OPA’s $11M Budget Features $30 Assessment Increase

OCEAN PINES –  Community officials outlined the Ocean Pines Association’s proposed $11.4 million budget at a public hearing last week.

On Saturday, the Ocean Pines Association’s board of directors hosted a public hearing regarding the coming year’s budget. General Manager John Bailey provided an overview of the $11,423,018 budget proposed for the fiscal year starting May 1.

The hearing came after the board took part in several lengthy work sessions focused on the budget last week.

“The board was very consistent and pragmatic in pursuing every departmental budget and dealing with some strategic issues that impact the budget,” Bailey said.

Bailey said the budget included an assessment of $951, a $30 increase over last year’s assessment.

“Of that $951, $71 of that is to address the projected operating deficits of the last two years,” Bailey said.

The deficit is expected to near $2 million by the end of the current fiscal year.

“We’re digging out of the worst financial hole Ocean Pines has ever been in…,” board member Ted Moroney said. “The biggest thing for us as a board is disciplining ourselves. That’s what it basically boils down to in my opinion.”

In an effort to trim expenses, officials have reduced the proposed budget by eliminating more than a dozen positions and by cutting a pay increase originally proposed at 3 percent to 2 percent. While the association is still paying 100 percent of an employee’s healthcare coverage, Bailey said there had been discussions about changing that. He said those changes were being discussed but would not be implemented in the coming budget year.

New capital projects have been deferred to future years. Bailey said the only items that would be purchased in the next year would be a bucket for the association’s backhoe, which will help employees address drainage issues, as well as a new access gate for the dog park.

“There’s a long list of new things that would add value to the community, a lot of good ideas, but they all would be paid for out of the operating budget which impacts your assessment,” he said. “It would have been about $26 added to the assessment.”

The proposed budget also includes a $25,000 decrease in promotion spending as well as $10,000 decrease in funding to be allocated to the community’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Auditing and technology spending has also been decreased in the proposed budget.

The budget is expected to be approved at the board’s next meeting on Feb. 25.

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.