Monty's money: Bad for crime, good for grime

Dewey town manager, bar owner put disagreement behind them
August 29, 2014

One way or the other, Steve Montgomery's money is going to clean the streets of Dewey Beach.

In May, a dispute with Dewey Beach Town Manager Marc Appelbaum over donations to the town’s police department left the Starboard owner saying a relationship had been fractured and to count him out from upcoming initiatives. But recently, Montgomery agreed to donate half the money needed for the town to purchase a street sweeper.

The sweeper will help rid gutters of cigarette butts, said Appelbaum, before crediting Montgomery with partially offsetting the cost of the machine during a town commissioners' meeting Aug. 8. Appelbaum said the total cost of the machine is $1,650.

What a lot of people do, unfortunately, is throw cigarette butts to the curbs, Appelbaum said, adding that some businesses contribute to the problem when they push butts from sidewalks and parking lots into the gutters.

“We bought a machine that will clean that up,” he said.

A few days after the meeting, Montgomery said this is the type of stuff businesses and the town should work together on.

“It was the right thing to do,” he said.

Montgomery acknowledged the well-documented difference of opinion between him and Appelbaum regarding a change in town attitude toward the donation of money specifically to the police department by a restaurant or bar, but said he and Appelbaum have agreed to move on for the betterment of the town.

There have been some issues, said Montgomery, but the two decided they have to agree to disagree.

The disagreement bubbled to the surface after Montgomery received a letter from Appelbaum May 16, telling him the town would no longer accept a donation to help pay for a larger police presence on Memorial Day weekend.

Appelbaum said in the letter it could be considered by some to be a conflict of interest.

This was a change from recent history. For the previous four years, Montgomery and Dewey Beach Enterprises owner Jim Baeurle had donated thousands of dollars to the police department to help the town offset additional costs associated with patrolling the town’s streets during Memorial Day weekend, the busiest weekend of the year.

Montgomery was not happy with the decision, saying the initiative was started to help solve a problem.

In a letter dated May 18, Montgomery wrote, “ should know that you and the town's actions have fractured our relationship. I have grown tired of the town's views of its businesses, and my will to communicate, compromise and help has evaporated due to your letter and belief that my contributions are viewed as a conflict. Count me out from upcoming initiatives.”

Montgomery had a change of heart after Appelbaum approached him about the street sweeper.

“I've been in this town for most of my life and will be for the rest of my life,” said Montgomery. “If there's something I can do to help Dewey Beach, I'm going to do it.”

Appelbaum said it will be good for the town's residents if everyone knows Montgomery and the town officials are working together again.

“The town can easily afford the $2,000, but I thought this might be an opportunity to get things back on track,” he said.

The machine arrived Aug. 13, and Appelbaum said daily sweeping would begin as soon as possible.