Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

If this week’s discussion about the budget in Ocean City is any indication, it doesn’t appear relations are improving between the city and Worcester County.

Former Ocean City Councilman Vince Gisriel and fellow detractors seemed to strike a nerve among Ocean City officials when questioning the budget at Monday’s meeting. Gisriel clearly annoyed a few council members with his comments about the need to be “frugal” in light of the large tax increase the county is going to approve for the next fiscal year.

“The responsible thing to do knowing that the county is going to raise the rate at some amount, I predict somewhere in the range of 7.10 [cents], which is bad enough but given that factor the local government should hold the line,” Gisriel said. “… Any way you can get it down to at least the level of last year or below because I think we are going to have a significant increase in the county.”

With it clear Ocean City is likely getting nothing from the plan it submitted to address the long-term issue of tax differential, Meehan seemed frustrated by the insinuation Ocean City needs to make budget decisions based on what the county will be doing.

“If you work for 12 years in Worcester County and retire, you get health benefits for life, for you and your spouse. Tell me another state, city or municipality that does that and that has been funded by Ocean City. They have had very few reductions in work force unlike the Town of Ocean City did, and it is catching up with them. It is unfortunate that we should pay for that mistake,” he said. “… If we cut it to a lower level that is being suggested, then it is the level of service that we will be cutting, and then we will have a lot more people in this room talking about the budget.”

Councilman Dennis Dare also weighed in, bringing up the tax differential issue.

“… we are still collecting as much money as we did last year overall, so if you really want a tax break then go to Snow Hill [Worcester County] and talk to them about a tax differential instead of knit picking the little stuff that we are talking about here,” Dare said.

City officials feel they have done a good job of not sacrificing services and keeping a responsible tax burden while reminding Ocean City property owners they need to be worried about what the Worcester County Commissioners will be doing more so than what’s happening in Ocean City. There’s no question Dare and Meehan believed the city was the subject of misplaced anxiety and the real questioning should be directed at the officials in Snow Hill. They have a point.

I give the Worcester County Department of Liquor Control two more years before it’s dissolved. It should probably be sooner but legislation must be approved by the Maryland General Assembly establishing a new type of license.

I see the timeline like this. The earliest legislation can be passed, assuming it’s introduced by Senator Jim Mathias and approved as a “local courtesy bill,” would be next April of 2016 and then an October 2016 likely signature of approval from the governor. With that being just three months into the government’s fiscal year that starts July 1, 2016, we find it unlikely the county government would be able to divest itself of the department without financial hardships and other complications. Consequently, it my guess it will be July 2017 when the commissioners make the move to shutter the operation.

The long and short of it the county wants out, but it’s not going to be easy and it will take some time.

The loss of a child is arguably the greatest heartache the human psyche is forced to endure, and it seems to happen all too often.

When I first heard of Dawson Twining’s passing Sunday morning from a co-worker, there was shock, of course, but my immediate attention turned to his parents, Janet and David, long-time friends. I was trying to imagine their shock and horror and from that point on they have been in my thoughts multiple times a day.

While I do not diminish the loss felt by other family members and close friends, the parents are the ones who endure the greatest pain and loss. It’s a nightmare that you never wake up from and the Twinings have weighed on many hearts this week.

They are blessed to have tremendous community support, another reason why living here is so special. That was evident when I visited their home this week, but they will need more of it in the future. One parent I spoke with this week lost a child unexpectedly six years ago in a car accident. He said the sorrow is always there, but time does eventually do its magic, as life provides inevitable distractions. “At some point, you come to accept the new reality and the new normal, but it’s a long and slow process. It never really gets easier. It just changes,” he said.

About The Author: Steven Green

Alternative Text

The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.