OCEAN CITY –During this week’s Mayor and City Council meeting Mayor Rick Meehan presented the council with the plan on how to process the new casino at Ocean Downs revenue that Ocean City will receive.
Meehan was appointed chair of the Local Development Council (LDC) for the Ocean Downs Video Lottery Facility during the LDC’s first meeting on March 7. During that meeting, the LDC decided to request the county and municipalities involved submit a multi-year plan for the expenditure of local impact grant funds. Upon receiving their plans, the LDC will review and recommend improvements in each community within immediate proximity to the Casino at Ocean Downs. The LDC has asked the multi-year plans be allocated toward infrastructure improvements, facilities, public safety, sanitation, economic and community development and other public services and improvements.
“So far I think the revenue that is coming to Ocean City is about $103,000 from a three-month period,” Meehan said.
During this week’s meeting, Meehan recommended a one-year plan would be sufficient enough to present to the LDC during the preliminary stages of allocating the funds. Once a plan has been submitted, the LDC will have 45 days to review, comment and make recommendations.
“It is really a guideline and they [LDC] want us to establish some kind of guidelines,” Meehan explained. “It is very open ended in how it can be defined and how it is going to be spent.”
Meehan suggested to the City Council that the casino funds be dedicated to public safety and infrastructure in Ocean City.
Councilman Lloyd Martin agreed that public safety is a worthy designation but added that infrastructure may need the casino funds more. He suggested splitting the funds, a portion toward public safety but a larger portion on infrastructure.
“I looked into our infrastructure projects and it is something we are lacking in,” Martin said.
Meehan pointed out that in the upcoming budget City Manager Dennis Dare recognized $695,000 as a projected income from the casino.
“It is in our general fund so we can allocate it or reference it to wherever we choose to allocate that,” Meehan said.
In an attempt to have some kind of plan when he returns to the LDC, Meehan suggested a “general letter” referencing public safety and infrastructure improvements as generalized spending points of the casino income. The council agreed.