Ocean Pines Likely To Transfer Funds For Patched Road Repairs

BERLIN – Ocean Pines Association officials are expected to hold off on major road repairs following a work session Monday.

Though no formal votes were taken, in a work session in advance of Saturday’s regular meeting members of the board agreed that road maintenance was an ongoing problem and long-term changes needed to be made. Board member Brett Hill, currently serving as the association’s interim general manager, said poor patch jobs were forcing the association to repave roads before they truly needed to be paved.

“Most of our issues with roads come down to other contractors cutting the roads…,” he said. “We’re replacing roads quicker than their useful life.”

Hill recommended that for now, the association consider hiring a contractor to clean up areas of poor patch work. Beyond that, he’d like to see the association purchase some equipment that would allow the Ocean Pines Public Works Department to fix any damaged areas. In the long-term, Hill recommended exploring ways to make sure utility workers digging up the roads patched them properly. He said bonds were a potential solution.

Eddie Wells, the association’s public works director, said that the majority of the patches were created by Worcester County employees repairing water and sewer lines in Ocean Pines.

“That would be difficult to hold the county accountable,” board member Cheryl Jacobs said. She said perhaps the road damage could be used to get a larger grant from the county.

Board member Slobodan Trendic said he thought the patching was a problem because the county dealt with water and sewer issues as they came up, rather than with a schedule.

“What’s exacerbating the problem is the county doesn’t have a water pipe replacement program for Ocean Pines,” he said. “They’re doing ad hoc replacement of leaks as they get reported.”

Board member Dave Stevens cautioned against asking the county for additional funding.

“I don’t think going to the county for more money is such a good idea,” he said.

Resident Joe Reynolds told the board that the issue had come up before and the county had offered to pay for patch work after the road was dug up. He pointed out, however, that the county would likely increase the rates Pines residents paid for their water and sewer to do so.

“They’re going to add that to what they collect,” he said. “There’s no free lunch here.”

He added, however, that if the association handled patching the roads they could better control the quality of the work.

“We’re going to be living with this,” he said. “We need to get a good way of doing it.”

Wells said the deterioration of road patches was a common problem everywhere.

“They settle,” he said, “or it’s too high and you have a bump. It’s hard to patch a small area.”

On Saturday the board is expected to vote on transferring money from the capital budget (originally planned for paving) to the operating budget to have a contractor repair some of the worst existing patched areas.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.