Berlin Mayor talks new infrastructure plan
Berlin is seeing an increasing number of tourists, and now Mayor Gee Williams is asking local businesses to start paying for the town's infrastructure.
The mayor said additional parking would potentially be among the things businesses would pay for including street and sidewalk improvements.
"I'm sharing the idea because we are in a situation," said Williams, "We are experiencing very steady and positive economic growth, but that does have some very real consequences in terms of the investments in our community."
However, some businesses do not agree with William's new idea. They say they don't have enough income to help pay expenses.
"I only have one employee, and we just don't have enough income to support those kinds of changes — those kinds of expenses toward infrastructure," said Ruth Koontz, the business owner for Main Street Deli.
The mayor said there's nothing set in stone yet, but he at least wants to get the conversation started.
"At the end of the day, we're still family and that's an approach that's worked well for this town, and that's why I wanted to float this idea," Williams said.
Other businesses in the area strongly support Mayor William's idea, saying that with the new growth in tourism comes new responsibility.
"These discussions are great because as Berlin grows, we do need to look at some options as to where to put people and how to park and how to move people to and from," said Steve Frene, the business co-owner for Victorian Charm.
"With all this growth in businesses, there has to be some responsibility with the new business owners to understand that doing business in Berlin is going to take some financial investment," said Frene.