Ocean Pines Schedules Annual Budget Review

OCEAN PINES – As association officials prepare for the coming year’s budget, Ocean Pines General Manager John Viola says the community will continue to face financial challenges.

In January, the Ocean Pines Association will kick off its annual review of the proposed budget. Viola told the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors last week the spending plan for 2023-2024 will be distributed to the governing body and the association’s budget and finance committee in the coming days.

“Per our scrolls, our governing documents, we worked with all the department heads, from the bottom up …,” he said. “Linda [Martin] and Steve [Phillips] have been the leaders on this. We have actually completed everything as we speak, and Steve, our senior lead, is crunching numbers. But we will have an estimate to the board and budget and finance before the holidays.”

The association’s fiscal year begins on May 1 of each year and ends on April 30 of the next calendar year. In preparation for the coming year’s budget, Viola said the budget and finance committee will hold a review Jan. 4-6, while the board will hold a review Jan. 18-19.

“We’ve already received guidance from budget and finance,” he said. “The team reviewed all of that.”

Viola told board members last week the budget process will also include a review of the association’s reserve study.

“We have discussed it with budget and finance, and there will be an update on December 28,” he said. “The team has done a thorough review of the next five years on that, which we will present to budget and finance. This will tie into the budget.”

Viola, however, noted that the association continues to face financial challenges – including inflation and minimum wage increases – as it prepares for a new fiscal year.

“Obviously, there are headwinds in anything that is financial …,” he said. “What we have that affects us the most is minimum wage inflation.”

Viola also highlighted the limited labor pool.

“Labor pool has been tight, and, no pun intended, especially with our lifeguards,” he said. “We are looking at that. You will see in the budget that we’ve addressed that financially.”

Lastly, Viola told board members that insurance premiums were also increasing.

“This all comes, unfortunately, right after we finished the budget,” he said. “So we have put in estimates there, but they are big numbers as far as the assessment.”

Viola noted, however, that there was some good news as officials prepared for the coming budget process.

“The tailwinds are improved performance in amenities and departments,” he said. “I can tell you overall we have an invigorated staff.”

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.