OC Earns National ‘Voice’ Award

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City added another award to its proverbial mantle this week as town officials were presented with the national ICMA “Voice of the People” award.

Public Works Director Hal Adkins was presented with the annual award given to cities all over the country exemplifying the highest standards of services provided to its residents making Ocean City one of only two towns on the East Coast that received the award.

Ocean City received the award for street maintenance and solid waste collection efforts, which coupled with a five-star rating award for clean ocean water from the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) earlier this year, Ocean City has now been nationally recognized as having a clean beach and now clean streets.

“On behalf of all the men and women that make up the Public Works divisions for the Town of Ocean City, we are grateful for the overall recognition and this award,” said Adkins. “We always strive to provide the highest levels of service for our residents and visitors.”

The people, however, should be given at least a slice of the credit for Ocean City’s national recognition as the award was based on a 2007 survey in which citizens were asked to judge their local government’s performance concerning such topics as budgeting, goal setting, program planning and performance. To qualify for the award, Ocean City needed to be in the top 10 percent among over 500 jurisdictions in the database provided by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and National Research Center (NRC)’s citizen surveys.

Ocean City rated in the top three jurisdictions for street repair, cleaning, lighting, sidewalk maintenance, traffic signal timing, bus/transit services, and garbage collection.

According to the NRC 2007 survey town employees received job performance ratings of 74 out of a 100. Yet, While 85 percent of those surveyed said they supported the local government’s continued promotion and support of the tourism industry, the rating for “public trust” in their elected officials lagged at 45 out of 100.

According to the NRC survey, 3,000 surveys were sent out, 893 were answered, 702 were sent back with “vacant or unfound” addresses, which earned a “normal response rate” of 39 percent.

Eighteen percent called the overall quality of life in Ocean City “excellent” and cited too much town growth, rising taxes and traffic congestion as “major problems” facing the town.

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