Ocean City Today
https://oceancitytoday.villagesoup.com/p/1739811

County revenues, expenses outlined

By Brian Gilliland | Apr 12, 2018

(April 13, 2018) While some requests for consideration in the county government’s 2019 fiscal year budget have been known for some time — the municipalities’ appeals, for instance — pleas for help from areas such as charitable donations have only just emerged this week.

The Worcester County Commissioners are almost finished with the listening phase of the budget, when the towns and every department of the county government state their cases for county government funding.

Once finished, the proposed budget will go back to the budget committee composed of county staff, who will then make cuts to the department requests before it is once again passed to the commissioners to review. The commissioners then make their own adjustments, hold an annual public hearing on the document — scheduled this year for May 1 at 7 p.m. at Snow Hill High School, all before the June 5 deadline to adopt the plan.

On the income side, the local share of state park revenue is expected to be lower than 2017’s total of more than $500,000, but up more than $25,000 from last year’s budgeted $400,000. Civil infraction fines are about half of what they were in 2018 at $1,350 of about $2,500 expected.

The income tax hike instituted by this board of commissioners from 1.25 percent to 1.75 percent effective Jan. 1, 2016 is expected to keep paying dividends, with an additional $500,000 expected for a total of $23 million.

Room tax rates are, at this point, lower than expected in Ocean City and Pocomoke City, and up in the unincorporated parts of the county along with Snow Hill and Berlin.

Ocean City is down about $3 million with only a couple months left in the fiscal year, while the unincorporated areas are already more than $100,000 ahead. The resort still dwarfs the other county areas in room tax revenues by more than a factor of 10.

The county staff also is recommending interfund transfers of about $8.51 million to fund reserves to support enterprise fund line items in the solid waste department: recycling and convenience centers.

To maintain a reserve of 10 percent, the county owes its reserves about $1.153 million. The recycling department needs about $1.03 million in transferred funds, while the convenience centers are costing the fund almost $665,000.

Enterprise funds are intended to run without the support of public funds such as taxes, and to cover their expenses with user fees.

On the expenditures side, the proposed amount of taxes the county returns to Ocean City totals almost $16.34 million. That includes the many millions in Ocean City room taxes the county collects for and then must return to resort government. It also collects types of taxes and redistributes them as well.

In that regard, Berlin gets about $462,000, Pocomoke City gets about $377,000, and Snow Hill gets about $134,700.

Proposed grants to the towns are about $3.6 million for Ocean City, about $843,000 to Snow Hill, $685,000 to Berlin and $565,000 to Pocomoke City. The Ocean Pines Association requested $701,000.

Cultural organizations like Furnacetown, the Girdletree Foundation, the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council, the MarVa Theater, Pocomoke Little League and the Delmarva Discovery Center were all requested to continue receiving support from the county, to the tune of almost $128,000.

A request from the Art League of Ocean City was apparently sent, but not received by the county by the time of the review.

Social service grants, including state pass through funding for organizations like Diakonia, and the Samaritan Shelter, total almost $1.144 million of the requested budget. Atlantic General Hospital, the Developmental Center and Youth and Family Counseling are the largest beneficiaries of this section of the budget at this time.

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