forward in a new and more efficient direction, while, at the same time, dealing with the impact of COVID-19. The Town is in a better place than it was a year ago, and the Commissioners look forward to even more advances. The following outline will serve as strategic guiding principles for St. Michaels government. Its purpose is to further advance the objectives of the town’s 2015 Comprehensive Plan for the 21st century:

To improve the PROFESSIONAL performance of the Town organization, the Town will:
Upgrade to the most current data and information software
Streamline and modernize the Town website, and enhance online communications
Update payroll and accounting procedures to current government standards
Uniformly enforce all provisions of the Town Code

To promote PROGRESS in St. Michaels, the Town will:
Promote St. Michaels as a safe exurban live/workspace for individuals, families, and domestic partnerships
Encourage and support small business startup ventures, particularly minority owned
Develop appropriate policy for controlled growth and renewal
Protect the quality of life for residents, while enhancing and elevating the visitor experience
Take a proactive approach to confronting the effects of climate change and sea level rise

To ensure PARITY and live/work balance, the Town will:
Pursue balance between the needs of the business community and the rights of all residents
Provide an equal voice to all stakeholders
Promote equal burden-sharing among all interests
Promote the common goal of elevating the Town’s image and reputation

PROSPERITY is the end result of advancing the goals listed above. We seek a diversified economy that provides more employment and investment opportunities for the Town’s current residents, future residents, and businesses, while preserving our small-town charm. We must foster the correct balance between a vibrant tourist trade and a livable and sustainable community to ensure that all prosper.

Above all, we are committed to preserving that which our residents value most about our Town, while nurturing a business environment that provides opportunity for all. To that end, we look forward to working closely with all stakeholders, and welcome any and all ideas and suggestions as we move forward together.