Resort’s Strategic Planning Model Shaping Up

OCEAN CITY – The Strategic Planning Model for Ocean City is nearing completion as city staff, citizens and the Mayor and City Council reviewed the draft last week.

The Strategic Planning Model, an initiative being led by City Manager David Recor, begins with a vision that is described by value-based principles of the preferred future of Ocean City over the next 15 years.

Following a minor tweak by the Mayor and City Council last Friday after receiving input from citizens the night before, the principle of “quality neighborhoods for residents” moved up a couple spaces in priority within the vision statement.

Ocean City’s vision leading into the year 2028 states, “Ocean City 2028 is a vibrant coastal resort community with a world class public beach and waterways and an authentic historic boardwalk, the choice of today’s families. Ocean City 2028 is safe and clean, has quality neighborhoods for residents, is accessible and easy travel, and is a place for enjoyable experiences for all.”

Next a mission statement was formed by principles that define the responsibility of town government and frame the primary services and core service businesses.

The draft states, “The mission of town government is to provide personal caring municipal services and to serve as a responsive host to our guests and residents while acting in a financially responsible manner delivered by a professional town workforce.”

The vision and mission statements are broken up into key principles. Each principle was formed by a list of items that fed into what each principle meant in a number of ways to Ocean City’s residents and visitors for the Mayor and City Council to prioritize.

The next section establishes a plan of goals that focuses outcome-based objectives and potential actions for five years. Each goal comes along with pages of objectives, means, short-term challenges and opportunities, long-term challenges and opportunities, policy actions and management actions that were also ranked and listed by priority.

The drafted goals in Ocean City moving toward the year of 2018 are a financially sound town government, first-class resort and tourist destination, more livable community for residents, excellent service through a high performing town organization, excellent service through a high performing town organization and revitalized Ocean City: development and redevelopment.

One of the last sections is the Town of Ocean City’s action agenda for this year, 2013.

On Friday, after thoroughly going through the many different actions that formed the goals listed, and the key issues and milestones involved, the council began prioritizing the actions that had been divided into a Policy and Management Agenda of 2013.

Ranked as top priority in the Policy Agenda were identification, evaluation, and direction of alternative revenue sources, analysis and direction of a tax differential, services with the county and reimbursements from the county, tourism evaluation and market analysis, a master plan for pedestrian safety, problem analysis, direction and funding for canal dredging, and a parking needs study.

Ranked as high priority in the Policy Agenda were analysis of private events policy, evaluation, direction and funding of dedicated bus lanes, new hire compensation and benefits, a Park n’ Ride Comfort Station with changing space and showers, a bike share program, road re-surfacing plan, capital improvement plan for development, retirement and pension policy and additional parking revisions.

Next, the Mayor and City Council ranked the actions in the Management Agenda. Among the top priorities were five-year financial plan with revenue/expenditure projections, city-wide compensation and benefit study, advocacy and funding for a dual Route 90 bridge, direction actions and funding for beach replenishment, an election system upgrade and an update on the comprehensive plan.

Coined as high priority in the Management Agenda were direction and funding for beach patrol headquarters, police department organization, performance and staffing audit/study, seasonal police analysis, performance measurement system/management system development and funding, succession planning for development, a reward system for top performers and personal rules and regulations.