Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

It’s an annual tradition in the last issue of the year for me to give some thought to what may transpire in 2016. Here are some predictions for the next calendar year:

•In February, Ocean City will announce a new city manager, who will come to the resort from South Carolina.

•Ocean City will not have any median barrier in place for this summer as a result of state government moving too slowly and disagreements among council members as to what is the best fit aesthetically.

•Worcester County will again be the only school system in Maryland to welcome students after Labor Day.

•Legislation in Annapolis making it mandatory for all school systems to ring their first bell after Labor Day will fail again.

•Former Ocean City Manager David Recor will be named the new city manager for a coastal town in Florida.

•A judge will find Ocean City’s latest street performer ordinance is in fact constitutional and does not infringe on First Amendment rights.

•The Town of Ocean City will begin exploring with private sector leaders the concept of forming a non-profit arts foundation to help book musical acts for the city’s performing arts center.

•Gasoline prices will spike back over $3 in 2016 due to Middle East tensions.

•Due to projected expenses associated with shuttering the operation in 2016, the Worcester County Commissioners will set a date for June 2017 as the official end for the Department of Liquor Control.

•Funding constraints will once again be blamed for Worcester County not recording its commissioner meetings and posting them online for public consumption.

•No significant snowfall will occur over the winter.

•The Worcester County Commissioners will authorize a 2% Cost Of Living Adjustment for all employees.

•The Casino at Ocean Downs will finally break ground on a new building off Route 589 to allow for an expansion to table games.

•Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan will again be unopposed in the November election.

•At least one newcomer will be elected to serve on the Ocean City Council in November.

•In its second year, the number of smoking citations issued in Ocean City will increase dramatically compared to last summer, the first season of the Boardwalk ban and the new restricting smoking areas on the beach.

•Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen will win the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by retiring Barbara Mikulski.

•A N.C. excursion train company will see fit to invest in a local operation with Berlin slated as the primary train station, which will be built at the home of the former Tyson poultry plant. No trains will run in 2016, however, due to significant infrastructure repairs and train station construction.

•One prominent and high-paid Ocean City department head will retire and be replaced internally without a job search.

•The former site of the Superfresh grocery store in West Ocean City at the Tanger Outlets will be split up and become home to several more national retail stores.

•Assault charges will be filed after a fight between an Uber driver and a member of the local taxi fleet after tensions mount outside a bar. At issue is the fact Uber drivers do not need to pay a fee to operate in Ocean City and are not subject to the same stringent franchise regulations as the standard cabbies.

•Ocean City will announce a proposal to create a new bayside park at 3rd Street, including expanding the skate park, adding sports fields and reconstructing the basketball courts.

•Ocean City officials will confirm they are sane and abandon a plan to put a beach ball design on the new water tower at 1st Street.

•One national chain restaurant will be announced for one of the pads situated in front of the Walmart and the Home Depot along Route 50.

•There will be no movement on the proposed sports arena in northern Worcester County currently being studied by the Maryland Stadium Authority.

•Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will return to elected office winning a seat in Prince George’s County as a delegate.

•After getting turned down again on its tax differential request by the commissioners, Ocean City will formalize legal action to take the county to court over funding the duplication of services.

•In unrelated announcements, the towns of Ocean City and Berlin will each dive into the world of solar energy with projects in 2016. While Berlin looks to an array on open town-owned land, Ocean City will install panels on municipal buildings.

•State legislators will be successful in overriding Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill requiring third-party travel websites to pay the state’s sales tax.

•Alabama will win the NCAA Division I college football championship.

•The Arizona Cardinals will win the Super Bowl over the Denver Broncos.