Council President Maintains ‘Proper Planning’ Critical For OC

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City Council President Lloyd Martin was in a decidedly reflective mood at the Mayor and Council’s last meeting of 2018.

With the calendar getting ready to flip over to 2019, the Mayor and Council met for the last time in the current calendar year on Dec. 17. The typically stoic Martin took advantage of the meeting comment period to reflect on 2018’s achievements and challenges and set the table somewhat for what is to come in 2019.

“This council is going in the right direction,” he said. “We have a great council here. I think that we get a lot done with proper planning and I think we need to stay on that.”

While the fiscal year 2020 budget cycle is still months away, Martin said the pillars of the town’s spending plan next year and beyond are already being put in place. Earlier this month, the Mayor and Council got a rather rosy presentation on the town’s overall fiscal health heading into the new year with rock solid bond ratings, a healthy fund balance and a strong debt-to-revenue ratio.

However, there are fiscal challenges on the horizon. The Mayor and Council recently reviewed the proposed five-year capital improvement plan including hundreds of millions of dollars in major projects. The council is currently trying to prioritize those capital projects and come up with creative ways to fund them. Nonetheless, Martin said with proper planning, many of those projects will get done over time while maintaining the town’s solid fiscal position.

“We’ve been working on a five-year financial plan and that is ongoing,” he said. “Our plan continues to evolve. We’re making the town better every year, every day really.”

The challenge going forward will be continuing to provide amenities to attract the millions of visitors to Ocean City each year while maintaining the quality of life for its year-round residents. Added to the challenges are remaining fiscally conservative and keeping the tax rates stable for resident and non-resident property owners. Martin said all those factors are in consideration as the calendar flips to 2019 and the fiscal-year budget cycle and the five-year capital plan move forward.

“This council has its best foot forward and its head in the right place,” he said. “We’re looking out for all of the taxpayers and we’re looking out for our children. Whatever we’ve done in the past is all about planning for the future of our children and our grandchildren.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.