OCEAN PINES – The Ocean Pines Association has extended the assessment deadline by 90 days in response to the economic hardship created by the ongoing health crisis.
The Ocean Pines Association (OPA) board voted 6-1, with Treasurer Larry Perrone opposed, to extend the assessment deadline to Aug. 1. While officials hope that those who can will pay before the usual May 1 deadline, they agreed to offer the extension to give those who may be suffering financially more time.
“It’s our way of taking care of our own,” board member Tom Janasek said.
In a virtual board meeting April 1, General Manager John Viola said various scenarios—and the effect each would have on operations—had been analyzed, including extending the due date for the annual assessment 30 days, 60 days and 90 days. He said certain expenditures, particularly capital expenditures, could be delayed until the fall.
“We do believe that if we went to 90 days coming in on the assessments, we believe we would have enough money,” Viola said, adding that the association shouldn’t have to go into its reserves. “Right now I’m saying with the 90 days and the COVID-19 effecting us going until possibly June we should be fine cash wise.”
When asked what sort of projects could be delayed, Viola said an example would be the new playgrounds that were set to be installed.
Perrone said he did not want OPA to have to dip into its reserves.
“Based on the numbers we’ve been looking at, if this stay-in-place order is not lifted and we don’t generate income in July and August, we don’t know for sure where we’re going to be but there is a possibility we would have to go into our replacement reserve account for operations,” he said.
Perrone said he was in favor of a 60-day extension rather than a 90-day extension. He said that if people weren’t aware, golf packages had been canceled.
“That’s a substantial hit to the budgeted revenue,” he said.
Board member Frank Daly suggested delaying a decision until May, when the association would have already received assessments from many residents and would have a better idea of how many might not be paid until later.
Janasek said he thought an announcement regarding a delayed due date from Ocean Pines would ease a lot of residents’ worries.
“It really goes a long way to the psyche of our community to let them know what we are planning as a board,” he said.
He added that those who could should pay their assessments by May 1 as they usually did.
“We still have to run Ocean Pines,” he said.
Board member Camilla Rogers echoed Janasek’s comments and said she supported extending the due date 90 days. Board member Steve Tuttle agreed, as did OPA President Doug Parks.
“I think 90 days based on what we heard is a very reasonable approach,” Parks said.
Board member Collete Horn said she was uncomfortable with the risk and said she’d rather see a 60 day extension with the possibility at that time of another 30 day extension.
“I’m just not comfortable with the financial risk we’re placing the association under if we go the 90 days,” she said.
Rogers pointed out that the federal government had pushed back the deadline to file taxes.
“I understand the conservative approach but I believe it’s in the best interest of our community to have this flexibility,” she said.
The board voted 6-1, with Perrone opposed, to move the assessment due date to Aug. 1. Board members noted that homeowners who opt to delay paying their dues might not be able to vote or run in the annual OPA election. According to the association’s bylaws, no member may vote if, 35 days prior to the voting deadline, the member has failed to pay the annual charge. This year the voting deadline is July 1.