Worcester County has apparently been working on an informal strategic plan and a draft of it was released this week. The top five priorities listed were the following:
- Replace Showell Elementary School with a cost-effective and affordable structure.
- Review design guidelines and standards for commercial uses and U.S. Route 50 transportation corridor plan (tie for second)
- Develop exit strategy for Liquor Control (tie for second)
- Develop efficient plan for solid waste operation (tie for fourth)
- Pocomoke Area Industrial Park (tie for fourth)
There’s a lot of valuable information included in the draft and it provides some insight into the group’s thinking, but one that doesn’t get a lot of attention from the general public is the one involving trash, and the fact solid waste operations are having a huge negative impact on the county’s bottom line.
It’s been this way for a long time but it became a major problem five years ago when Ocean City, the biggest trash provider on the shore, stopped bringing its trash to the county’s central landfill. With that decision came major financial losses from reduced tipping fees, and the county is still reeling from the loss of business.
The decision to outsource trash hauling was a smart one for the Town of Ocean City, although controversial at the time because it meant the end of curbside recycling. At the heart of that process was Dick Malone, the retired deputy public works director who attended a town hall meeting in Ocean Pines this week as a property owner. Malone told Commissioners Jim Bunting and Chip Bertino there is “no money in trash” and he advised the county to follow Ocean City’s footsteps by paying a company to haul the trash accumulated in the county to a “mega-landfill” elsewhere or an incinerator, which is what Ocean City agreed to do.
This will not be an overnight fix to the county’s budget woes, but it would be a long-term solution to a long-time headache of the county, particularly considering a new landfill cell will soon need to be funded at a huge price tag.
For $15,000, the Worcester County Commissioners would be silly not to chip in funds for a feasibility study for a north-end sports arena.
This concept of a 6,000-seat arena seems too big for our rural and seasonal area in my opinion, but apparently Hat Trick Consulting doesn’t think so. The firm’s opinion should matter since it has experience in the venue market and the fact it has already invested about $25,000 in the early evaluation of a project like this in northern Worcester County. The key to making a facility such as the one in Allen, Texas that was referred to this week is it would need two sports franchises to make the arena its home, according to Hat Trick. Ice hockey has already been tapped as one such possibility. Lacrosse, basketball and soccer are also considered other sports to consider.
If the Maryland Stadium Authority, a key player in this process because of its vested interest in the Roland E. Powell Convention, is willing to fund 40 percent of the feasibility study, the county should commit its share of $15,000 to at least see the process through based on its mere potential.
Personally, I’m skeptical the residential and visiting population numbers will support this type of venue, but I also give the consulting firm enough credit that it would not have dumped $25,000 on this effort if it were a loser.
As discussed last month when the official date for the event was announced for the first weekend in October, H2O International founder Jay Shoup continues to do his part to clean up the weekend after last year’s disaster. He deserves credit for his efforts because he’s getting ridiculed along the way by social media morons.
Shoup took again this week to social media, specifically the event’s Facebook page, to address the bad seeds who ruined the time of many others last year and cast a dark cloud over his event.
“I’m not some ‘elitist *&^hole’, as I’ve been so rudely called. You don’t know me and you don’t know what I do/have done for others. I don’t need to tell you of all the $$$ that’s been donated to local schools or charities because I do it without seeking a pat on the back but just in the last four years H2Oi has documented donations of over $10,000, If I need to start showing all the good that comes from H2Oi, I will … so before you throw stones, step back and look at yourself and if you can say that you’re perfect by all means cast the first stone but be prepared for karma …,” Shoup wrote. “Be kind to each other and if you don’t have something nice to say or constructive words to make things better, go away. Some have said, H2Oi doesn’t even take place in OCMD so it shouldn’t ruin H2Oi – as true as that statement is, what you fail to realize is that it all trickles down, as I have sat in several meetings that involved everything OC and surrounding areas. We are all affected. All attendees who come this weekend are there for one reason and that reason is H2Oi. Do you think it’s coincidence that we all converge on that peninsula because of a fishing convention? Come on people. The VW/Audi community as a whole needs to take a stand and take back OUR week. Take back H2Oi. And no, I will not ‘just accept the fact’ that H2Oi has become something different. It’s still H2Oi, the original laid back VW/Audi event. PERIOD.”