Special Meeting To Approve OPA Budget Set For Saturday

Special Meeting To Approve OPA Budget Set For Saturday
OPA Board members Frank Daly, President Doug Parks and Vice President Steve Tuttle are pictured at last Saturday’s budget review. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN –  Ocean Pines Association officials continue to make changes to the proposed budget, which is now expected to be approved Saturday.

Last Saturday, the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors tabled a motion to approve the proposed $12.8 million budget. The decision came after lengthy discussion of ways to cut the spending plan, which as initially proposed included a $127 assessment increase.

“My recommendation would be to table the motion, based on getting the information that came out of this discussion summarized by the general manager,” said Doug Parks, president of the board.

While General Manager John Bailey has since parted ways with the association, a special meeting to approve the budget has been scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23, at 9 a.m. at the Ocean Pines Community Center.

The majority of changes discussed at last week’s meeting related to cutting payroll costs for the coming year. While they agreed to include funding for merit raises, board members expressed concern over the possibility that some employees could receive exorbitant increases. Director Slobodan Trendic said one position last year received a 20 percent raise and was slated in the coming year for a 15 percent raise.

“I’ve got serious issues with these numbers,” he said.

Board members agreed that raises above 4 percent should be based on documented justification.

Other budget issues discussed by the board last week included medical benefits, bulkhead fees and departmental spending. Board members told Bailey they wanted to be sure the $17,250 in department cuts he presented had been reviewed with department heads.

“They’re the ones that have to implement the work,” Director Esther Diller said.

Bailey said he had not yet reviewed the cuts with those individuals. Director Frank Daly asked him to get information from each department about what the cuts would impact.

“I’m not suggesting we micromanage these cuts,” he said. “I want to know what these cuts effect.”

At Trendic’s suggestion, the board agreed to make additional cuts in the marketing and public relations department.

“I don’t want to spend $50,000 on radio and TV commercials unless there’s some metrics showing return,” he said.

Diller and Parks agreed.

“If we don’t have that maybe what we do at this point is pare that back…,” Parks said. “I’m thinking bigger picture. I think it’s a small price to pay that’ll give us a little relief.”

While the board instructed Bailey to have an updated copy of the proposed budget online for residents to review by Wednesday, officials announced Tuesday that he and the association had parted ways. Saturday’s meeting remains scheduled for 9 a.m. at the community center.

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.