Commissioners Appoint Locals To Slots Council

SNOW HILL – A number of community and business representatives have been named to the Local Development Council (LDC), a group that will advise Worcester County on impacts from the slot machine gambling operation slated to begin at Ocean Downs this summer.

The Worcester County Commissioners officially named 11 locals to the LDC this week.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and Berlin Mayor Gee Williams will sit on the LDC, with the remainder of the members drawn from the community at large.

David Massey, Mark Wittmyer, Cam Bunting, Jim Rosenberg, Rod Murray, Ron Taylor, Todd Ferrante, Diana Purnell and Mike Pruitt were also named to the LDC.

The committee also has seats for a representative from Ocean Downs and three members of the Maryland General Assembly or their representatives.

Each member will serve a four-year term when the council gets up and running, with members serving staggered terms, ensuring that turnover is kept to a minimum in any one year.

The County Commissioners decided in November that the county could not wait to set up the LDC until the slot machine gambling operation at Ocean Downs was in place.

The LDC, under the Maryland slots law, will advise county elected officials on impacts from slot machine gambling on the local communities, in areas like infrastructure, services, public safety, economic development and sanitation.

Questions were raised by county elected officials in the last several months on the role of the LDC, including whether the council would have influence over the expenditure of slot machine gambling revenue and whether the council should be created early enough to influence the installation of slots in the county.

The LDC will stick with the purpose enshrined in the slot machine legislation, however.

“I don’t know that they really have any impact on how the money is to be spent,” said President of the Commissioners Bud Church.

The LDC will assess and advise on topics such as the health care resources needed to treat gambling addicts, increased traffic on local roads, and any positive impacts such as jobs created.

“The biggest one is how it may negatively impact the community and address those issues,” Church said.