Voices From The Readers

Voices From The Readers

More Paid Parking
Worth A Try This Year

I’d like to offer my comments accordingly regarding last week’s editorial, "Paid Parking Expansion Worth Deliberation." I am in Favor of the City placing and providing for the additional parking meters on the ocean block for numbered streets during the season for the purpose of collecting additional revenues.

If the council does decide to vote in favor of the parking meters being installed into the 3,300 something parking spaces that are currently free all year-round, I hope that the city will be able to generate and collect decent revenues it needs for necessary street repairs that are needed.

It’s a "gamble" for sure. Those tourists who recollect and will be subject to paying additional costs for parking in the vacinity of Ocean block and numbered streets south of the boardwalk, may initially be alarmed and caught off guard , however I think the majority affected will simply adapt. Simply put: I believe that the vast majority of tourists who are here during summer and are not staying at a local hotel, but have come before and are used to and have always enjoyed and appreciated the free parking, will end up continuing to come and will just predominately " suck it up " and pay to park when coming to the beach during summer.

Of course, there will be those who are caught off guard and complain. As a mid-town numbered street resident (62nd Street ocean block), I honestly feel that the city will benefit overall with the installing of the additional parking meters. Look at it this way: If at the end of the summer you don’t see good numbers, you can always "change it back", meaning take them back and away.

If implemented though, I would assume that there will be additional Ocean City parking attendant staffing hours that will be necessary to monitor the affected streets during season. In any event, it should prove to be a test for sure as to whether or not there is the need for additional city action.

Doug Antos,
Ocean City

Council Majority
Making Right Moves

Some people just don’t get it and unfortunately they never will. In last week’s issue, “Fiscal Impact of Pension Changes Debated in O.C.”, Councilwoman Mary Knight pointed out that the town has lost $692,000 due to investment losses from closing the former benefit plan, which was favored by the majority, versus an open amortization method.

The $692,000 isn’t a new expense. It just has to be paid now instead of sometime down the road and passing the debt on to your children and grandchildren.

Why should the council pass the debt on to the next generation? You should not. But rather this generation should pay for their pass actions which has caused the current financial problems facing Ocean City today.

Mayor Rick Meehan said “It was programmed out to be paid over a period of time so those that were here paid as it was being paid off. You accelerated the payment so it is an added cost for the people that are here today that have to do this.”

Well, why shouldn’t the people that are here today pay it off?  They were the beneficiaries and employer of the present and past work force. They got the benefits of the employees’ efforts in building a better and stronger Ocean City.

Tax payers need to take responsibility for their actions and remove the debt burden from those that will follow in your footsteps. You, the current tax payers, personally did not make the past fiscal decisions, but you voted in the people that did. You need to take responsibility and begin to pay down the debt.

Now if Councilwoman Knight and Mayor Meehan want to worry about something, why not fret about the combined $23.2 million deficit in the two municipal pension plans or the $31.8 million shortfall in the retiree healthcare plan. Now there are two numbers to get nervous about. Not the $692,000 which by the way is overstated.

The only way Ocean City can work its way out of these future liabilities is to make tough conservative decisions that your majority on the council have been making, These individuals should not be criticized but thanked.

Your sons, daughters and grandchildren should not be saddled with debt that you have created. We have already done that at the federal level. Let them inherit a financially sound Ocean City and let’s hope the majority can maintain their stronghold in the coming election.

David Clogg
Timonium, Md.

More Paid Parking
Not Funding Answer
(The following letter was addressed to the Mayor and Council.)

I am writing because I have a personal interest in the suggested increase in parking meters. Our family has owned property on St. Louis between 4th and 5th streets for over 20 years and have a unique situation with no off-street parking.

As the only property in the block that does not have parking or enough property to install a driveway, we have been competing with the tourist for parking for over 20 years. We watch as people from outside the city show up early in the morning hunting for the free spots. In the afternoon we see cars circling for sometimes hours looking for a free spot so they can dine or enjoy the boardwalk with their family in the evening. We have had occasions like that as well but our guests and tenants know to arrive early and once parked to stay put.  
About five years ago the city came in and took 2 parking spots from each side of the street at each corner for safety. I’m sure it helped but to us, from our "porch view" it only appears to have added more traffic circling looking for parking. With more metered parking it is going to drive even more traffic back to our street. 
As a taxpayer, it is frustrating not to be able to drive anywhere on the weekends, to plan our vacation outings around the parking situation, to worry every time we go out to Home Depot or to buy groceries that we will not be able to find a spot or even be able to unload our groceries or supplies when we return. For it to get worse would be a nightmare.
Within a few blocks, we have wonderful parks — skateboard, two baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, fishing wall and playground and while they bring their own parking needs, they could be part of the solution. Turning one of the underutilized ball fields or the seldom used tennis courts into a parking lot would go a long way to helping the situation.

A new parking lot with meters or even a garage would be a welcomed addition to many and more palatable than finding meters where they have never been before. I understand the Shockley property between Baltimore and Philadelphia avenues and north of 4th Street is also available and would be a great spot for another parking lot. 
I strongly agree with Councilman Jim Hall’s comments at the council meeting that meters do not welcome the tourist. We have managed to coexist with the day trippers and, in fact, enjoy watching their excitement as they unload for a day at the beach. Charging for more parking is going to drive them away.

I understand the need for revenue but hope the council will find another way. It is within your power to keep Ocean City as a family day trip destination. There can be no question about the value of that portion of our tourist trade and I invite you to sit on our porch any Saturday or Sunday and witness the parade of parking hunters and Ocean City’s own brand of road rage. 
Janice and Paul Scott