Ocean City Today
https://oceancitytoday.villagesoup.com/p/1743730

It’s basically a wrap, as OC cancels budget talks

Although council will reopen discussions, passage is a given
By Greg Ellison | Apr 26, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison City Manager Doug Miller and Budget Manager Jennie Knapp presented a preview of the fiscal 2019 budget to the mayor and City Council on April 10.

(April 27, 2018) Evidence that preparation is everything was apparent in the Ocean City budget discussions that didn’t take place this week, as two sessions scheduled to take place Monday and Tuesday were cancelled because there was no need.

“When we finished (last) Thursday’s meeting, everyone was pleased with the budget the way it was,” said Budget Manager Jennie Knapp. “No one seemed willing to make any changes to the budget as it stands.”

Removed from this week’s calendar were a pair of wrap sessions to follow up on the five previous meetings that focused on the needs of the city’s various departments.

Those considerations ended on such a clear note last week that the City Council saw no wrinkles to iron out.

Knapp said discussions on the upcoming year’s fiscal package would reconvene during the council work session on May 1.

The proposed $83.45 million general fund budget includes an unchanged tax rate of .4656 cents per hundred dollars of assessed value.

That’s even though the council could have kept tax bills mostly level by adopting the state-calculated constant yield rate of .4667 cents. The difference in dollars generated between the two rates is $11 on a property valued at one million dollars.

Topping the revenue side of the ledger is real property taxes estimated at just over $40.9 million, up from the $40.68 million in the adopted fiscal 2018 budget.

Public safety leads the pack for expenditures at approximately $35.9 million, up from roughly $35.3 million during fiscal 2018.

Knapp said in the interest of maintaining a healthy bottom line, a number of public works staffing requests, including two maintenance workers, as well as meter and sign technicians, were denied.

“There were 26 positions overall that were requested that we did not fund,” she said. “That was part of keeping the tax rate … actually below constant yield.”

Knapp said maintaining a status quo budget can be challenging for departments with decreased personnel and increased workloads.

“One consistent thing [City Manager] Doug [Miller] and I heard, staffing is becoming an issue,” she said.

The first reading of the fiscal 2019 budget takes place on May 7 with second reading set for May 21 prior to final approval in June.

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