OC’s Fall Newsletter To Return

OCEAN CITY – Following several requests to revive the fall Ocean City Newsletter, the Mayor and City Council approved bringing it back next year after missing this year’s deadline.
Communications Manager Jessica Waters reminded the Mayor and City Council, during a regular session on Oct. 21, Councilman Dennis Dare inquired about the cost of printing and mailing an additional newsletter to property owners.
According to Waters, fiscal year 2012 was the last time Ocean City did a bi-annual newsletter for a total cost of $31,565. The winter/spring newsletter and calendar cost totaled $15,347, with $5,347 for graphic design/printing and approximately $10,000 for postage. Total cost for the second newsletter was $16,218 with $6,218 for graphic design/printing and approximately $10,000 for postage.
Fiscal year 2013 was the first year Ocean City did one newsletter. Graphic design/printing costs totaled $8,577 with $8,842 for postage for a total cost of $17,419.
Currently, for fiscal year 2014, $8,500 is budgeted for the design/printing and $12,000 is budgeted for postage for one newsletter.
After consulting with graphic designers and printers, the estimated cost to produce a second publication is approximately $8,500, with another $10,000 for postage.
Waters recommended a smaller, 11-inch by 17-inch, four-page publication that could be inserted into the Report to Citizens, which is an annual financial report that is mailed to property owners in the fall. This publication would serve as an update on information that was not included in the spring newsletter. The cost would be approximately $4,000 to print, but will save nearly $10,000 on the price of postage.
“I would like to collaborate with the Finance Department and update the citizens along with the Report to Citizens,” Waters asked. “We are already paying that $10,000 for postage, so it seems like a good opportunity to save on the costs.”
Dare held up the Report to Citizens that he had just received in the mail and was disappointed the opportunity for a fall newsletter had already passed by this year.
“If that is something you want to do, combine the mailings in the future, that is fine but my position was, while I appreciate you being fiscal, I think it is more important to keep the public informed,” he said. “We have 30,000 property owners and out of that there are 28,000 people that live someplace else. …. There is timely messages to be had I think it should be twice a year.”
Dare was also not enthralled by the idea that the fall newsletter was being recommended to be condensed to four small pages to be inserted in the Report to Citizens and would rather have the fall newsletter as a separate document.
In trying to come up with a better compromise, City Manager David Recor suggested having the fall newsletter return to a newspaper form to be mailed in conjunction with the Report to Citizens.
“If you want a better publication rather than the four pages … and that costs $1,500 more, we will do that,” Recor said. “We will find the money.”
Mayor Rick Meehan interjected he cut the fall newsletter from the budget as a saving measure during his tenure as acting city manager.
“The best action we could probably take today to make it at least so it happens correctly next year is as you prepare the budget, which you are in the process of doing, we ask you to include in the budget now for the next fiscal year a spring newsletter and fall combined newsletter with the financial report,” said Meehan recommended.
The council voted 6-0 to approve Dare’s motion with Council President Lloyd Martin absent.