Ocean City Today

OC shouldn’t pose as victim of county

Apr 12, 2018



printed 04/13/2018


Ocean City government’s obsession with obtaining a tax differential from the county has begun to manifest itself in unbecoming ways, especially as it attempts to portray itself as a victim of a freeloading county.

Such representations play only to a small audience, given the resort’s overwhelming financial success.

In addition, it is based on the false premise that reducing property taxes (and increasing them everywhere else) via the differential will halt the mainland-bound trickle of residents and businesses, with the latter inevitably viewed as competition.

The weight of property taxes may be a reason for this minor exodus, but it is not the reason, as it fails to explain why many people who work or own businesses in Ocean City choose to live in communities such as Ocean Pines and Berlin that levy their own assessments and provide fewer services.

During a Tourism Commission discussion this week of whether West Ocean City is unfairly benefitting from Ocean City’s marketing campaigns and is siphoning off business that somehow rightfully belongs to the resort, hotelier Michael James pointed out that Ocean City has the one thing no one else can claim — a beach.

And it drives everything. Further, the closer it is, the more expensive everything becomes, regardless of taxes, which for many resort businesses is more than made up for by being in the middle of the action. Some, however, are happy to make a living on the periphery, which is a fact in any resort area.

Similarly, a growing number of resort workers, owners and operators want to leave the crowd behind at the end of the day. They want more room, a quieter circumstance and, maybe, a greater sense of community, all of which are increasingly difficult to find as Ocean City’s traditional neighborhoods of a generation or two ago give way to tourism-related pursuits and situations.

No tax finagling will change that, nor will it be enough to counter the substantially higher land costs that many residents and most businesses willingly accept because they like being at the beach and all it provides, rather than near it.

Considering Ocean City’s good fortune in an area much less fortunate overall, casting itself as the victim of a grasping county makes it look mean and stingy, even when that might not be the case.


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