OC Can Go Below Constant Yield Rate
Recently the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of the Town of Ocean City were informed that the constant yield property tax rate for Fiscal Year (FY)19 increased slightly from 46.56 cents per $100 of assessed value to 46.67 cents. Thus, the staff plans to submit a draft budget to the M&CC at the slightly higher tax rate. The staff pointed out that it has been the town policy to adopt the budget at the constant yield rate for the last several years.
Let me share with you the results of adopting the constant yield every year, as opposed to cutting the property tax rate by a fair and reasonable amount. Since FY11, the town has collected over $31 million in excess Unassigned Fund Balance Reserves. This is surplus over and above the 15% budgeted reserve policy amount. Over this seven-year period, the town has averaged 20.8% in unrestricted fund balance reserves, almost 6% above the policy threshold. Last year alone (FY17), they collected 25.7%, or 10.7% above the policy amount. That equated to almost $8.5 million in surplus reserve funds in just one year. In FY17, the M&CC could have reduced the tax rate by nearly 10 cents, and still have generated the 15% reserve amount.
From a different angle, the town has averaged over $4.4 million in excess reserves over that seven-year period. On average, the tax rate could have been reduced by 4.8 cents each year and the town would still meet their 15% reserve policy amount.
Yet again, I call on the M&CC to be fiscally responsible as they begin FY19 budget deliberations.
Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Jr.
NRA Often Subject Of Outright Falsehoods
My friend Palmer Gillis’ letter of March 9 (“NRA Appalls”) addresses a subject now well known to all Americans: gun violence in schools. I am not a member of the National Rifle Association, nor do I own any firearms. And I write to you not as a spokesman for WGMD-FM, but as an individual who has assiduously studied history all my adult life.
Shocking tragedies such as the Feb. 14 events in Parkland, Fla.’s high school always propel the subject of Americans’ rights under the Second Amendment to the forefront of our national discussion (and rightly so) but they do so in a highly-charged and emotional atmosphere, making a rational discussion of those rights impossible.
The NRA advocates for gun safety and defends the Second Amendment, a basic, central and defining American freedom, from those who would eliminate that freedom with the false promise of ‘safety’. The NRA has never advocated for the murder of helpless citizens by crazed psychotics, and no mass-shooter has ever been an NRA member. No American organization that defends any other Constitutional right is subject to such outlandish insults and outright falsehoods.
The ultimate purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure that no-one attains or retains governmental authority outside of the Constitutional electoral process. The Founding Fathers understood that people who possess authority and power over others are, more often than not, loathe to relinquish it. Our democracy’s regular and peaceful transference of power, at the will of the electorate, is a startling exception in the vast experience of human governance. To assert that career American politicians would willingly leave office if voted out by a disarmed populace is naïve in the extreme. Just as it’s now a criminal offense to criticize Muslims in European countries, it (and other ‘infractions’) would likewise be an offense here if the same forces who advocate for the abolition of the Second Amendment have their way.
We now find that the accused Parkland murderer could have been lawfully confined to a mental health institution, barring him from owning firearms. That along with the manifold failures of law enforcement both before and during the mass murder make it clear that additional laws that further infringe on law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights would be superfluous while further eroding the Bill of Rights.
Sherwood “Duke” Brooks
Film Festival A Success
On behalf of the Ocean City Film Festival committee and the Art League of Ocean City, thank you to everyone who supported and made the 2nd Annual Ocean City Film Festival a huge success.
We welcomed a diverse group of filmmakers from all over the world and shared 100 compelling films by 94 filmmakers with over 600 attendees. The festival showcased industry professionals as well as university students, young filmmakers, and local talent and gave them an opportunity to network with others who share their passion. While the event is only in its second year, the overwhelming response will ensure its growth in future years.
Our gratitude goes out to the venues that screened the films: Clarion Resort, Princess Royale Hotel, and Fox Gold Coast Theater. The weekend culminated with an award ceremony and reception at Squarz Pizza Pub, and we are grateful to Darren and Linda for their hospitality and delicious pizza.
Thank you to our judges, John Berninger, Allen Cramer, Don Lehman, Gwen Lehman, Dan O’Hare, and Jonathan Pippin, who curated the entries. Also to Film Festival committee members Dolores Pack, Ruth Waters, Katie Brown, Elaine Bean, and Debbi Dean-Colley, who worked many months to coordinate the events. We also truly appreciate the volunteers who staffed the screenings and helped at the filmmaker opening reception at the Ocean City Center for the Arts.
Special thanks to our lead sponsor, the Town of Ocean City, and to all of our sponsors and advertisers, The Carousel Hotel, Harrison Group Hotels, Hotel Motel Restaurant Association, Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, Seacrets, Shore Craft Beer and D3 Corp.
We also would like to recognize our valued media partners: Ocean City Today, Maryland Coast Dispatch, Coastal Style Magazine, Delmarva Public Radio, Ocean 98, WRDE, WMDT, and WBOC for helping to get the word out.
The workshop instructors — Rob Waters, Torrez Wise, Jonathan Pippin, and Dan O’Hare — explored topics like screen writing and shooting music videos, and added interest and networking opportunities, and we are thank them for their time.
Finally, to our audience, 600-plus strong, who laughed, shed a tear, asked insightful questions, and enthusiastically applauded, we appreciate you choosing to spend your time with us. Mark your calendars for next year for the 3rd Annual Ocean City Film Festival. In the meantime, join us for our monthly $5 film nights on the 3rd Saturday of the month at the Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street, where you can experience more of this creative vision.
Rina Thaler, William Strang-Moya and Kristin Helf
(The writers are the executive director of Art League of Ocean City and festival supervisor, festival artistic director and festival co-director, respectively.)
Koenig Family Appreciative
We wish to thank all who were involved in the recent benefit hosted by Fager’s Island to assist in the rebuilding of our fire damaged Berlin home. What an amazing day it was.
Kudos to the Fager’s Island staff for their hard work and preparation. It takes a really dedicated and professional group to insure such a flawless event. Special thanks go to John and Michelle Fager for their philanthropy and to the staff members who selflessly donated their time and even tips. Local breweries Burley Oak, Evo, Dogfish Head, and RAR — facilitated by Carey Distributors — donated wonderful craft beer for the occasion. Many local businesses made generous donations to the silent auction as well. Fager’s Island, BJ’s On the Water, Beach Barrels, Coins Pub, M.R.Ducks, Seacrets, Trader Lee’s, Bad Monkey, O.C.Wasabi, Burley Oak, RAR, Beach Music, The Dispatch, B&B Music, Little Miss Lovely Floral Designs, Jeff Auxer Blown Glass Designs, Ruark Golf, South Moon Under, K Coast, Quiet Storm, Holland House, and Courtyard Marriott all participated. Advertising and promotion were courtesy of The Dispatch and 98.1 Seacrets Radio.Entertainment was coordinated by our friend Greg Cotter, MC’d by DJ BK, and included stellar performances by Kevin Poole, Joe Smooth, and Opposite Directions, all of whom were instrumental in making the event possible. Thanks also to my fellow members of Tranzfusion, both past and present, for their support and compassion.
Finally we are so very grateful to all who attended. So many friends came from near and far to help out. Your generosity was overwhelming and deeply appreciated.
In the face of such an outpouring of support — to paraphrase Lou Gehrig — we feel like the luckiest people on the face of the Earth. Bless you all and thank you.
The Koenig Family