OC Mayor Confirms Re-Election Bid

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City
Mayor Rick Meehan appeared energized this week as he formally announced to a
contingent of resort business leaders he was seeking re-election and would
likely file some time next week.

Meehan told Economic
Development Committee (EDC) members on Wednesday he would seek a second term as
mayor of Ocean City. The announcement likely came as no
surprise to those in attendance, but the vigor with which Meehan made it and
how he fired off on a variety of pertinent issues facing the town was in sharp
contrast to the mayor’s typically reserved demeanor.

Meehan told EDC members
the summer was a strong one in the resort despite a variety of factors working
against it including high gas prices, a shaky economy and competition from
other resorts.

“We’ve been very
fortunate this year in Ocean
City,” he said. “The
final numbers aren’t in, but we should be just under four million in terms of
visitors. For that, I have to say thank you to everyone in this room. We were
proactive with advertising and we were proactive in pushing for the room tax
increase and it paid off.”

Meehan said the
aggressive response to challenges by the business community and their elected
officials staved off what many believed going in was going to be a dismal
summer season.

“Did we have some bumps
in the road in July? Sure we did, but we reacted quickly and were proactive in
terms of what we did with marketing and advertising and we were able to
recover,” he said. “Some of our neighboring resorts didn’t do that and they
were way off.”

Meehan urged resort
business leaders to continue to be proactive. At the same time, he urged the
resort area’s representatives in Annapolis to
continue to go to bat for more tourism spending, pointing out it is a proven
investment with every dollar invested in tourism returning an average of $19,
not just in Ocean City but across Maryland.

Meehan said he would
continue to push for more grant money for the resort from the county and state and
did not rule out going back for another half percent on the room tax this year.
Last year, officials were successful in lobbying the county to increase the
room tax by a half percent with the revenue generated directed at tourism

Councilmember Margaret
Pillas said the measure achieved the desired results.

“We’re increasing
tourism while decreasing our budget at the same time,” she said. “That speaks
well for Ocean City.”