OCEAN CITY – The fiscal year 2012’s budget passed in a unanimous vote during Monday evening’s Mayor and City Council meeting after being delayed in recent weeks.
“I’m glad we passed the budget and we were able to hold the tax rate at .395 cents, and really that’s because of the work the council has done over the past three and half years to cut back on expenses and to re-size our government and re-evaluate and re-organize how we do things in Ocean City,” Mayor Rick Meehan said on Tuesday.
According to the fiscal year 2012 budget, an Ad Valorem Tax Rate of $0.395 per $100 of assessed valuation of real property and a rate of $1.29 per $100 of assessed valuation of corporate and personal property tax is required to fund this budget.
The mayor explained the reason behind the delay of passing the budget on second reading was due to the time frame of having it advertised for at least two weeks before it could be voted on.
“After it was passed on first reading, some of the council members said they had some questions specifically in regard to the new employees that were being hired,” Meehan said.
Once City Manager Dennis Dare supplied a detailed report on the town’s new hires and the council’s questions were put aside.
“We also had at the work session between first and second reading time set aside for more questions,” he said. “There were no real questions at that time so I assume the council president believed it was ready to be moved forward to second reading.”
The mayor appreciated the time city staff dedicated to the budget especially while the council was deliberating and setting ordinances concerning newly hired town employee pay and benefits.
“I vetoed a number of ordinances but a couple in particular that would have costs the taxpayers $800,000 to a million dollars over this budget if they would have not been vetoed and we were able to come to a resolution of those issues,” he said.
Meehan also pointed out if the original ordinances proposed were to pass and to be added into the fiscal year 2012 budget the supporting council members still did not know what fund they would have pulled the additional expense from.
“But fortunately we were able to make changes to what had been proposed and not have those expenditures passed on to the taxpayers,” he said. “Where was that money going to come from? It was never answered.”
The budget includes the pension trust fund’s total expenditure set at $10.6 million, the third highest ranking expenditure on the list falling under the general fund and the wastewater fund.
The grand total for expenditures in the fiscal year 2012 budget is around $114 million.