Ocean City Today
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Resort departments make fiscal ‘19 budget requests

Section heads told to ‘hold the line’ on spending, while ensuring all needs are met
By Greg Ellison | Apr 26, 2018
Source: File Photo

Resort departments make fiscal ‘19 budget requests

 

Section heads told to ‘hold the line’ on spending, while ensuring all needs are met

 

(April 27, 2018) Ocean City government ended its departmental-level budget discussions last week, having established what it will spend and what it will receive in fiscal year 2019.

Each department made its pitch for what it needed, what it wanted and what it planned to do starting July 1, the beginning of local government’s fiscal year.

• Public Works: Jim Parsons, chief deputy director, requested $48.6 million, which is drawn from both general fund budget, which is where tax revenue goes, and separate funds that are supported by user fees.

The public works umbrella includes nine divisions: administration, aviation, construction, maintenance, vehicle service center, solid waste, transportation, water and wastewater.

The department’s goals include $100,000 for planning and designing a new water treatment plant.

“One of the things that we’re actively planning … is for the future water treatment plant that will be at 66th Street in Ocean City one day,” Parsons said. “The plant at 44th Street is on a postage [stamp] size piece of property. It’s landlocked and eventually it’s going to not be able to keep up with technology, so we’re trying to stay out in front of that one.”

Construction Manager Greg Dale Sr. said $3.855 million has been budgeted for streets, buildings and grounds. Assuming the budget passes with no changes, that would be a decrease of about $4,700 from last year.

Maintenance Manager Tom Dy said his budget requests include five operating accounts: streets, $2.248 million, the beach, just under a million, Boardwalk, $729,000, janitorial, $812,000 and parking lots at $627,000. The total of $5.417 million is a decrease of not quite $25,000, he said.

Transit Manager Mark Rickards said bus and tram fares are not budgeted to increase.

Ocean City Municipal Airport Manager Jamie Giandomenico said although the $635,000 airport subsidy request is significantly higher than the roughly $210,000 granted during the current fiscal year, more than $420,000 is attributable to capital loan matches.

Fleet Manager Ron Eckman noted the vehicle service center budget is projected at $1.25 million, which is below the $1.31 million included in the current fiscal year budget.

Procurement Manager Catrice Parsons worked with Eckman to pare down 46 vehicle requests totaling roughly $2.2 million to 27 vehicles for $1.9 million.

“We cut out 10 vehicles [right] off the bat and after Ron did his DOT inspections, we cut out more,” she said.

• Risk Management: Risk Manager Eric Langstrom said the costs for workers’ compensation claims continue to trend upward.

“The estimated budget for workers compensation between policies and claims is $1.1 million and that is about half of the risk management budget,” he said.

• Planning and Community Development: Planning Director Bill Neville said the department continues to process about 150 building permits monthly.

“The value of construction is on a slow climb back up,” he said.

Revenue from building permits is budgeted at $925,000 for fiscal 2019, while the department’s total revenue is budgeted to increase by roughly $36,000. The proposed general fund allocation of $457,000 is lower than the $564,000 budgeted during fiscal 2018.

• Engineering Department: City Engineer Terry McGean said the proposed engineering and beach replenishment budget includes approximately $75,000 for the Boardwalk access control project’s second phase.

Funding for beach replenishment is set at $450,000, which is $50,000 more than fiscal 2018.

McGean also noted despite applying for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging permits last summer, the approval came too late to avoid construction restrictions from April to June.

“We did not get the corps permit until the end of March,” he said. “We’ll have to do two years worth of dredging projects this coming offseason.”

• Tourism and Marketing Department: Director Donna Abbott said the dollar total from the state tourism grant is still unknown for fiscal 2019, but is anticipated at more than $575,000 for the current fiscal year.

Larry Noccolino, Roland E. Powell Convention Center executive director, said the proposed general fund operations allocation for fiscal 2019 are $1.438 million, or about $36,000 more than the $1.401 million during fiscal 2018.

Hall rentals for fiscal 2019 are budgeted at $920,000, up slightly from the $902,500 anticipated during the current fiscal year. The figures include more than $70,000 in yearly revenue from the Performing Arts Center in the convention center.

Noccolino also noted a study by Crossroads Consulting estimated convention center events generated direct spending of approximately $137.8 million in Worcester County and roughly $145.7 million statewide during fiscal 2018.

Recreation and Parks Department: Director Susan Petito said both department budgets would see slight increases during fiscal 2019.

Parks is budgeted at $1.88 million, up more than $31,000 from the current fiscal year, while recreation is proposed at $1.4 million, up roughly $12,000 over fiscal 2018.

Petito also said admission and rental revenues, which have increased 119 percent since 2008, are anticipated at $120,000 for fiscal 2019.

Special Event Superintendent Frank Miller said revenue from city-sponsored events and festivals is anticipated to top $1.7 million for fiscal 2019, an increase of more than $13,000.

Miller also highlighted Art X, a new event scheduled for Aug. 25-26 at Northside Park, essentially a revamped version of the Arts Alive with a greater diversity of artists and vendors.

“We, as a town, need to step up to the plate and help make Ocean City an arts and culture destination,” he said. “We need … to keep a fresh portfolio of events that are innovative.”

• Public Safety: Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald, whose purview includes emergency management, Beach Patrol, communications and electronics, said his department’s budget is anticipated to increase about half a percent to roughly $5.21 million in fiscal 2019.

“We’ve been given the message to hold the line and we’ve done what we can,” he said.

Ocean City Fire Chief Chris Larmore reviewed budget projections for career and volunteer firefighters, as well as the fire marshal division.

The career fire/emergency medical services proposed fiscal 2019 budget estimates total expenditures at approximately $8.09 million, with Ocean City contributing about $5.78 million, with just over $2.3 million sourced from ambulance service fees and a county operating grant.

The Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company’s proposed budget is more than $1.79 million, with Ocean City contributing roughly $1.69 million and $95,000 from a county fire grant.

The fire marshal division proposed fiscal 2019 budget of $1.08 million, includes $202,000 in fee and grant revenues, with Ocean City contributing approximately $882,000.

The Ocean City Police Deparment’s proposed budget is $21.4 million, an increase of $172,429 over current spending and includes an estimate for the proposed contract changes.

The City Council will revisit the budget during its work session May 1, with the first reading scheduled for May 7 and second reading set for May 21 prior to final approval in June.

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