SU Group Hired For Ocean Pines Study

BERLIN – In an effort to plan for the future, Ocean Pines Association officials agreed to hire a Salisbury University group to perform a study to help with the capital planning process.

The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors voted last week to have Memo Diriker and a team of students from Salisbury University’s BEACON program develop analysis models designed to help in planning the homeowner’s association’s future.

“This will help us make decisions,” board member Pat Renaud said.

According to the proposal submitted by Diriker to the board, his team will come up with a series of “scenario analysis models” and “decision support tools” to help the board explore the costs, benefits and consequences that would come with various scenarios.

“It’s a tool to reduce uncertainty …,” Diriker told the board Saturday. “Anytime you reduce uncertainty, anytime you build a way to deal with unintended consequences, your ability to make decisions is going to be enhanced.”

The first phase of the project would involve Diriker’s team studying data, cataloging relevant information and convening with focus groups. Diriker said it would take 10 to 12 weeks.

“The first phase is gathering information,” Renaud said, adding that it would begin when the board signed the contract with Diriker.

The second stage of the process, expected to take another 10-12 weeks, will involve Diriker’s group developing models that will simulate a handful of scenarios. They will then run the models to determine the outcome associated with each of the scenarios and address the questions compiled by Ocean Pines officials.

“These are models to help us make decisions,” Renaud said.

He added that Diriker had done similar work with municipalities and organizations throughout the country. While the cost of the study is more than $30,000, Diriker said half the fee would be waived because the project would be a learning opportunity for his students. In the end, the work is expected to cost Ocean Pines $16,500.

Renaud, the board member who introduced the motion to hire Diriker’s group, said he thought the tools provided by BEACON would prove valuable to the 8,400-home community, particularly with the amount of amenities the homeowner’s association maintained.

“There are a lot of things we have here and we want to make sure we’re using them in the correct way,” Renaud said.

He added that Diriker’s study would go well with the association’s capital improvement plan and the reserves study the board hoped to have done in 2015.