Ocean City Today

Nonprofit event discount will require changing calculation

Resort staff to reconsider other variables integral to current application process
By Katie Tabeling | Oct 12, 2017
File Photo

(Oct. 13, 2017) Instead of adjusting portions of the private event application, Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller announced this week that he will be redesigning the entire calculation that measures each event’s profitability.

When Miller first started to consider how to reign in city government’s discounts on it charges for services when events are staged by nonprofit organizations, he proposed requiring these organization to clarify their Internal Revenue Service designations. From there, local 501(c)3 organizations would be offered a discount that would max out at 75 percent.

But doing so would over-complicate the entire return-of-investment calculation, Miller said.

“The calculations are tied together, and we realized adding the [nonprofit] variable would be difficult. So instead, we’ll be starting from scratch,” he told the Recreation and Parks Commission during Tuesday’s meeting. “You’re not going to lose a lot of things, but we decided to look at other potential issues and address them as well.”

The new calculation will also look into other factors, such as whether the event would be held mid-week or on the weekend, or when Ocean City is saturated with events.

Other changes would be modifications to the current private event application process. Various representatives from departments such as Public Works and Ocean City Police are required to answer a survey of 10 questions on each event’s impact on the resort.

Miller said it might be time to refresh the survey.

“What we found over the past is that two years is the departments are less likely to read through the questions, and they put in standard answers,” he said. “That’s part of why the value been decreasing in this version.”

The next version would also look at how many overnight trips the event would bring to Ocean City, and whether the overflow would go to West Ocean City hotels.

Promoters would also be asked to fill out a standardized sheet that would help city officials determine the event’s annual growth.

Miller would also want to look at subjective matters, such as the event’s value to the resort residents, but would try and find a rational way to approach that matter.

Under the new form, nonprofit promoters could receive up to 75 percent in discounts while other producers could see smaller discounts.

Councilman Wayne Hartman asked Miller to consider other fees for events that require Ocean City Police to direct traffic. He argued earlier this year that these special events and weekend work leading reasons for what officials believe is the department’s high employee turnover rate.

“The current policy is that if the town feels the event it proprietary to them, and Ocean City Police and EMS feels they should take it on, then there should be no charge,” Miller said. “But we can absolutely [do that]. There’s still some direction to discuss.

Council President Lloyd Martin stressed that police presence is needed during some events at certain intersections.

“If they [promoters] ask for extra resources for a parade or whatever it may be, that needs to be covered somehow,” he said. “With a parade, [officers] don’t want to be on that corner, but there’s some that an officer has to be there. We have to fine-tune this so it works for all of us.”

Miller will work on the new calculation after Winterfest’s 25th anniversary wraps up in January.

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