Ocean Pines Kicks Off Annual Review Of Proposed Budget

OCEAN PINES – The Ocean Pines Association kicked off its annual budget process this week with a series of review sessions.

On Tuesday, the Ocean Pines Budget and Finance Committee held the first of three review sessions this week to evaluate the preliminary proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-2023.

“The role of Budget and Finance is to make recommendations to the board in respect to any actions we want to take …,” said Dick Keiling, committee chair. “This is the first draft of the budget so any suggestions we make and the general manager supports, he has the opportunity to change those in a second pass through of the budget before it goes to the board.”

General Manager John Viola told committee members this week the association continues to face challenges ahead of the coming year’s budget, including inflation, minimum wage increases and market adjustments.

“Even with the adjustment for minimum wage, we still had to come up with an adjustment to hire people,” he said, “and it’s reflected in this budget.”

The proposed fiscal year 2022-2023 budget includes total revenues of $16,833,944 and expenditures of the same. Viola also noted an estimated surplus of roughly $1.4 million, which will be applied to reserves.

“We did not use any surplus for this budget,” he said.

While the spending plan details increases to salaries, insurance and the fire department budget – a $319,000 jump related to salaries and medical benefits – Viola noted increased department revenues and expense reductions led to a proposed assessment decrease of $1.

“I believe we have a very good proposed budget,” he said.

Most of Tuesday’s meeting featured discussions with various department heads. Under general administration, for example, Finance Director Steve Phillips highlighted a $50,000 decrease in interest income and a $100,000 increase in casino fund revenues.

“The table games over at the casino generated more funds,” he said. “So we are budgeting $450,000 this year.”

Phillips also highlighted the $150,000 budgeted for legal fees in the coming fiscal year. When asked if the association had considered hiring its own attorney, instead of an outside law firm, Board President Larry Perrone said it hadn’t been discussed.

“I think the law firm should be reviewed every year …,” Viola added. “It’s not just the lawyer. We have HR outsourced as well, ever since I’ve been here.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, Budget and Finance Committee members reviewed the proposed budget with members of association staff, including public relations, golf, recreation and parks, and finance, to name a few.

A video of each review session, held Jan. 4-6, will be made available on the association’s YouTube page. Proposed budget documents can also be viewed online through the association’s website, oceanpines.org.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.