July 2023 Ocean Pines Progress

Page 1

July 4 fireworks at Veterans Park

The Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department will once again host a Fourth of July fireworks celebration at Veterans Memorial Park on Route 589 and Cathell Road.

The event this year is scheduled from 5-8:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4, with carnival games, dry slides and bounce houses for children, plus live music and food and drink vendors.

~Page 45

Firehouse proposal nearing completion

General Manager John Viola in a report at the June 18 monthly Board of Directors meeting touched briefly on the incremental progress that could lead to a formal proposal to the Board of Directors about a new or mostly new Southside firehouse, perhaps as soon as July or maybe the annual meeting of the association in August.

The proposal would include details on how much the OPA might need to assess OPA members for a portion of the cost of the project. That number has been elusive to date. Viola said the size and scope of the building will depend in part on the extent to which the OPA and OPVFD will be able to raise grant funds to help defray the cost.

~ Page 9


Ocean Pines ............... Pages 1-32

Board election .........Pages 33-39

Worcester County .. Pages 40-41

OPA Finances .......... Pages 42-44

Lifestyles ................... Pages 45-47

Opinion ..................... Pages 48-49

Captain’s Cove ......... Pages 50-63

Knupp defendant’s attorney files for change of venue

Retired judge from Dorchester County to preside over motion hearing

As the sad one-year anniversary of the death of Ocean Pines teenager Gavin Knupp approaches, the legal case against the West Ocean City man implicated in the accident which killed the 14-year-old Knupp grinds ever slowly through the legal system.

It took nine months and 17 days from the time of the accident, which occurred on July 11 last year, for the state to file charges in the case.

It took another 48 days from April 28, the date charges were filed, for the defendant’s attorney to ask for a change in venue, on grounds that the climate in Worcester County is so toxic and prejudiced against his client that a fair trial in Snow Hill is impossible.

Tyler Mailloux, 22, was cited with 17 counts in the

accident, all of which seem to boil down a single charge: He left the scene of the July 16 accident at about 10:45 p.m. on Gray’s Corner Road, about two miles south of Ocean Pines, without stopping. The crux of the state case is that he knew, or should have known, that an accident had occurred, and that he should have stopped to render assistance to an injured person and provide information to the first responders.

All are serious charges with the potential of serious penalties, to be sure, but not on a par with vehicular manslaughter, speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The list of charges against Mailloux would be far more voluminous had alcohol been involved, excessive speed or some other fault been found in his driving. But

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Change of venue

requested insurance information to Administration, a reference either to the state police or perhaps the Motor Vehicle Administration.

according to the state’s filing documents, his driving was and is not an issue.

“The state has not alleged that the defendant acted in any criminal or negligent manner regarding the operation of the vehicle prior to the accident,” said George Psoras, Mailloux’s attorney, in his June 15 request for a change in venue.

Of the 17 charges, six apparently are duplicates of one another. According to a page called up by the case look-up feature on the state judicial Website, counts 2 and four are identical, as are counts six and eight, nine and ten, 11 and 12, 14 and 15, and 16 and 17.

There is no obvious explanation for why the state filed six charges that are exact duplicates of one another.

There are actually 11 charges at issue, and even these seem similar to one another.

For instance, one says that Mailloux failed to immediately stop his vehicle at a scene of an accident involving bodily injury. Another one alleged he had failed to stop his vehicle at a scene of an accident involving death.

Other charges involve alleged paperwork infractions. One said he had failed to give insurance policy information, and another alleged he had failed within 15 days after the accident to furnish

It seems likely that the defense will ask for some consolidation of these remaining charges.

volume of hatred and columny directed at Mailloux by some of those who have posted comments for the past year on the Justice for Gavin Facebook page.

Membership on that site is in excess of 22,000.

There have been reports, unconfirmed, that a police report of the accident indicates pedestrian error was a factor in the accident. So far no police report has been entered into the case file, and the term “pedestrian error” does not appear in any public documents.

The discovery phase that takes place in criminal cases before trial is about to begin.

If eventually entered into evidence, this police report might suggest that had Mailloux stopped at the scene where he could have provided immediate assistance and testimony to responding police officers, this case might not be heading for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 18 in Snow Hill on a number of motions by the defense.

The motion for a change in venue filed with the clerk of Worcester County Circuit Court is a tenpage document, with another 200 pages consisting of supporting exhibits.

Some of these pages show multiple examples of vitriol directed at Mailloux, with no regard for the presumption of innocence that is a bedrock principle of the U.S. judicial system.

From Page 1 To

Psoras Jr., the Lutherville, Md., defense attorney, contends these exhibits show a tremendous

Psoras is essentially contending that his client can’t receive a fair trial in Worcester County because of the massive pretrial publicity, much of it prejudicial against Mailloux.

It remains to be seen whether the office of the Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser will contest the change of venue request. According to the state judicial Website, assistant States’ Attorney Paul T. Haskell is handling the case.

Originally, Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Brian D. Shockley was scheduled to preside over the motion hearing scheduled for Aug. 16, but that hearing was pushed back two days to Aug. 18 with a new judge assigned.

That judge is Brett Wilson of Dorchester County, who retired as that county’s chief administrative circuit court judge in November of 2021.

He’s also a former first judicial district administrative judge covering Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties.

Born in Easton in 1958, he’s a former state’s attorney for Wicomico County and a former standing master, now called a magistrate, handling Dorchester County family court cases.

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Change of venue

From Page 3

Some documents that are part of the court case record on file in Snow Hill provide more detail about the accident than has been reported in the local media.

One document in particular, the state’s bill of particulars, sets out what would seem to be at the heart of the state’s case against Mailloux, who was driving a black 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300 eastbound on Grays Corner Road, east of its intersection with Maryland Route 589 and west of Samuel Bowen Drive, an entrance into the Glen Riddle community.

Knupp was walking in the eastbound lane of Grays Corner Road when the accident occurred. Reports about the accident has said he was brought to the site in his sister’s vehicle, and that it was parked on the side of the road heading west.

“Defendant was traveling at or near the speed limit of Grays Corner Road [50 miles per hour at the time, since lowered], when he struck Gavin Ross Knupp, causing damage to the front bumper of the defendant’s car, its front body panels and hood, as well as cracking the windshield in several places, damaging its driver’s side mirror, and denting the driver’s side a-pillar,” according to the document.

Knupp “was thrown approximately 90 feet from the point of impact and came to rest on the westbound shoulder” of Gray’s Corner Road, the document continued.

According to the bill of particulars, the state contends that the defendant “knew or should have known” that Knupp “would have sustained serious bodily injury as he had been struck by a motor vehicle at a high rate of speed and had been thrown a considerable distance from the point of impact with the vehicle.

“This point of impact was immediately in front of and apparent to the defendant,” the document reads.

Knupp “did in fact sustain serious bodily injuries, including injuries to his head, his torso, and his extremities, that resulted in his death a short time after the accident.”

Psoras’ response to the state’s bill of particulars, as well as a document demanding that the state produce it, point to a possible defense strategy that could emerge should the case go to trial, either in Worcester County or some other venue. It currently is scheduled for four days in Circuit Court Number 3 in Snow Hill, from Sept. 11 to Sept. 14.

Mailloux’ attorney could be expected to make a case that his client was unaware that he had struck Knupp and didn’t stop at the scene for that reason.

Psoras’ demand document probes the state’s theory of the case and asks for evidence that the defendant knew that the accident resulted in serious bodily injury or death.

Psoras’ response to the state’s bill of particulars essentially is that Haskell, the assistant state’s attorney, was not responsive to the defendant’s demand document. Instead it was a “stock response to nearly every demand, providing little or no factual details as requested” by the defendant.

Haskell indicated that more information might emerge during the formal discovery process.

Haskell’s standard response to many questions was that the “demand is not well-grounded and exceeds the scope of a demand for a bill of particulars,” and also said that the State was “declining to offer further information ... including theories of its case of prosecution,” at least until the discovery phase that has not yet begun.

Some of the questions that Haskell declined to answer went to the issue of what Mailloux was aware of at the time of the accident.

As an example, Psoras asks Haskell in one instance to “particularize the conduct and acts of the defendant which demonstrates the defendant had any actual or constructive knowledge that he was in an accident with a person involving bodily injury or death.”

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Change of venue

From Page 5

Similar questions were posed throughout the demand document in the context of each of the counts in the charging document.

Psoras cited a Maryland Court of Appeals decision that suggested that “directing a defendant to look to discovery cannot suffice as a substitute for a legally sufficient bill of particulars.”

He also said that his client had been charged in what’s called a statutory short form “that has an even greater entitlement to a bill of particulars, as its function is to give the defendant notice of the essential facts supporting the crimes alleged at to avoid prejudicial surprise at trial.”

The state had not responded to the defendant’s memorandum on the state’s bill of particulars prior to press time for this edition of the Progress, and it’s not clear whether the state will revise its filing absent a court order to do so.

The skirmishing over the bill of particulars will likely continue at least until the Aug. 18 motion hearing in Snow Hill.

Police chief announces retirement as probe drags on

Investigation of alleged burglary yields no results to date, at least none that have been shared with the OPA

Ocean Pines Police Chief Leo Ehrisman has retired, according to an announcement by General Manager John Viola released on June 6.

“Chief Leo Ehrisman gave notice of his retirement today. We thank him for his years of service to Ocean Pines and wish him well. A search to find his replacement is commencing immediately,” Viola said.

The statement offered no update on the status of a slow-roll investigation that began at the end of January into an alleged burglary at the police department evidence storage shed. Ehrisman was placed on paid administrative leave at the same time the investigation was announced, suggesting that he possessed some relevant infomration.

The investigation has been conducted by the Worcester County Sheriff’s department.

Viola told the Progress that he had nothing to share about the investigation after announcing Eh-

risman’s retirement.

But he confirmed that the former chief, who was promoted to the position of Ocean Pines top cop in August of 2020, would receive all the retirement benefits to which he was entitled as an Ocean Pines police department employee, whose tenure dated back to 1986.

Those benefits include a 401(k) benefit plan, sparse in comparison to a new, more generous benefit package that the Board of Directors approved earlier this year for Ocean Pines police officers in a concerted effort to attract and retain police officers, whose ranks have been depleted because other local police departments had been offering better compensation packages.

Ehrisman apparently won’t benefit at all from this new package, but he hasn’t been in any way financially penalized by the OPA for any events related to his placement of paid administrative leave this past January.

July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 7 OCEAN PINES
8 Ocean Pines PROGRESS July 2023


From Page 7

Viola directed any inquiries to the status of the investigation to State’s Attorney Kris Heiser or Sheriff Matt Crisafulli. No status update was offered by these two officials.

]What is known is a time lag between when the alleged burglary was first discovered -- according to the press release that occurred on Dec. 17 of last year, but by whom was not disclosed -- and when General Manager John Viola first became aware of it. That was Friday, Dec. 31.

Ehrisman was placed on paid administrative leave the following day, after Viola had conversations with Heiser and and Crisafulli.

Ehrisman became police chief in August of 2020 on the retirement of former chief David Massey. He was hired as a patrol officer in 1986 by then Chief of Police Rod Murray.

He was the first person to have risen through the ranks to become Ocean Pines’ top cop. According to an OPA press release at the time of his appointment, Ehrisman’s first job with the OPPD was part-time dispatcher.

Viola releases rough drawings of new Southside firehouse

Cost estimate ranges from $5-7 million, dependent in part on how much can be raised through grants

General Manager John Viola in a report at the June 18 monthly Board of Directors meeting touched briefly on the incremental progress that could lead to a formal proposal to the Board of Directors about a new or mostly new Southside firehouse, perhaps as soon as July or maybe the annual meeting of the association in August.

He said a working group chaired by former Ocean Pines Association Director Ted Moroney is working on plans for the new or substantially new firehouse in close consultation with the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department.

The proposal would include details on how much the OPA might need to assess OPA members for a portion of the cost of the project. That number has been elusive to date. Viola said the size and scope of the building will depend in part on the extent to which the OPA and OPVFD will be able to raise grant funds to help defray the cost.


But Viola said anyone interested in the working group’s planning to date could look at rough drawings of the exterior, front and back, as well as the interior floor plan of the building that he included in the meeting slides for his GM report.

The floor plan showed a one-story building of roughly 14,350 square feet, which he later told the Progress is a possibility at this point but still not definite. It includes all the meeting, training, administrative and equipment rooms contained in a proposed design of a new building presented by the OPVFD several years ago, at a price tag that seemed very high to some observers at the time.

Viola said some of the rooms have been made smaller when compared to that earlier design, but that he believes OPVFD officials are pleased with the latest design as it is shaping up.

The most recent cost estimate for the project ranges from $5 million to $7 million, but that is very preliminary.

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Costs will also be estimated for temporary housing of the OPVFD during construction, and build-out of items typical for a new firehouse.

“All of those things have to be calculated into this, and those are all things we’re working on now,” Moroney said in an email to the Progress.

The site of the new building seems to have been narrowed down to the current Southside location, on the footprint of the existing building but possibly larger. Still to be determined is whether the three existing apparatus bays will be retained in a mostly new building, but Viola said doing so could save significantly on construction costs.

Two additional equipment bays would be added to the building to accommodate growth in the department, something that was the case in the OPVFD’s original design from several years ago.

Delmarva Chorus show set July 15

The Delmarva Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International and directed by Carol Ludwig, will be holding its annual chorus show on Saturday, July 15, at 7 p.m. in the Ocean Pines Community Center.

The theme this year will be the “Roaring Twenties,” in celebration of the group’s 20th anniversary.

The show will feature familiar tunes from the era, homemade desserts, door prizes, and a 50/50 raffle.

Tickets are $10.

For more information, call Jeanette at 410-726-3279.

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Board revises M-06 to allow outsourcing of OPA elections

Parks, Jacobs agree that more changes are likely to governing documents

Having agreed last month

to hire a Washington-state based company as the Ocean Pines Association’s new elections voting contractor, the Board of Directors on June 17 formally approved changes to Resolution M-06, Elections and Referendums, to bring that governing document in line with its new elections procedures.

Director Rick Farr offered a motion to approve the amended resolution on second reading.

The motion carried unanimously, but several directors said they were voting in favor simply to move the process forward in time for this summer’s election.

They noted that more changes to the resolution will be needed in the future as the Board continues to refine the elections process.

While the revised resolution reaffirms that the counting of ballots remains as the responsibility of the

Elections Committee, new language clarifies that it can be done “either by the Committee itself, or the Committee may delegate this responsibility to an independent contractor hired …” to do the job.

Another updated section of the resolution addresses the remote ballot counting operation.

The revision states that “association members may witness the ballot counting process remotely but will not be privy to vote totals during the counting process nor engage in any way with the ballot counting process, Elections Committee, consultants, or Association staff.”

That means when the ballots are counted by the OPA’s new elections vendor, Election Trust of Bainbridge Island, Washington state, there will be no audio streaming of the event, only video.

A similar “video-only” policy has been effect in previous years when the Elections Committee handled the ballot counting.

The revised resolution says the ballot counting will be conducted in a room of sufficient size to accommodate the process and remote viewing of the process for association members who want to observe the count.

It specifies that the room “shall be properly equipped to allow clear remote viewing for association members wishing to observe the count. The Committee may request the assistance of a computer consultant and designated association staff.”

Director Steve Jacobs said he would vote for the motion because the changes to the resolution were vetted by both the Bylaws and Resolutions Advisory Committee and the OPA’s legal counsel.

However, he pointed out that language in the resolution doesn’t agree with the association’s bylaws, particularly regarding timing for certain election activities.

That will need to be addressed in a future amendment to the resolution, he said.

Jacobs said he wasn’t finding fault with the work of the Elections Committee, which spent hours revamping the process for the 2023 election.

“This Elections Committee had a lot on its plate,” he said, adding that he didn’t always agree with its decisions but “wouldn’t quarrel with the effort.”

The current priority is ensuring that the proper procedures are in place for the election coming up this summer, Jacobs said.

However, he added, that it is incumbent on the Elections Committee, Bylaws and Resolutions Advisory Committee, and the Board to work together to align M-06 and with the by-laws in the future.

“This situation where we are faced with trying to get this done with the election coming up in two months should not reoccur next year,” Jacobs said.

A similar 11th hour amendment process occurred last year to accommodate electronic voting, which the Board has suspended for this summer’s election.

He said the discrepancies between the documents in the dates for accomplishing tasks reflect his view that the Board is rushing the process this year.

OPA President Doug Parks agreed in part.

“This isn’t the end,” he said.

After conducting the upcoming election, he said the OPA and the committees will have more data to evaluate, adjust the process, and integrate online voting again in the future.

“I would fully expect homework,” he said, adding “I suspect this will not be the final change to M-06.”

Last month the Board approved a contract with the Washington State firm of Election Trust as a single point of contact to conduct and perform all printing, mailing, receipt and counting of all votes for the upcoming election.

The Board had previously approved the Election Committee’s recommendation that the 2023 election will be conducted with paper ballots only.

As an option for future elections, Election Trust can provide a hybrid balloting platform of vote-by-mail and online voting. The firm can tabulate, scan, audit and archive ballots using a federally certified system.

The option of a hybrid ballot platform as well as a live observation via Zoom, counting and report of all the ballots is included in its services.

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New B-08 resolution on ethics, conflicts of interest introduced

Draft includes no enforcement mechanism

Astreamlined Resolution B-08 to provide guidance for the Ocean Pines Association’s governing body on ethics and appropriate conduct was introduced for a first reading by the Board of Directors during the Board’s June 17 monthly meeting.

Director Colette Horn offered a motion to approve a new Resolution B-08, Director Ethics and Conduct, to make it a policy statement on the principles of ethics and conduct to guide directors in the carrying out of their roles on the Board.

No director offered any criticism of the draft, which suggests it could be easily approved on second reading by the Board as early as the July meeting.

As background, Horn said this revision came about as a result of discussions in recent Board meetings regarding issues of confidentiality and conflicts of interest that are not appropriately addressed in other governing documents.

When the previous version of B-02 was “laid to rest” by the Board, Horn said that was due to issues with enforceability of the resolution.

“This does away with all that” and simply outlines expectations of Board members as guidance rather than enforceable actions, she said.

The earlier version of the resolution that was repealed on a motion by former Director Frank Daly roiled the Board almost since its inception, with some directors using it as a cudgel against directors who did not be-

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New B-08 resolution

From Page 14

half in accord with some of its provisions.

Attempts to remove certain directors were launched, unsuccessfully. Even so, its provision kept previous Boards in a state of internal conflict.

The new resolution states that Board members should place the interests of the association above those of individual association members when conducting OPA business.

They should “always act within the authority given to them by association members, the governing documents of the Ocean Pines Association and the State of Maryland when conducting association business.”

Regarding confidential information, the proposed resolution says directors are responsible for protecting the personal information of about fellow directors or their family members that has been identified by the source as confidential; personal information of association employees; and results of disciplinary actions involving association employees.

It states that information or opinions concerning legal disputes in which the association is or may be involved must be kept confidential unless receiving the prior written approval of association legal counsel.

The draft resolution also states that any and all information received during closed meetings that are permissible under the Maryland Homeowners Association Act, or discussed via hard copy, email or other electronic means before or after the meeting, are also considered confidential.

Other information obtained in hard-copy, electronic, or email form that may be designated by the source as confidential would also fall under the new resolution.

The resolution directs Board members to “take reasonable steps to ensure that confidential information and/or documents contained in emails or obtained in hard copy shall remain inaccessible to discovery or disclosure.”

That will apply during and following the end of a Board term “unless such disclosure or discovery is authorized by legal counsel as part of legal action in which the information is designated as party of the discovery process.”

This includes the confidentiality

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New B-08 resolution

From Page 16

of Board email passwords and access to director email accounts and contents and any hard-copy materials covered by the resolution that are stored in the director’s home, office or other location outside of the association offices.

Under the provisions of the reso lution, a director may give advice to the OPA general manager when re quested, but clarifies that directions and assignments to the general

manager will come from the Board. Those will be based on decisions made by Board vote or explicitly designated consensus agreement.

“In order to ensure efficient management of operations; to avoid conflicting instructions from the Board to management; and to avoid potential legal liability, no director shall give specific direction to management, employees, or suppliers unless authorized or delegated by the Board of Directors or unless consistent with the duties of the Director’s role if they are also serving as an

officer,” the draft indicates.

Any employee who contacts an individual director for the purpose of conveying a complaint will be instructed to bring the matter to the attention of the general manager or the association’s designated human resources officer, according to the draft.

It is not certain when the draft will be brought to the Board for a second reading and adoption, but it could happen as early as the July Board meeting.

That is the last meeting of the




6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily


Board’s current term, and would be Horn’s last monthly meeting as a director.

The Board also held a first reading of changes to Resolution C-14, Racquet Sports Advisory Committee, to revise language pertaining to the function of the committee and the membership of the committee.

The revision was suggested by the Racquet Sports Advisory Committee based on its review of the function and membership of the committee.

Horn, who introduced the resolution, said it is the goal of the committee to reflect a function that supports the new racquet sports professional serving as manager of the racquet facility in his operations role and to remove itself from operations matters.

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Veggie Omelet …................................... $7.50

(green peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, celery)

Western Omelet …................................ $8.00

(ham, cheddar, green pepper, red onions)

Quiche ................................................... $4.00


Bagel with Butter ...….......................... $2.50

Bagel with Cream Cheese ….............. $3.95

Bagel with Cream Cheese and Jelly ..... $4.25

Bagel with Peanut Butter and Jelly ..... $5.25

Cinnamon Crunch Bagel

With Butter $3 With Cream Cheese $4.45

Bagel with Nova Cream Cheese ......…... $6.95

Bagel with Sliced Nova or Lox Salmon … $10.95


Homemade Soup Small ........................ $3.25

Chicken Pot Pie ...................................… $5.49

Pizza Bagel ~ Plain $5.75 - Pepperoni $6.50

Bagel Dog ............................................. $5.25



Served on Bagel, Roll, Sliced Bread, Croissant or a Wrap Includes a Side of Macaroni Salad

Ham …………............................….……. $9.45

Turkey ………...................................….. $9.45

Roast Beef …..................................…… $10.45

Cappicola …….................................….. $9.45

Genoa Salami …................................… $9.45

Italian Combo …...........................…… $10.45

(Roast Beef, Cappicola, Salami and Provolone)

Roast Beef & Turkey Combo ..............….. $10.45

Liverwurst …...............................……… $7.95

Bologna ................................................. $7.95

Chicken Salad ........................................ $9.95

Egg Salad ….............................………… $8.95

Tuna Salad ………..........................…... $10.25

Whitefish Salad ….................………… $10.25

Grilled Cheese ……........................……. $7.25

Add to any sandwich Cheese $1 • Avacado $.50


Scone (blueberry, cranberry or raisin) ..$3.55

Lemon/Pecan Bar …….....................…… $2.55

Muffin …….........................……………. $3.55

Brownie ….................................……….. $2.55

Crumb Cake ............................................$3.55

Turnover ………..........................……… $3.55

Croissant Pastry/Danish ……….............. $3.55

Cinnamon Bun ..........................…. $3.55

Éclair ………..................................... $3.95

Big PB Cup/Chocolate Chip Cookie ...... $2.50

Banana Bread ....................................... $3.25

Black and White Cookie (seasonal) ............ $3.65

Mrs. Peggy’s Sugar Cookies Small $2 Large $3

Two-pack Cookies ......................... $2.35

Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, Double Chocolate, Sugar, M&M

Cheesecake ~ Small $2 Large $3.50

Plain, Cherry, Blueberry

Linzer Tart ~ Small $2 Large $2.50

Irish Soda Bread .. Slice $2.00 Loaf $6.50

Dog Biscuits .................................. $2.50


Plain • Cinnamon Raisin • Sesame

Onion • French Toast • Garlic

Honey Wheat • Asiago •

Everything Everything Wheat • Rye

Marble • Egg • Pumpernickel

Poppy • Berry

Sundried Tomato • Cinnamon Crunch

1 Flagel (weekends only) .............. $1.40

Bagel ………..............................…. $1.40

Half Dozen Bagels …..........……… $8.00

Dozen Bagels …............….......… $14.50

Cinnamon Crunch Bagel ….....….. $1.90

N.Y. Kaiser Roll ……............….. 75 cents

Portuguese Roll ……........…….. 75 cents

Knot Roll ................................... 75 cents


Plain • Light • Veggie • Light Veggie

Walnut Raisin • Almond • Scallion

Scallion & Tomato • Chive • Olive

Spinach & Cheese • Nova Spread

Seasonal: Crab, Pumpkin, Strawberry

Plain Cream Cheese 1 lb. …......… $6.40

Flavored Cream Cheese 1 lb. ...... $7.90

Nova Cream Cheese 1 lb …………$10.90

All prices subject to change

11304 Manklin Creek Road, South Gate Ocean Pines (Manklin Creek Road & Ocean Parkway)

She said the committee wants to “work as a team supporting the best interests of the racquet center from the point of view of individuals committed to the center as reflected in their ownership of membership in one or more of the sports and their commitment to the racquet center’s success without regard to their membership in any individual sport.”

She said historically the committee stepped in and offered recommendations and interfaced directly with staff.

That operations environment changed when the OPA hired a racquet sports professional and the committee no longer needs to fulfill that role, she said.

The resolution will change the committee’s role from that of monitoring operations to one of advising the Board on any specific problems or concerns related to the condition, care, and maintenance of the racquet sports facilities.

Under the new resolution, advocacy for a specific’s sport’s interests and needs will come to the committee from representatives from the boards of the three sports, tennis, platform tennis and pickleball.

The committee, in turn, will advocate for recommendations to the OPA Board of Directors that support the success of the racquet center as a whole.

The revised resolution specifies that the committee should have no fewer than three members nor more than nine.

At all times, the members of the committee appointed by the Board of Directors should represent an equal balance from the three primary racquet sports of tennis, platform tennis, and pickleball.

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Accessible kayak launch coming to Pintail Park

New amenity to be available for use by the end of the year

By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer

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recreational pier and handicap accessible kayak launch in Pintail Park will be available for Ocean Pines residents to enjoy later this year. At its June 17 monthly meeting, the Board of Directors approved two contracts for the project at a combined cost of more than $80,000 to replace an existing pier and install a kayak launch gangway and floating pier.way and floating dock will be built on the southern portion of the park property. The Board awarded a contract to Gator Dock Marine Inc. for $61,160.49 for that project.

Carrie Dupuie, AAMS

Financial Advisor

Viola said the gangway and lower storage area for kayaks will make the use of kayaks in the community accessible to everyone.


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06/07/2018 (Name of Muni Bond) Price: (00.00) Coupon: (00/00/00) Maturity Date: (00/00/00) Callable Date: (00/00/00 or N/A) Call Price: (000) Rating: (XXX/XXX) Other: (Obligor) ©2015 Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., memb FINRA/SIPC 15-MFI-0113 ICD BS 8/15 (Financial Advisor Name) (Approved Title) (000-000-0000) (Toll-Free: 800-000-0000)

Following removal of a crabbing pier from the Whitetail Sanctuary section of Ocean Pines several years ago, the OPA began searching for a location for a new pier. The OPA reviewed other possible locations at the Wood Duck Isle Grand Canal, Swim and Racquet Club marina, and White Horse Boat Ramp.

The Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee and OPA staff concluded that because of availability of parking, portable bathrooms and handicap access, Pintail Park was the better location.

The existing Pintail Park pier is decades old and replacement will be funded from the replacement reserves, Viola said. A contract was awarded to Gator Dock Marine Inc. in the amount of $19,429.80 for the replacement of the small structure on the north end of the park that was removed during the 2022-23 bulkhead replacement program.

is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold the security and may be subject to review, suspension, reduction or withdrawal at any time by the assigning Rating Agency. Insurance pertains only to the timely payment of principal and interrepresentation is made as to any insurer’s ability to meet its financial commitments. Ratings and insurance do not remove market risk since they do guarantee the market value of the bond.

The new handicapped accessible kayak launch gang-

The Board also approved the purchase of an Alamo Timbercat sickle limb cutter at a cost of $21,783.31 from Atlantic Tractor LLC. Viola said this is a replacement piece of equipment that will help increase operational efficiencies for public works staff.

Finally, the Board approved the purchase of three John Deere Gators, a small truck-like vehicle with a flatbed, at a cost of $30,449.47 from Atlantic Tractor LLC. Viola said the purchase was budgeted and will come from the replacement reserve.

Meanwhile, Viola said staff is already developing some proposed fiscal year 2024-25 capital initiatives, including improvements to Bainbridge Park, boat ramp tolls, the new South Side fire station, a pavilion for the Veterans Memorial park, and golf course irrigation.

He called the Bainbridge Park project “a big initiative” but said the OPA will seek grants to help cover the cost of the project. He has formed a work group to investigate bringing the park into compliance with

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Kayak launch

From Page 20

the Americans with Disabilities Act. The group is looking at replacing the playground and making it ADA accessible. Viola said he has discussed the project with two companies, including Gametime, which presented plans to ce3an the Recreation and Parks Committee last year.

Viola said he is reviewing the potential for charging fees for use of the Ocean Pines boat ramps and is gathering information about fees charged elsewhere in the area for use of boat ramps. So far, he has learned that all Worcester and Wicomico County boat launches are free for use.

He mentioned the possibility of fee collection booths at OPA boat ramps. It is generally acknowledged that the fees will be imposed on those who don’t live or own property in Ocean Pines.

On Assateague there is a $10 for in-state charge and $12 for out-of-state residents. Ocean City does not charge a fee for use of its 64th Street boat ramp, but required a $50 annual pass for use of the Caribbean Drive boat ramp. The Indian River Marina in Delaware doesn’t charge a fee if your

To Page 24

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Yacht Club marina adds new electric pedestals

Verizon confirms OPA cell service needs an upgrade, Viola reports

The new gas dock at the Yacht Club marina is now open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. The project was completed on time prior to Memorial Day and all five gas pumps are in operation, General Manager John Viola said during the June 17 Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors meeting.

Viola said all pumps and gas lines are in compliance with the new Maryland code related to fuel and comply with new electrical codes.

New pedestals have been added to each boat slip on the new dock in compliance with the new electrical codes as well. Installation was done following standards of the American Boat and Yacht Council and the International Brotherhood of Elec-

trical Workers/National Electrical Contractors Association.

Overall, aluminum docks are said to be safe as they are “bonded,” which is the same as being “grounded,” he said. If lightning strikes, the charge will go to a grounding rod rather than any person or equipment, including the gas lines.

“You get a product that will last way longer and is more efficient than the wooden docks,” Viola said. State of Maryland officials were onsite since the beginning of the project, working with installers and guiding OPA through the process. The state has certified the entire gas system, including plumbing and electrical, and the contractor also did an inspection. Other safety measures include new piping that meets new federal safety standards. The wiring is also explosive proof,

so if there were leaks or fumes from gas pumps, they would not ignite.

Viola said many marinas have aluminum docks because they require less maintenance, have a long life, and are cooler to the touch and more environmentally friendly. No paint or other chemicals go into the bay while power washing.

A new line of merchandise has been added to the marina include fishing gear, bait, snacks, soda, ice cream, shirts, and hats, Viola said, inviting boaters to check out the inventory.

Cellular service

Following a challenge by former OPA director Tom Janasek during the Public Comments section of a Board meeting earlier this year, the OPA renewed its discussions with Verizon about enhancing cellular

connectivity in the community.

“We have reached out to Verizon. They’ve confirmed there is an issue with poor reception,” Viola said, adding Verizon blames the problem on trees and branches. Viola said he believes it is more likely growth in population, particularly during the summer.

He said the OPA should start getting regular updates from Verizon on their efforts to improve cell service in the community.

An Ocean Pines workgroup will continue to work with Verizon.

“They do have upgrades planned [and] they believe that will help,” Viola said. “Hopefully, I will have some good information over the next couple of months.”

Maintenance projects

Viola said the OPA has outsourced many maintenance projects because it simply doesn’t have the staff necessary to handle them all. Among the work being outsourced to private contractors is painting. The restrooms and the Golf Clubhouse as well as the bar and restrooms at the Yacht Club have been painted.

At Bridgewater Park the playground equipment have been upgraded with the addition of a baby swing and keeping regular swings for children. A the Manklin Meadows playground, the entrance has been upgraded to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabil-

To Page 26

Boat ramp fees

From Page 22

boat is registered in Delaware. The Town of Snow Hill doesn’t charge a fee for use of the boat ramp but will charge a parking fee if parked overnight.

Viola said plans for the new south fire station are proceeding and will likely be presented to the Board in August. He said the work group is continuing to pursue grants to help cover the cost of the project.

Similarly, he said staff is working with the Racquet Sports Advisory Committee to determine what is needed and viable for a racquet sports building. That may be a renovation or new building, and options include a one- or two-story building.

The OPA is also considering building a pavilion for Veteran’s Memorial Park on the Sports Core and is proceeding with a golf course irrigation project that the Board conceptually approved earlier this year.

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From Page 24

ities Act to shorten the distance to the opening of the playground. Crews are performing trails maintenance with areas being cleared, trees trimmed, and trails mulched. Signs for the parks were ordered in May and will be installed upon arrival, Viola said.

The new trim for the North Gate Bridge has finally arrived and will

be installed by crews. Other North Gate projects include installation of two fountains. The OPA is waiting on parts for the old North Gate foundation on the south side of the bridge before installing it for the season. A new fountain is being ordered and will be installed on the north side of the bridge.

Capital projects

Viola supplied an overview of capital projects in consideration for

the next fiscal-year budget. He said those include playground upgrades at Bainbridge Park, a toll area for the boat launches, a new irrigation system at the Golf Club, a new Racquet Center building, a pavilion at the Veterans Memorial, and a new Southside fire station.

Viola said each project would be reviewed by the Budget and Finance Committee, and each would be vetted through benchmarks.

Specifically on Bainbridge Park,


Viola said he formed a work group to study replacing the existing structure with a new ADA compliant one. He said a survey on the playground was released on June 15, and preplanning discussions occurred with two vendors. He added the Association is exploring grants to help at least partially fund the project.

Golf course

Viola said business is booming at the golf course, and the based sales numbers are up over 2022. “The course is in excellent top shape. The place is packed,” he said.

The Raven’s Roost Golf Tournament was held June 2, with 128 players, an increase from 99 in 2022 and the 2023 Men’s Club Championship was scheduled to be held June 24 and 25.

He said golf maintenance crews are verticutting the fairways and greens as part of thatch management program, and using moisture meters to daily monitor greens, fees and fairways so can irrigate accordingly. He reiterated a need for irrigation system improvements, saying the OPA has a multi-million-dollar course and needs proper irrigation to maintain it.

Viola said business at the course and the pro shop continue to be robust, and he credited Golf Director Bob Beckleman with the strong financial showing.

“Since Bob’s been here, every month has been a big increase from the prior year – all record breaking,” he said.

Viola also praised Golf Superintendent Justin Hartshorne and his staff for keeping the course well maintained.

Racquet center events

Linda Martin, OPA senior executive office manager, said an Open House held on May 27 at the Racquet Center was an overwhelming success. Ten facility tours were given for new people, with 60 people attending overall, including 30 new pickleball participants, 15 new tennis participants, and 15 new spec tennis participants.

A Davis Cup, member plus one, tennis event was held on June 10. Teams were divided by country and choose their players.

A “Pickle Bowl,” one-day in house pickleball tournament with up to 50 players, was scheduled to be held June 23.

Tim Johnson, racquet sports

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Racquet sports

From Page 26

manager, is hosting platform tennis clinics on Saturdays in June at 9:30 a.m.

Summer events

Martin said 600 fifth grade students attended field trips at the Worcester County Veterans Memorial at Ocean Pines. The students received books and information from the members of the Veterans Memorial, who also organized a Memorial Day event in May.

The Recreation and Parks Department is gearing up for summer camp, with counselors to arrive June 12 and campers on June 19.

Concerts in the Park will be held this summer in White Horse Park. The first concert is June 22 with “Uptown Band” starting at 7 p.m. Family Fun Nights will be held again this year at the Yacht Club beginning June 21 at 6 p.m.

Jolly Rogers amusement park tickets are now on sale at the Recreation and Parks Department for the waterpark, Speed World, daytime rides, and nighttime rides.

OPA says it’s making election documents available

Sherrie Clifford hopes to conduct her review on June 28


After months of delay, it finally appears that the Ocean Pines Association will be accommodating the request of the founder of the Residents Oversight Community (ROC) Facebook page for access to various documents related to the 2022 Board of Directors election.

OPA Director Rick Farr said he recently concluded the whole process of accommodating Sherrie Clifford was taking too long.

So he asked to have newly appointed general counsel Bruce Bright take over from former counsel Jeremy Tucker.

That tranfer of responsibility happened, according to OPA General Manager John Viola. Four possible dates were set aside for the review.

The first proposed date was June 23, and then on Monday, Wednesday or Friday of the following week.

In a June 25 text to the Progress, Clifford said she had heard from her attorney about the OPA’s offer of four possible dates.

She said she hopes to be able to review the docu-

ments on Wednesday, June 28.

Farr said it is his understanding that the Board of Directors will have a representative in attendance during the review, in addition to someone from the OPA administration.

He said that no photography will be allowed in the room, and that Clifford will need to review the documents by herself, as she was the applicant, is a property owner, and access was granted to her alone.

Then there’s the matter of cost, which Farr said he believes should include both the administrative and legal expense involved in handling the request from Clifford. He said he believed an invoice would be presented to Clifford after the review is concluded.

Farr said he had “no clue” about how much Tucker and now Bright’s legal expenses would add to the invoice amount.

Clifford in her June 23 remarks said that she never should have had to hire an attorney to get a response to her document request. The attorney has been on the job since February on Clifford’s behalf.

Her initial request for documents came last year.

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Amy Peck appointed to Parks and Recreation Committee

Despite reservations by at least one member, the Board of Directors on June 17 appointed Amy Peck to a first term on the Ocean Pines Association’s Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee. Peck, a former OPA director, is often outspoken regarding Board actions and frequently speaks during the Public Comments segment of Board meetings, usually critical of Board decisions.

Earlier this year, an offer to work for the OPA Aquatics Department this summer was rescinded via the OPA’s Human Resources Department, for reasons that were never publicly disclosed.

Bill Barnard, the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee chairman, endorsed Peck’s membership on the panel.

“Amy will make a great addition to the committee,” he said on her application.

OPA President Doug Parks, on the other hand, wrote in under the second endorsement section on the application form.

“I have concerns about this individual,” he said, referring to Peck. As a result, he said he could not vote to support her appointment to an advisory

committee, and he subsequently abstained from voting on the appointment.

The vote approving Peck’s appointment was 6-0, with Parks’s abstention.

Director Colette Horn supported Peck’s appointment. She said Peck has been a resident of Ocean Pines for many years, has raised her children in the recreation and parks programs, and frequently volunteers at recreation and parks activities.

“She’s really invested a lot of herself” in supporting the programs, she said.

Director Steve Jacobs also supported Peck’s appointment. “We highly value our volunteers,” he said, adding “I am aware that Ms. Peck has raised issued that angered some people.” But, he said, none of that has anything to do with recreation and parks.

Jacobs said it would set a very bad precedent to “acid test” all applications for appointments to committees based on whether the person has perceived conflicts with certain directors.

Peck and another applicant up for review at the June 17 meeting.

The other applicant appointed by the Board to the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee was Laura Scharle, who is serving a second term. Other appointments made unanimously by the Board were Michael Reynolds for a fist term to the Marine Activities Committee and Debbie Bennington for a first term to the Communications Committee.

Financial policy manual updated

The Board of Directors voted unanimously on June 17 to adopt an updated Financial Policy Manual.

OPA President Doug Parks made the motion to approve the document, which was updated to address the dated information in the existing policy manual and provide the policies that govern aspects of the financial operation of the association.

As background, Parks said the Financial Policy Manual was last updated in 2006. He said many things have changed since that time and the manual was overdue for an update.

the Board were Michael Reynolds for a first term

He said the OPA gives its members the opportunity to invest their time in interests that support and benefit Ocean Pines and the Board should encourage everyone to do so.

Jacobs pointed out that are sufficient vacancies on the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee to accommodate the appointment of both

The manual was referred to the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee for its review and comment. The manual was also reviewed by the general manager, the staff finance team and the will be kept anonymous and confidential.

July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 31 OCEAN PINES thru Oct. 27 10-27-23

No new racquet building needed, OPA member says

The Racquet Center building

at the Ocean Pines Association’s Manklin Meadows complex doesn’t need to be replaced, one property owner told the Board of Directors during the Public Comments segment of the Board’s June 17 monthly meeting.

Dave Tanner said the existing building is sound and in good shape. He said the OPA does not need to spend millions of dollars to replace it, especially with a two-story version that would be costly and function poorly.

Instead, he said minor changes can be made to the existing building to improve its functionality, including increased storage space.

Tanner said the existing building is already “looking a lot better” since some repairs have been made and the building was painted.

He said there is good leadership at the center now that is addressing issues at the facility that have been neglected for a long time.

He reminded the Board that Worcester County has said the OPA can’t expand the footprint of any facility or amenity in Manklin Meadows.

He said they may be able to “get a few more feet,” but not enough to create a major events facility at that location.

As for creating a two-story building, Tanner said that will not work either.

By the time the OPA adds stairs and an elevator to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, it’s not going to gain any usable space and may actually lose square footage, he said.

He also wondered what would be the purpose of a second floor. The only reason he has heard so far is that people could watch play from the second floor.

“It’s an outdoor sport and it’s a participation sport,” he said, adding that racquet sports are not something people come to watch from a second story building. They want to be by the courts, not up-


stairs in a building, he said.

Tanner said there is no justification for spending more than a $1 million for a new building.

“Right now what we do works well,” he said, adding that events are held outside by the courts creating a social atmosphere. “It builds a lot of spirit,” he said.

Tanner said he has been playing pickleball and platform tennis for 14 years and generally all he’s used the building for is the restrooms. He said there are not many functions in the building.

He said he is not opposed to spending money on improvements, but encouraged the OPA to make them where they will be used. For example, he said there is a gravel area by the courts where players wait their turn to use the courts.

He said it would be nice to have a deck there instead of just gravel.

General Manager John Viola agreed with Tanner’s assessment of the limits of adding a second story to the racquet building and said it would take aware square footage on

the bottom floor to accommodate access upstairs.

He also agreed that the rough gravel area could benefit from improvements.

But that may be limited by drainage and permeability requirements imposed by the county, he said.

Also during the Public Comments segment of the meeting, OPA member Ann Williamson asked how she is supposed to dispose of yard waste under the OPA’s new sticker procedure for use of the Public Works yard when she is a part-time resident with limited time.

She said she bought one tag for her car but needs a second for a truck that will be used to haul leaves too. But the OPA won’t give her a second tag.

The truck, she said, is what she really needs to use when she has a big accumulation of yard waste to take to Public Works.

Williamson said as a part-time resident she generally comes to Ocean Pines during warm weather for four or five days at a time.

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It’s been a perennial problem dealing with yard waste, piling it up and finding places to store it until she can dispose of it.

Normally, she said, she has several truckloads in a day to dispose of at the waste yard.

She asked if she will be able to get appointments to drop off at the Public Works yard several times during a day.

General Manager John Viola told Williamson to contact him and he will help her find a solution.

Next, Williamson asked about a new crabbing per for south Ocean Pines.

She said the crabbing pier in Whitetail Sanctuary was removed and never replaced, leaving south Ocean Pines with no amenities.

She encouraged the Board to consider replacing the pier somewhere easily accessible to residents who live in the south part of the community.

Viola responded that a new recreational and kayak pier is being constructed in Pintail Park.

Hopefully, he said that will address some of the need in the community.

As for a new amenity in south Ocean Pines, he said it is not easy to find a location and get the necessary permits.

Additionally, not everyone wants an amenity like a pier near their homes. “It’s not like 50 years ago, now everything is developed,” he said.

Finally, Williamson said the OPA needs to do something about people parking cars along the roadways, especially when they have plenty of room to park in their driveways.

She wants the OPA to “get people to keep their cars off those sections that are at the edge of the road. It’s pretty unsightly and it’s not really safe,” she said.

Third Board seat to be filled in this summer’s election

Daly follows through with resignation in time to allow the newly created vacancy to appear on the the ballot

Four Ocean Pines Association members have filed as candidates in this summer’s Board of Directors elections, with three of them guaranteed to fill one of three seats to be contested.

A third vacancy was created in mid-June by the formal resignation from the Board of Frank Daly, who would have been serving the final year of a year-three beginning this August.

The OPA by-laws spell out options for dealing with vacancies that occur, and the Board opted for the one that allows OPA members to fill the vacancy in this summer’ balloting.

Before Daly’s resignation, only two vacancies would have been filled in this summer’s balloting, from among the four candidates.

In accord with the OPA by-laws, the top two finishers in the election will serve three-year terms beginning this August, while the third place finisher will serve out the final year of Daly’s term that runs from August, 2023, to August of 2024.

The four candidates running for the Board are Elaine Brady, John Latham, Jeff Heavner and Jerry Murphy. Profiles of the four candidates appeared in previous editions of the Progress, which are archived at issuu.com/ oceanpinesprogress.

All four candidates responded to a Progress question-answer survey that begins on Page 35, along with questions formulated earlier by the Election Committee.

To Page 34


July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 33
John Latham Jerry Murphy Elaine Brady Jeff Heavner

Board election

From Page 33

In addition, the candidates responded to even more questions posed by the Elections Committee in a candidates forum June 19. A video of the forum is available for viewing by a link provided on the OPA Website.

The Progress will be publishing a special edition the week of June 26 covering the forum. It will be distributed electronically via local social media. It also will be available at issuu.com/oceanpinesprogress.

In a June 2 meeting of the Elections Committee, chairman Tom Piatti confirmed that ballots will be mailed by the OPA’s new elections vendor in Washington State on July 11, and must be mailed back no later than Tuesday, Aug. 8, one day earlier than what would normally occur.

“We’re going to give a day to see if any ballots are dropped off Tuesday” at the dropbox at the police department, in which case these late ballots will be sent by FedX to Washington state for counting, he said.

He noted that Board Resolution M-06 says that the deadline for returning Ballot envelopes for the election of directors “shall be prior to” the end of Association regular business hours on the Wednesday before the annual meeting of the members in August.

That language does not preclude the committee from moving up the deadline one day earlier than the traditional Wednesday, he said, because the deadline is still “prior to” the end of regular business hours on Wednesday.

M-06 also references the same deadline for electronic ballots, which the Board earlier this year decided to forgo in favor of paper-only ballots to be sent to each lot of record whose owners are in good standing.

That decision will allow the new vendor, Election Trust, of Bainbridge Island,Washington State, the opportunity to conduct what Elections Committee members hope will be a flawless, controversy-free election.

That in turn will likely lead to a formal recommendation by the Committee to resume a hybrid paper and electronic voting process next year.

During the June 2 committee meeting, Piatti said that of the 8500 or so eligible lots in Ocean Pines, about 7800 are in good standing with paid up annual lot assessments and no established violations on record with the OPA’s Department of Compliance, Permits and Inspections.

Each of these lots will receive ballots, a departure of practice of recent years in which owners of multiple lots did not receive one ballot per lot.

Last year, such owners were told they had to request additional ballots from the OPA administration offices if they wanted to cast ballots for each lot owned, but it was an instruction that was not well communicated and thus some owners of multiple lots were to some extent disenfranchised.

The former Elections Committee tried to encourage mutiple lot owners to cast ballots electronically, but the message either was not received or many of these voters preferred to cast paper ballots in the usual manner.

Another change this year is that every OPA member with a valid email address on file with the OPA will receive a confirmation email from Election Trust that a ballot has been received and counted in the election.

This is the first time that such a confirmation has occurred in the history

of Ocean Pines elections.

Piatti advised that property owners who want to receive such notification should make sure that a valid email address is on file with the OPA.

“A lot of people haven’t updated their Mediacom addresses to Comcast,” he said, urging members to check to make sure their addresses are up to date.

A spread sheet file containing the names and email addresses of OPA members will be forwarded to Election Trust and in turn will be used to generate the confirmation emails to members, Piatti said.

Those without email addresses on file with the OPA won’t receive confirmation.

Committee members will be available throughout the election season to answer questions from OPA members by phone. The dedicated number is 410-208-3989. Calls will be checked twice a day and returned, Piatti said.

Also during the June 2 meeting, the Board’s liaison to the Elections Committee, Rick Farr, complimented the committee for a job well done in working through issues related to this summer’s election, including the momentous decision to replace a local vendor who has handled the mailing and collection of ballots in OPA elections for more than 20 years with a vendor that can handle the sending out, collection and counting of ballots with no direct involvement of committee members in the counting process.

This year, the vote count will be monitored on-line by committee members and any OPA members who wants to view the process, which is expected to take much less than time than it has in past years.

The deadline for ballots to arrive in the offices of Election Trust is Wednesday, Aug. 9 by 4 p.m.

Ballots will be counted on Thursday, Aug. 10, in Washington state, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, with results announced that day.

Election results will be certified at the annual meeting of the OPA on Saturday, Aug. 12, if a quorum of at least 100 OPA members is present.

If no quorum is present, results will be certified by the old Board of Directors at the earlier opportunity in a special meeting called for that purpose.

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Candidates comment on currents events

The four candidates for the three vacancies on the Board of Directors recently were given questions by the Ocean Pines Progress and the Elections Committee on current events in Ocean Pines. The candidates are Elaine Brady, Jeff Heavner, John Latham and Jerry Murphy. Responses appear below.

The Elections Committee and the Board of Directors have opted for paper only ballots in this year’s Board election, with on-line voting likely to return next year if all goes well with the new Washington State vendor handling this year’s election process. Do you support this timeline and hybrid voting - paper and online - in general?

ELAINE BRADY - In full disclosure, I was a member of the Elections Committee through the task of reviewing the 2022 election. I resigned after the task was completed in order to run for the Board.

The decision to do mail only voting for our upcoming election was made during the 2022 election review process by the Election Committee in order to restore confidence in our election process. I supported that decision, along with the decision to find a new online voting vendor which could satisfy the requirements of providing one ballot for each lot, along with the capability of providing a paper ballot for online votes if needed for a recount.

JEFFREY HEAVNER - Our democracy and freedom come with costs and responsibilities. One of the highest costs is projecting security through a strong military. Ours is simply the best and I thank our neighbors and their families who served for your sacrifice!

One of the most important responsibilities is voting for the representatives that govern.

It is in the best interest of the Association to enable a large voter turnout. Ocean Pines has diverse property owners that can bring varying perspectives that can lead to better decision making. Making it easier to vote can improve voter turnout. I support hybrid voting.

JOHN LATHAM - I am glad the Board of Directors decided to do paper only this year to make sure we are comfortable with our new sup-

plier partner. I really like the fact that we can get an email confirmation once our ballot is counted. We have never had that option in the past as far as I know.

I will support a hybrid voting option next year if we feel comfortable that we have the right tool. Electronic voting is certainly something that isn’t new to most. It would probably save OPA money in the future as well. Regarding timing, I believe the Election Committee has thought through the process and will have options for owners to drop off their ballot at Police/Admin building and they will be sent via Federal Express. It will still be incumbent on the owners to get their ballot in on time. As in years past, I am sure some will be late and go uncounted.

JERRY MURPHY - Yes, assuming the voting process we are using for this years election goes well, and without the controversy we have seen in past elections. I would support both paper and on line voting for the next election. The Election Committee puts much time and thought in their decisions. Therefore, I believe hybrid voting would be the next logical step for our voting process.

Certain current and former Board members were critical of the manner in which the Elections Committee made decisions with respect to outsourcing this summer’s election. In your view did the Elections Committee handle its responsibilities competently, or do you agree with some or all of the criticism?

JEFFREY HEAVNER - First, Ocean Pines advisory committees do not make decisions, the Board does. Our talented committees have been formed to provide the Board with sound advice based upon the members’ abilities and their research and analysis.

Second, I would not publicly criticize a decision of the Board. While Board members may have differing perspectives, the collective should be perceived as one. If I were to be critical, it would be directed at myself for not successfully asking the right questions to open dialogue on issues that I may have had differing concerns.

Finally, I have previously said that I support the routine update from the committee Chairperson on critical issues. This could end surprise and support transparency.

JOHN LATHAM - It is my understanding that the Elections Committee followed the plan as it was originally outlined. The RFP was issued with a timeline and some of the suppliers didn’t respond at all or in a timely manner. It seems like there may have been a disconnect with the incumbent supplier and what the expectations were (in conjunction with the requirements noted in the RFP).

Not knowing what all of the timelines were for the process, the responsibility resided with the supplier to make sure they are clear on the “ask”. I am sure the elections committee learned something as well.

JERRY MURPHY - Yes, my opinion is the election committee does handle their responsibilities competently. While criticism, especially constructive criticism, are a part of the decision process. I think that our various committees, elections not withstanding, have a good checks and balance with the board of directors in making responsible decisions which are in the best interest of the residents of Ocean Pines.

ELAINE BRADY - I believe the Committee acted responsibly, and with great competency. Tom Piatti and committee member George Alston, who has a background in software coding and development, had the tenacity and expertise to research and ask the right questions in order to properly vet vendors and choose one capable of meeting all the requirements necessary for both mailed-in and online voting.

Ice cream social

The Drawbridge Diners held an ice cream social in the cul-desac on Drawbridge Road in Ocean Pines on Saturday, June 3. Although the weather was chilly and windy, 34 neighbors attended.

July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 35 OPA

Candidates comment

From Page 35

The current Board has not acted on a proposed section-by-section vote to amend restrictive covenants in older sections of Ocean Pines to give the OPA more tools to enforce county law regarding short-term rentals. Among the options - a proposal to give the OPA the power to levy fines on those found to be in violation of short-term rental rules. Do you agree or disagree with those directors -- an apparent majority -- who oppose proceeding with this “referendum” to change the DRs? Reasons?

JOHN LATHAM - This seems to be a hot topic every summer when we see an increase in rental property usage. I would support allowing OPA to be able to enforce STR’s to make sure rentals are properly licensed. The county already has restrictions defined and its incumbent on OPA to inform residents of these requirements. The enforcement on the other hand could be prove to be difficult to manage. If we have the authority, we can use it as needed. We already have many other CPI issues that we are trying to manage, and I believe we have less than two people working on enforcement. I would also consider feedback from the ARC committee as they see many of the violations, although they may be unrelated to STRs.

JEFFREY HEAVNER - OP has declaration of restrictions to protect our lifestyle and property values. It

is wrong to run a short-term (28days or less) rental business without obtaining the proper county and OP permits. The permits help to ensure the safety of the renters and neighbors. This is property owner transparency. Rules are put into place to set rational governing of things for concern for common good and community care. Rules are typically accompanied by penalties if not followed.

I have always felt a strong allegiance to rules. My parents instilled a strong set of ethics. On July 6 th , 1979, I began to hold myself to even higher standards of honor, expressed in the U.S. Naval Academy honor concept and I continue to live by them today. I do not lie, cheat, or steal. I have integrity and stand for what is right. I embrace fairness in all actions. I respect the property of others.

JERRY MURPHY - Short term rentals are important to many home owners in Ocean Pines. Some owners buy houses expecting to offset their mortgage and expenses through rental income, while some day in the future having a house for retirement. While this is understandable, the landlords do have the responsibility to their neighbors and other residents surrounding their property. There are currently rules in place which must be followed. Concerning short term rentals, they should be dealt with on a case by case basis.

ELAINE BRADY - The county regulates short-term rentals and has measures in place to enforce

violations, including those in Ocean Pines, I see no need to add another layer of enforcement.

At the May Board meeting, OPA President Doug Parks and other directors discussed the possibility of amending governing documents to give the OPA the authority to levy fines in the older sections of Ocean Pines for alleged violations of these documents. What is your attitude in general toward the OPA having this authority in both the newer sections of Ocean Pines that already allow it and the older sections? Do you also support adding to the governing documents the ability to suspend amenity use for those who violate decorum or other rules of behavior at our amenities (the core issue in the recent Janasek litigation)?

JERRY MURPHY - Many of the governing documents are outdated, some were written and have not been amended over 15 years. We are no longer a community of 500 houses, but are approaching 8,500 houses. It is the homeowners responsibility to maintain their property in good condition. Those who violate that responsibility should be dealt with on a case by case basis. The board of directors should not be involved suspending the use of amenities for association member behavior. This is an operations issue, rules and policy should be established by our attorney and general manager to be put into policy with our amenities.

ELAINE BRADY - These are two

separate issues.

On fines: Enacting fines in neighborhoods where it is allowed may help expedite the process of cleaning up run down properties. However, OPA should limit those to neighborhoods that do not have a secondary HOA which already institute fines to keep properties in check. As our community continues to age the problem of unkempt properties may become a larger issue than it already is, and changes to the DRs should be considered in those areas which cannot enact fines if other measures are not working.

On suspending amenities: I don’t feel it is necessary. Operations personnel already have the tools and authority to maintain the peaceful enjoyment of our amenities. On-site managers can make a decision to remove (or have removed) any unruly member or guest as an incident occurs. Additionally, OPA managers and/or our General Manager have the ability to refuse alcohol service at our bars to anyone who causes continuous disorderly behavior.

JOHN LATHAM - I happen to live in a section (Marina Village) where we can levy our own fines. As President of this HOA, we rarely ever need to issue a fine as we are fortunate to have a group of homeowners that understand that we have rules and regulations that need to be followed. If OPA determined that one of our homeowners had a violation, our HOA would support helping to close out any issues. My thought is that the new sections with tighter rules and regulations, won’t want to loosen what they have worked hard to establish. The governing documents only allow the BOD to suspend use of amenities if a resident has not paid their assessment or if a resident has a continuing CPI violation. The issue of suspending the use of amenities is an operation issue that must be handled by the GM and his team. The last time the Board majority tried to extend its authority to suspend amenity use, we were sued and lost the case.

JEFFREY HEAVNER - My wife and I have lived in six different states and one foreign country because of work relocation. We chose to retire in OP due to the Maryland moderate climate and the lifestyle of the community. I am also a native of Maryland. Our community is so beautiful and of course, I want to see it kept that way.

Our rules should have penalties for violators. However, these rules

To Page 38

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Candidates comment

From Page 36 need to be consistently applied in a prompt and cost-effective manner. As far as patron behavior and decorum at our amenities are concerned, this is an issue for OP operations and the General Manager. The rules and regulations of our amenities are posted on the OP website.

The Board this past year resisted calls by the Justice for Gavin group to name the Ocean Pines skateboard park after an Ocean Pines teenager who died in a tragic traffic accident. There is no published or approved criteria in Ocean Pines for naming

amenities after deceased Ocean Pines Association members -such as a substantial contribution for the improvement of the amenity by a foundation or the family of the deceased. Can you envision any naming criteria that you would support? Or in your view would it be better if the OPA steered clear of establishing such criteria?

ELAINE BRADY - I don’t feel the Board should name, or sell naming rights for our facilities and amenities. There are many other suitable options for those who wish to honor a loved one.

Additionally, as a practical matter, there are only a limited number of facilities and amenities, and set-

ting a precedent of naming a facility or amenity puts the board in the position of subjectively determining the worthiness of any such request in the future, which is truly unfair to any grieving family.

JOHN LATHAM - I don’t believe we need to establish formal criteria to name our amenities. I would fully support that OPA continue to have flexibility to make a decision on a “one off” basis as they have in the past.

JEFFREY HEAVNER - My heart broke as a parent when I learned that Gavin Knupp lost his life on July 11th, 2022, in a tragic hit and run on Grays Corner Road. The Gavin family and friends had a disappointing experience with the

Association in their quest to honor Gavin’s life with a memorial in the community.

In the spriit of transparency, the investigation to set up an amenity naming architecture may be beneficial.

In the absence of an architecture, decision consistency may not be able to be achieved and perhaps contribute to frustration. The answer may be that the Association does not name or rename amenities in the name of individuals. Rules and policies that are applied to all in the same manner can help protect and bring clarity.

JERRY MURPHY - I support justice for Gavin, I support justice for everyone. At this time, I don’t see a need to name amenities after deceased association members. We are a 54-year-old community. I am sure that many residents throughout the years have devoted many countless days and much effort to make Ocean Pines the safe and desirable community that we have today.

Currently, I feel it would be better if the association does not get involved with the naming of amenities. Presentation of recognition awards, or plaques, might be a better avenue to pursue.

Planning for a new or rehabbed Southside firehouse is proceeding, with some hope that fund-raising efforts will produce significant resources to pay for what is expected to be a multi-million project. If fund-raising efforts do not produce the desired revenues, what would you propose as the means for paying for this facility? Would borrowing the funds in the current interest rate environment be something you could or would support, or would you prefer restricting the funding source to the annual OPA lot assessment and/or replacement reserves?

JOHN LATHAM - As I have previously stated, I am a full supporter of our Fire/EMS (and Police) services and I think they are very important to our community. Safety was cited as the highest rated issue for our owners in a recent survey of OPA members.

In my communications with owners, most all are in support of continued and improved Fire/EMS services. Having said that, as a community, we need to be thoughtful and planful in the manner in

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Candidates comment

From Page 38 which we would consider funding the project. In addition to current fundraising, I would want to make sure we have exhausted every avenue regarding grant money. As far as borrowing money, I would need a lot more data to evaluate if that would make any sense.

I understand OPA doesn’t own the Fire department building, so not sure if some kind of swop deal for the real estate property would be an option. Regarding our assessment, we budgeted $126 of each assessment in 2022-23, and $119 in our current year 2023-24. I would be wide open to hear additional ideas from the Fire/EMS leadership team.

JEFFREY HEAVNER - The Board should be focused on the large issues that can improve the welfare of a broad segment of the population that keep OP safe, attractive, enjoyable and affordable. Safety is one of these issues. I appreciate the protection we receive from the OP police department and the fire/emergency medial services.

Before any position is taken on funding, more information is needed on fund-raising efforts to action the fire/emergency medical services strategic plan, developed from the DMA Reserve, Inc. survey. All initiatives should continue to support our strong financial position. I continue to advocate for short updates on these large issues at regular Board meetings to promote transparency.

JERRY MURPHY - Safety should always first and foremost in our community. I would support all options possible in our effort to bring the Southside Firehouse up to the best current standards possible.

Grants, public and private funding, should be our first consideration. If we fall short of funds, other options will have to be considered.

ELAINE BRADY - I believe we have to support all efforts of both our Police and Fire Departments that ensure the continued safety of our community. If the current plan for the Southside firehouse falls short all options should be considered to provide the necessary funds, and should be based on the most viable financial recourse at that time.

What do you think are the most significant issues facing the Association in the next two or three years and what solutions would you offer?

JEFFREY HEAVNER - Ocean Pines is a vibrant community that competes with the best. I call it the “Land of Pleasant Living.” The association will always have significant internal and external issues to face to continuously improve our infrastructure (police, fire, roads, bulkheads), amenities, marketing and public relations, public works, and recreation and parks.

Improvement is vital to lead this community forward into the next 50-years. Issues like police staffing, aging fire trucks, aging beach club, community aesthetics, road projects outside of the Pines. The list is continuing and is long.

The cornerstone of my success at ExxonMobil was leading departments forward by focusing on the execution of both yearly and longer-range strategic plans. The plans identified the significant issues and their solutions. Departments discussed progress at leadership (board) meetings.

Our success was dependent on working together. I recommend that each of the thirteen advisory com-

mittees and general manager develop, maintain, and report the progress of strategic plans.

This approach builds teams and transparency. I also recommend adopting the practice of scheduling time during board meetings where one or two committees reviews the highlights of their plans. Get more individuals involved and talking. I believe this would create more community interest.

JERRY MURPHY - The issues that appear to be of most concern currently, are drainage and bulkheads. While some recent improvements are underway, there is still work and decisions to be made. I would suggest a plan that would take into consideration the environmental and conservation challenges we face today.

Safety of the Community, Police Recruitment and the Southside Fire Station Development are issues that must stay on the front burner for funding, both public and private.

ELAINE BRADY - Our community is now 55 years old and there is a need to expedite the process of rundown properties to protect property values. Neighborhoods which have a secondary HOA have managed to do so with fines. Reasonably enacted, it could help to resolve issues with unkempt properties after warnings are ignored, along with encouraging owners to address needed repairs in a timelier manner.

The Beach Club, which is one of our oldest most valuable assets, is in need of a renovation and to be brought up to current ADA accessible standards so all of our property owners can enjoy this wonderful amenity.

Drainage will always be an on-going issue and we should continue to look for grants through local environmental partners who can help

mitigate drainage problems, along with erosion to our shorelines, as we have with the Bainbridge and Jenkins Point projects.

Keeping our community safe by supporting the needs of our Police and Fire Departments.

Working with our county and state representatives for essential needs, including a cell tower capable of providing reliable cell service to areas in the ‘dead zone’, and ramping up improvements to Rt. 589 as commercial growth continues to expand along that corridor.

JOHN LATHAM - I believe some of the most significant issues that OPA will face in the next couple years are:

Making sure that we stay aligned with our 5-year strategic plan that includes maintenance of our infrastructure and appearance (roads, drainage, bulkheads, DMA Reserve plan). I would support the current plan as I have spent quite a bit of time reviewing the plans for each of these areas. I believe we are heading in the right direction. I would not want to see the community delay these projects that are so important to our future.

I want to see OPA continue the trend with our financial condition as the last three years have been positive and we have had the opportunity to lower our assessments. It’s important to our community and was identified as being important to our homeowners in our recent community survey. Continuing to listen to the owners will be paramount.

We need to stay close to decisions that surround our community (route 90 dualization/ traffic on 589). They both could have significant impact on our community. Safety is important to our community, and we need to continue to support police and fire/ EMS.


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County hikes Ocean Pines’ utility rates $12 per quarter

Loss of flush tax exemption blamed for one-off increase

Facing a budget shortage in the Ocean Pines Water and Wastewater Service Area after losing an exemption from the flush tax and increasing operational costs, Worcester County is raising the rates for Ocean Pines customers by $12 per quarter.

In a June 20 meeting, the Worcester County Commissioners adopted the fiscal year 2023-24 operating budget for the enterprise fund, including an increase from $187 to $199 per equivalent dwelling unit per quarter for domestic water and wastewater service.

The commissioners adopted the water and wastewater enterprise fund operating budgets, assessments, user charges, and other charges for each of the 11 sanitary service areas, including the Ocean Pines Service Area, and sub-areas.

Individual rates are set to cover the operating and maintenance costs for each SSA operated by the Worcester County Department of Public Works, Water and Wastewater Division. User charges cover the operation and maintenance of these facilities, and rates are service area specific. In addition to user fees, a debt service assessment is levied to repay bonds and loans for capital water and sewer infrastructure that is financed by the county, and all assessments are based per equivalent dwelling unit.

In Ocean Pines the base rate will increase to $199 per EDU per quarter for domestic water and sewer and to $179.75 per EDU per quarter for the domestic sewer only flat charge. Additional domestic water and sewer charges will be levied at a rate of $1.60 per 1,000 gallons up to 10,000 gallons.

The base range fee for commercial water and sewer will be $256.46 to $2,143.60 based on total EDUs. Properties are classified as subdivision and business or industrial based upon existing land use or committed or approved zoning or land use. Residential properties are classified as subdivisions and all others are classified as business or


There will also be an increase in the White Horse Park domestic water and sewer flat rate to $154 per lot per quarter.

Standard assessments in the OPSA for debt service will be $36 per EDU per quarter debt service. New Ocean Pines customers who have already paid the required equity contribution do not pay the standard assessment for debt service, but instead shall pay supplemental assessments for additional debt service established at $31 per EDU per quarter.

Accounts that are delinquent more than 30 days from the date of billing are subject to assessment of a $5 penalty plus 3 percent interest per quarter.

Overall, the requested OPSA operating budget for FY24 totals $8.6 million, an increase from the FY23 approved budget of $8.03 million.

Even though the Ocean Pines

wastewater treatment plant’s failure to meet nutrient removal guidelines was the result of negligence by a Worcester County worker, the OPSA had to pay the more than $540,000 in bay restoration fees, otherwise known as the flush tax, to the State of Maryland.

While ratepayers do not have to directly shell out the $60 per equivalent dwelling unit fee from which they typically receive a waiver, the money is being taken from the OPSA reserve fund. That reserve fund is in turn funded by the same ratepayers to help cover the cost of future capital expenses.

The state Department of the Environment assesses the BRF annually to treatment plants that have accepted federal or state dollars or that have not met their discharge permit limits and the fee is passed along to all ratepayers in the service area. The fee is also paid by septic system owners where the sys-


County seeks bids for OPSA project

tems do not meet stringent nutrient guidelines.

OPSA rate payers have never been subject to the fee because the treatment plant has always meet or exceeded those nutrient load requirements until 2021.

The OPSA treatment plant did not meet its annual average nitrogen limit for calendar year 2021. Ocean Pines has an annual average nitrogen limit of 3.0 mg/L, but in 2021 the plant’s annual average was 4.3 mg/L.

In January 2021, it was discovered that a rake head had fallen into a treatment unit, that it had clogged a pipe, and the entire treatment unit had to be drained to clear the clog. Because it takes time to rebuild the microbes that break down nutrients, the treatment plant did not meet the discharge permit limits.

Worcester County administration appealed to the Secretary of MDE and the Governor’s Office requesting the BRF be waived due to operational issues beyond its control but the requests were denied.

Assuming the plant operations within normal parameters this year, the OPSA most likely will be exempted from the flush tax again next year.

Worcester County is currently seeking bids for a project at the Ocean Pines wastewater treatment plant for dewatering equipment and building design. The project is part of a $4.6 million county bond that was approved in February 2022.

The county’s Department of Public Works operates the treatment plant. In 2020, the county hired the engineering firm of George, Myles and Buhr to evaluate the existing biosolids dewatering equipment at the facility and consider alternatives for upgrading or improving the system to further increase the capacity and throughput of sludge processing.

The treatment plant utilizes an activated sludge treatment process to achieve treatment of raw wastewater from the Ocean Pines community. Biosolids generated by the treatment process are collected and stabilized in aerobic digesters. From the digesters, sludge can either be transferred directly to drying beds for dewatering, or pumped to a sludge buffer tank, where it is then processed by a belt filter press.

From the belt filter press, sludge is then stored in the covered drying beds for further dewatering as the county does not currently have the ability to haul dewatered sludge cake with a solids concentration of less than 35 percent.

GMB evaluated alternatives to increase the solids handling and processing capacity at the treatment plant. The alternatives included constructing a new dewatering building and equipment sized to handle the solids production at the facility, assuming an increase in influent flow of approximately 2.3 times the current average daily flow. The estimated project cost is $5,231,498.

St. Martins by the Bay added to Ocean Pines water system

The Worcester County Commissioners on June 20 approved an amendment to change the designation of the water system for the St. Martins by the Bay community from a private community system to a public one with service from the Ocean Pines water system. It will also add the community to the Ocean Pines water planning area.

The Worcester County Planning Commission reviewed the proposed Water and Sewerage Plan amendment at a May 4 meeting and found it to be consistent with the Worcester County Comprehensive Plan.


Commissioners maintain current tax rates in $235 million budget

Bertino, Bunting pleased with results of ‘deep dive’ into Board of Education spending

The Worcester County Commissioners on June 6 approved a fiscal year 2023-24 operating budget that holds the line on both property and local income taxes. The budget maintains the current property tax rate of $0.845 and local income tax rate of 2.25 percent.

The commissioners adopted the final proposed FY24 budget totaling $235.89 million in a 6-1 vote. Both Ocean Pines representatives, Commissioner President Chip Bertino and Commissioner Jim Bunting, voted in favor of the budget, as did Caryn Abbott, Ted Elder, Eric Fiori, and Diana Purnell. Only Commissioner Joe Mitrecic voted in opposition to the budget approval.

“I do believe this is a responsible budget,” Bertino said.

County law requires that the commissioners adopt an expense budget and tax rates on or before the first Tuesday in June. Budget Officer Kim Reynolds reviewed the budget, which includes a 2 percent cost of living adjustment and one step increase for eligible county employees and fringe benefits, with the remaining surplus of $385,818 being added to other post employment benefits for the Board of Education employees.

Bunting offered a motion to approve the BOE budget, which includes maintenance of effort (MOE) funding of $100.006 million, retirement expenses of $758,679, and Buckingham Elementary School design fees of $815,000.

The total school system budget is $126.7 million, including state and other funding. MOE is a calculation of the amount of funding required to maintain the same level of service as the prior year.

A majority of the commissioners voted 5-2, with Mitrecic and Purnell in opposition, to approve the school system budget.

Mitrecic opposed the motion and requiring the Board of Education to present additional financial records as part of the budget process. He stated that an MOE budget ignores state unfunded mandates and will impact raises and school programs. “It does not look at the future of our education system properly,” he said.

He argued that coming requirements of the state mandated Blueprint for Maryland legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2021 will have a significant impact, including financial for the county. “It’s almost like we’re just hoping they’ll go away,” he said of the upcoming state requirements.

Mitrecic said the county’s insistence on a deeper dive into the school system’s financials this year has done irreparable damage to the relationship between the commissioners and school board.

Bertino disagreed.

“I think the relationship is a good relationship,” he said. “We just don’t see eye to eye this time.”

He said that having a better understanding of the school system’s financial position puts the county and taxpayers in an improved position for the future when it is time to implement state mandates. He said the budget process this year will put the county in a much better position to handle the mandates for the Blueprint for Maryland in the future.

“As a county and as stewards of the taxpayer money, we can’t manage what we can’t measure. And this year we’ve asked to measure so that we can manage better in the future,” Bertino said.

Fiori said line-by-line budget comparisons are essential to making good financial decisions. He said the county can’t simply write a blank check year after year to the school system, but must ensure the Board of Education is effectively spending the tax payers money.

He said that budgets are the basis for making financial decisions, and having transparent financials will make it possible for the Board of Education to make wise financial decisions to assure that teachers, support staff, and bus contractors are able to receive raises and that children receive a wonderful education.

“I am still trying to wrap my head around why clear financials are such a struggle to provide,” Fiori said.

Abbott said the Board of Education tried to convince the taxpayers that the commissioners had no right to a line-item budget and were somehow wrong to want transparency. She hoped that this year will be the start of positive change to the relationship with the school system.

Purnell didn’t agree with the decision to required more detailed budget information from the BOE, but hoped that the commissioners and school system could work together going forward to continue to support schools.

Abbott offered a motion to approve the full county budget, with Fiori giving a second to her motion. The commissioners voted 6-1, with again Mitrecic voting in opposition, to adopt the budget.

Mitrecic reviewed certain cuts that were made to the budget during the commissioners’ reviews

and explained that he could not support this budget, which he said does not meet the needs of county employees or the Board of Education.

“We should have tried to make our employees facing the rising cost of living more whole,” he said, adding that money from last year’s budget surplus and the county’s ongoing budget stabilization fund could have been used. He argued the county is going to lose more employees as a result.

Fiori voted in support of the overall county budget. He said he spent countless hours working on it.

He said line by line comparison are an essential component to making wise financials decisions.

Bertino said it is a responsible budget that is in the best interest of taxpayers. He noted that this is the first time in about ten years that the budget has been balanced without using surplus funds from the current fiscal year.

Instead, the surplus at the end of this year will be allocated to other post-employment benefits for the Board of Education, a $50 million liability, to ensure that retirement for current and past employees is secure.

“We don’t all have what we want in this budget.” Bertino said.

But he said it is in the best interest of the county taxpayers who provide the money to fund to run the government, and he believes the county is taking care of its employees across the county agencies.

“Certainly there are individuals or groups of individuals who may be disappointed. But when all is said and done, the money that we get that comes into this county comes from the taxpayers… that the seven of us represent,” Bertino said. “Regardless of what some may think, my opinion is we’ve done a good job.”

St. Martins by the Bay

From Page 40

During a public hearing on the matter, Bob Mitchell, county director of Environmental Programs, said the community system in St. Martins by the Bay was installed in 1984 and it is challenging to maintain it. The community has one community-wide water system and all properties either use it or have a private well. The existing water supply, treatment, and storage system will be abandoned, and all of the properties will then be connected to the Ocean Pines water system.

Chip Bertino Jim Bunting

Growth spikes in early amenity memberships

Couples memberships in Aquatics succeed in b

General Manager John Viola likes to talk about “organic” growth in amenities, by which he means increased revenues re sulting from more members and increased usage rather than increases in rates and fees.

Early indications from the amenity member ship summary released as part of the May finan cial statements suggest that Viola is getting this organic growth, with aquatics, golf, tennis, plat form tennis, pickleball and racquet sports combo all showing year-over-year membership growth.

The comparison is from May 30 of last year to May of this year. May is the first month of the new fiscal year when membership numbers from March and April show up in the totals and when most Ocean Pines Association members either buy or have already purchased their amenity packages for the new year.

It’s a solid barometer on how membership sales will fare for the entire fiscal year.

A summary of the amenity membership totals indicates a positive spin in possible for each of them.

Aquatics has grown from 715 total member ships in May of last year to 786 this year, produc ing $270,780 in revenue so far and 84 percent of the $320,485 goal for the year.

While it’s not clear whether the additional $49,705 needed to make goal will be collected, it seems achievable.

June is another month that can generate new memberships as seasonal owners arrive in Ocean Pines. In addition, annual aquatics memberships can be purchased anytime throughout the year.

The new couples memberships advocated by Director Stuart Lakernick during the budget re view process this past winter has been an unqual ified success, and seems to be the driver behind the organic growth in Aquatics memberships so far this year.

These new couple memberships more than offset a slight erosion in annual family member ships that was more or less predicted.

Lakernick had predicted that the new couples membership, sold at a discount from family mem bership rates, would attract new memberships from those who might not have purchased any membership in prior years.

There were skeptics on the Board about the predicted effect of the new couples members, particularly Director Colette Horn, who was ad amant in opposition, calling it an unproven ap proach to growing membership.

Actually Lakernick would also have added a new grandparents membership for Aquatics, but he decided that trying the couples membership was a good first start.

The membership growth is even more remark able in the context of another summer of reduced hours at some Ocean Pines pool because of a life guard shortage. Some predicted that this would u Source: Ocean Pines Association Membership Department

42 July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS OPA FINANCES

OPA reserve balance improves by $600,000 year-over year

Grows from $6.1 million to $6.7 million as of April 30

The April 30 end-of-year snapshot of the reserves, still subject to the annual audit, indicates a reserve balance of $6.7 million, as compared to the $6.1 million a year earlier, or a $600,000 yearover-year improvement.

The end-of-year balance occurred even after $3.8 million in reserve expenditures in 2022-23, according to a graphic presented during Viola’s general manager’s report at the June 17 Board of Directors meeting.

Roughly two thirds of the improved reserve balance resulted from an increase in the replacement reserve from $4.8 million on April 30 of last year to $5.2 million a year later.

This particular reserve fund collected $1.9 million in annual lot assessment revenue, but the OPA only spent about $1.5 million from this reserve throughout the year, resulting in a $400,000 year-over-year improvement.

According to the graphic, the OPA’s roads re-

Membership spike

From Page 42

result in fewer aquatics memberships, not more.

As of May 31, there were 265 couples summer memberships and 49 couples yearly memberships sold, a total of 314, with revenues of $79,500 and $28,175 respectively.

Family summer memberships sold year-overyear dropped from 377 as of May 31 last year to 138, a decrease of 239 memberships, while family memberships dropped from 69 to 36, a difference of 33. The combined total year-over-year reduction in family memberships was 272.

The total number of couples memberships sold, 314, more than offset the decrease in family memberships.

Through May 31, this “organic” growth can be quantified at 42.

Also notable in Aquatics: Memberships from those who neither live nor own property in Ocean Pines is on an upswing. The organic year-overyear growth is 22 memberships.

The numbers indicate that, so far at least, challenges in meeting lifeguard hiring goals and anticipated reduction in hours of operation in some pools this summer does not seem to be negatively affecting overall net membership.

Golf memberships, with a year-over-year increase from 94 to 103, are already at 104 percent of their revenue goal for the year. Lifetime memberships remain at 14. Cart packages are roughly even year-over-year.

In the racquet sport arena, tennis is holding its own with 60 memberships sold as of May 31, one more than the same time a year ago.

Platform tennis is showing a modest increase year-over-year from 56 to 63, but that is 102 percent of the revenue goal of $13,200.

Pickleball remains the most popular racquet sport, with 227 memberships sold as of May 31 this year compared to 212 a year. Pickleball revenue is 99 percent of the $56,865 goal.

Total combination racquet memberships have increased by two, from 25 on May 31 of last year to 27 a year later.

As of May 31, total racquet sports are 97 percent of goal.

Total amenity memberships sold as of May 31 this year have reached 3,151, compared to 3,073 a year prior. That’s “organic” growth of 78 memberships year-over-year.

Amenities sold through May 31 have generated $957,230, or 87 percent of goal, with another $146,070 needed to reach the year’s membership budget of $1,103,300.

serve grew by $700,000 year-over-year, while the drainage reserve, reflecting $600,000 in expenditures, decreased $500,000 during the year.

Balanced expenditures and revenues of $1.1 million in the bulkhead and waterways reserve left that reserves balance at $500,000 on April 30.

Similarly, the new capital reserve remained at $100,000 a year’s end, reflecting expenditures and revenues during the year of $200,000.

The OPA earned $500,000 in casino funds during the year, with $400,000 allocated to the roads reserve and $100,000 to drainage, according to the graphic.

OPA cash position on May 31 improves to $18.5 million

Boltstered by annual assessment revenue, which is booked in the first month of a new fiscal year, the Ocean Pines Association’s cash position improved in May over April’s by about $800,000, OPA Treasurer and Director Monica Rakowski reported during the June 18 Board of Directors meeting.

As of May 31, the first month of the 202324 fiscal year, the OPA had about $18.5 million in cash on hand.

That was about $800,000 more than April’s total but about $100,000 less than the same time last year.

Rakowski reported that $11.1 million was invested in CDARs as of May 31, with the remaining $7.4 million in an insured cash sweep account, money market and operating accounts, diversified between two local banks.

Ocean Pines PROGRESS July 2023 43 OPA FINANCES
Source: Ocean Pines Association Finance Membership Department

OPA off to strong start with $150,000 May surplus

Amenity membership revenue exceeds budgetary expectations


The Ocean Pines Association opened its new fiscal year in May with a strong performance, on the heals of a $1.15 million projected surplus for the year ending this past April 30. The May operating surplus was $150,230, on revenues that were over budget by $84,819 and expenses that were under budget by $65,411.

Notable were a better than budgeted performance in membership revenue, the result of “organic growth” that General Manager John Viola likes to talk about. Organic growth includes net increases in the number of prepaid annual memberships, rather than revenue increases resulting from higher dues.

According to the May financials posted by Controller/Director of Finance Steve Phillips on June 24, all the membership amenities exceeded their budgeted membership revenues for the month.

Beach parking pass sales produced $353,198, ahead of budget by $10,377.

Golf brought in $172,225 in membership revenue, compared to the budgeted $157,114, a $41,812 positive variance.

Aquatics earned $270,735 in membership revenue, compared to the budgeted $236,128, a positive variance of $34,607.

All three racquet sports also brought in more membership revenue in May than budgeted, led by pickleball, with $56,215 in membership revenue compared to $50,165 budgeted, a $6,050 positive variance.

Tennis earned $30,875 in membership revenue against $19,905 budgeted, a positive difference of $10,970.

Platform tennis with $13,558 in membership revenue outperformed its budgeted $12,282 for a positive variance of $1,276.

For the month, all amenities except for the Beach Club were in the black.

Compared to budget, all three racquet sports, aquatics, golf, the Clubhouse Grille and beach parking had positive variances, while the

Beach Club, Yacht Club and marina all missed their budget targets.

Golf had a stellar month, with net earnings of $339,775, ahead of budget by $44,964.

Aquatics also outperformed, with a net of $240,209 and $31,650 in a positive variance to budget.

Marinas generated $192,170 in net revenue, missing budget by $14,866.

The Yacht Club was in the black for the month in the amount of

$24,934, but that missed budget by $12,396.

The Clubhouse Grille performed well, with a net of $23,835 and a positive variance to budget of $7,198

The Beach Club got off to a slow start with an operating deficit of $10,171 and a negative variance to budget of $15,722.

All three racquet sports were in the black for the month and were ahead of budget. Pickleball had a net of $55,075, with a $6,952 pos-

itive variance to budget. Tennis earned $23,593 for the month, with a $6,732 positive variance.

Platform tennis generated $10,599 in net earnings, with a positive variance to budget of $814.

Reserve summary -- The May 31 reserve summary shows the normal infusion of funds from the annual assessment. The $6.69 million April 30 balance climbed to $9.66 million at the end of May.

The replacement reserve balance was $6.54 million, with bulkheads and waterways at $1.52 million, roads at $1.07 million, drainage at $385,771 and new capital at $144,753.

There was no balance sheet included with the May financials, but total cash and investments as of May 31 stood at $18.456 million


44 July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS OPA FINANCES MONTH MONTH YTD YTD YTD ACTUAL BUDGET $ VARIANCE ACTUAL BUDGET $ VARIANCE LAST YEAR GENERAL ADMIN 5,819,689 5,798,420 21,268 5,819,689 5,798,420 21,268 5,955,846 MANAGER'S OFFICE (24,730) (29,233) 4,503 (24,730) (29,233) 4,503 (15,347) FINANCE (59,778) (66,446) 6,668 (59,778) (66,446) 6,668 (52,459) PUBLIC RELATIONS (17,705) (19,166) 1,462 (17,705) (19,166) 1,462 (14,212) COMPLIANCE / PERMITS (13,416) 411 (13,827) (13,416) 411 (13,827) (3,926) GENERAL MAINT (52,563) (57,253) 4,689 (52,563) (57,253) 4,689 (44,395) PUBLIC WORKS (107,236) (139,624) 32,388 (107,236) (139,624) 32,388 (105,721) FIRE / EMS (84,076) (84,076) - (84,076) (84,076) 0 (88,669) POLICE (122,073) (154,584) 32,511 (122,073) (154,584) 32,511 (143,876) RECREATION / PARKS (35,588) (30,452) (5,136) (35,588) (30,452) (5,136) (12,249) TENNIS 23,593 16,861 6,732 23,593 16,861 6,732 26,229 PICKLEBALL 55,074 48,122 6,952 55,074 48,122 6,952 51,749 PLATFORM TENNIS 10,599 9,785 814 10,599 9,785 814 10,266 AQUATICS 240,209 208,559 31,650 240,209 208,559 31,650 230,950 GOLF OPS + MAINT 339,775 294,811 44,964 339,775 294,811 44,964 303,064 CLUBHOUSE GRILLE 23,835 16,637 7,198 23,835 16,637 7,198 13,796 BEACH CLUB (10,171) 5,550 (15,722) (10,171) 5,550 (15,722) 8,569 BEACH PARKING 353,198 342,821 10,377 353,198 342,821 10,377 358,177 YACHT CLUB 24,934 37,330 (12,396) 24,934 37,330 (12,396) 36,379 MARINAS 192,170 207,037 (14,866) 192,170 207,037 (14,866) 206,707 NET OPERATING 6,555,740 6,405,510 150,230 6,555,740 6,405,510 150,230 6,720,879 OCEAN PINES ASSOCIATION NET OPERATING BY DEPARTMENT MAY 2023 6/21/2023 BULKHEADS NEW REPLACEMENT WATERWAYS ROADS DRAINAGE CAPITAL TOTAL BALANCE APRIL 30, 2023 5,154,162 523,223 715,176 184,688 114,084 6,691,333 TRANSFERS FROM OPERATING FUND: CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ASSESSMENTS 1,775,152 1,053,850 - - - 2,829,002 TRANSFER FROM PRIOR YEARS' SURPLUS - - - 100,000 30,000 130,000 INTEREST INCOME (EXPENSE) 30,226 3,068 4,194 1,083 669 39,241 RESTRICTED CONTRIBUTIONS: TRANSFER OF CASINO FUNDS 350,000 100,000 450,000 TRANSFERS TO OPERATING FUND: OPERATING EXPENSES (56,433) (56,433) CAPITAL ADDITIONS (421,073) - - - (421,073) BALANCE MAY 31, 2023 6,538,467 1,523,708 1,069,370 385,771 144,753 9,662,070 RESERVE SUMMARY PERIOD ENDED 5/31/2023 UNAUDITED
Source: Ocean Pines Association Finance Department RESERVE SUMMARY ENDING MAY 31, 2023 - UNAUDITED Source: Ocean Pines Association Finance Department

Veterans Memorial Park to host Ocean Pines July 4 fireworks

Celebration to include carnival games, dry slides, bounce houses, live music and food and drink vendors

The Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department will once again host a Fourth of July fireworks celebration at Veterans Memorial Park on Route 589 and Cathell Road.

The event this year is scheduled from 5-8:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4, with carnival games, dry slides and bounce houses for children, plus live music and food and drink vendors.

Children’s wristbands are $10 and are good for all slides and bounce houses. Wristbands will be required for those attractions only. All sales will be cash only.

General admission is free and open to the public.

Fireworks are scheduled to start at 9:15 p.m. and go until roughly 9:45 p.m.

The fireworks will launch from

the north side of the pond, by Cathell Road. A viewing zone will be fenced off from Manklin Creek Road to the Veterans Memorial. Additional viewing will be available at Manklin Meadows Park.

There will be no viewing along Ocean Parkway, from Cathell Road to Manklin Creek Road.

There will also be a “safe zone” marked by an orange fence, from the pond to the firehouse. No one may enter the marked area.

Guests may bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Parking will be available in the area near the Ocean Pines Library and Taylor Bank. Parking will not be allowed along Ocean Parkway. Limited handicapped parking will be available at the Sports Core Pool and the library parking lots.

A handicap-accessible shuttle will be available between the library and the event area. Overflow parking will be available at the Ocean Pines Library parking lot.

Police will close Ocean Parkway from Manklin Creek Road to Off-

shore Lane about 30 minutes before the fireworks begin.

That area will remain closed until all fireworks have been launched and the Fire Marshal deems it safe.

Additionally, police will close the south end of Cathell Road from Ocean Parkway to the entrance of the Sports Core Pool at around noon, when the fireworks company is scheduled to arrive.

The area will remain closed until the fireworks equipment is loaded back up. Cathell Road will remain open from the Sports Core Pool to Route 589 for the entire day.

kitchen a cook will love with a generous island and walk-in pantry that accommodates a second refrigerator. Enclosed sun-room overlooks the large back yard. Special feature is a huge bonus room upstairs, used now as additional sleeping area for family guests and hobbies, but it provides the opportunity for many different uses: a family room, recreation room, or office & 2 walk in attics. No HOA or town taxes.

July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 45 LIFESTYLES SMITH LANDSCAPING Austin Smith 410-845-5270 Call for Free Estimate Mulch Power Washing Stone • Gutters Trimming • Weeding All General Yard Work Sonia Zaffiris 11065 Cathell Rd., Ocean Pines, MD soniasez @ aol.com 410-251-6217 (cell) 410-208-9200 Ext. 103 12402 Blueberry Rd. • $599,900 DRASTICALLY REDUCED! BACK ON THE MARKET! BUYERS COULDN’T GET FINANCING SO YOU GET ANOTHER CHANCE TO BUY THIS BEAUTY! Spacious 2,900 square foot Cape Cod on 2 acres with oversized 2+ car side-load garage. 15 minutes to Salisbury! Features a welcoming rocking chair front porch, Situated just 10 miles from Berlin, voted America’s Coolest Small Town, OC resort areas, Assateague Island and is only a 10 minute drive to the NEW Showell Elementary School. This custom-built spacious 2,900 sq ft Cape Cod home on 2 acres has been meticulously cared for by loving original owners. Features a welcoming rocking chair front porch, den, split 3-bedroom plan & baths with heated floors. 1st floor primary suite is highlighted with dual walk-in closets, bath has a whirlpool tub to relax after a long day, shower & separate vanities. Open living & dining area, a

Art Hansen memorial youth fishing contest set July 15

The Ocean Pines Anglers Club will host the Art Hansen Memorial Youth Fishing Contest on July 15 at the South Gate Pond in Ocean Pines.

Free registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and the event is scheduled to run from 9-10:30 a.m. Trophies and prizes will be awarded across three different age groups.

Bait and water will be provided. Participants should bring their own rod and bug spray. For more information, contact John McFalls at 610-505-1697.

The club hosted a “Teach a Kid to Fish Day” on June 17, drawing more than 60 children, their parents and grandparents to the South Gate pond.

The event was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Ocean Pines Anglers Club, the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and financial support provided by the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club.


From Page 45

Police and fire department personnel will help direct traffic throughout the day. Pedestrian traffic is highly encouraged.

At the conclusion of the fireworks, pedestrians will have preference over motorists.

Residents and guests should expect delays throughout the day.

In case of inclement weather, the fireworks display will move to Wednesday, July 5.

Chamber to host flounder tournament and auction

The Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce will host its 16th annual Flounder Tournament and Auction on Saturday, Aug. 5, with weigh-in and auction at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club and Marina from noon to 4:30 p.m. This is the largest coastal flounder tournament in the state and will feature an expected purse of over $8,000.

“Our region gets tournament fever every summer, especially the first week in August. We are the little guy tournament. A great day on the water and a chance to win big without breaking your bank to enter,” said Ocean Pines Chamber President Kerrie Bunting.

Registration is $55 per angler or $50 each when registering more than one. Calcuttas are available for $20 per angler. The longest flounder brought in by any angler 13 or under wins $100 and is also eligible for the main cash prizes. Deadline for registration is before noon on Aug. 4.

Collectible tee-shirts are free for the first 250 registered. Sponsorships are available, and the Chamber is seeking donations for the auction which is held during the weigh-in. Registration on the Chamber Website.

46 Ocean Pines PROGRESS July 2023 LIFESTYLES
Angler Club member and custom rod maker Dave Hammond, left, with Teach A Kid to Fish Day Chair Lee Phillips, right, present a custom rod and reel to drawing winner Adam Rasch and his dad Eric. Above, Department of Natural Resources officers Patricia McMichael and Joseph Nye with Amy Kulik and her children, Charlotte and Colton.

Water taxi back for second summer in Ocean Pines

Bay Hopper adds a second boat and expands to seven-day operations

The OC Bay Hopper water taxi and water shuttle service has returned to Ocean Pines for the summer season.

Service resumed June 19.

The water shuttle – like a bus on the water – makes regularly scheduled stops throughout the day at several locations along the bay, including Ocean Pines.

The water taxi – like an Uber on the water – is a point-to-point service that riders can schedule at their convenience.

OC Bay Hopper cofounder Steve Butz said the water transportation services provided by the company make it easy for people to get to and from Ocean Pines.

“It takes the hassle out of driving and parking in Ocean City. The water shuttle and taxi services can pick-up or drop-off at most restaurants and bars on the bay,” he said.

Butz said the response last year –the first in Ocean Pines – was very positive.

“Ocean Pines had more traffic in and out on our boats on Saturday than any other location by far. People seem to be eating it up,” he said.

This summer, the water shuttle is scheduled to travel from Ocean

Pines to locations southbound each day at 12:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

Boats will return to Ocean Pines heading northbound at 2:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

The shuttle will make stops in Ocean City and West Ocean City on its travels to and from Ocean Pines.

One-way shuttle tickets cost $15 per person and round-trip tickets run $30 per person.

This year, OC Bay Hopper has expanded its water taxi service by adding an additional boat and operating every night of the week.

The boats travel as far north as Fenwick Island and south to Assateague Island.

There is an $80 minimum for the water taxi, which will cover up to four passengers for a one-way trip. For groups of five or more, there is an added $15 charge for each additional passenger.

There is also a small surcharge per passenger.

OC Bay Hopper also offers a sightseeing trip from Ocean Pines to Assateague Island on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

These trips are bookable online at www.ocbayhopper.com, or through

One of two Bay Hopper shuttles operating in Ocean Pines this summer.

the OC Bay Hopper mobile app.

“We pick up riders at the Yacht Club docks in Ocean Pines at 9 a.m. and whisk them down to Assateague for a tour of the island by water,” Butz said. “They’ll get an amazing view of the wildlife and then return

to the Yacht Club at about 11:15 a.m., just in time for lunch.”

For more information or to book a seat on the OC Bay Hopper, download the OC Bay Hopper mobile mpp, available for both Apple and Android devices.

Family Fun Nights, park concerts resume

Two popular Recreation and Parks events have returned for the summer, with Family Fun Nights at the Yacht Club Pool and Concerts in the Park at White Horse Park.

Family Fun Nights run on Wednesdays through Aug. 23, from 6-8 p.m.

The event features food, games, music and more, all set in the pic-

turesque locale of the Yacht Club Pool overlooking the Isle of Wight Bay.

Cash-only entry is $3 for Ocean Pines swim members with a membership card, $5 for Ocean Pines residents, or $7 for nonresidents. Entry is free for non-swimmers.

Concerts in the Park are scheduled each Thursday, June 22 to Aug. 24, from 7-9 p.m. under the White Horse Park Pavilion.

This free event features family friendly live music each week.

The schedule includes Marsh Lovers Band, June 29; 229th Military Band, July 6; Breath of Fresh Air, July 13; Delmarva Big Band, July 20; “Elvis”, July 27; The Tribe, Aug. 3; Still Rockin’, Aug. 10; Club Fred, Aug. 17; and Dusty Vinyl, Aug. 4.

Concertgoers are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets. Concessions provided by the Kiwanis Club will be available for sale.

Recreation and Parks Director Debbie Donahue said both events are geared toward giving Ocean Pines families more to do during the summer.

“Our goal is to create memorable moments and foster a sense of community through our family-friendly summer events,” Donahue said. “We strive to offer a wide variety of engaging activities, and each event is designed to provide a safe and welcoming environment.”

Ocean Pines PROGRESS July 2023 47 LIFESTYLES

A more harmonious Board in our future?

Frank Daly’s departure from Ocean Pines and resignation from the Board of Directors sets up an opportunity for a era of cordial governance in Ocean Pines. By himself he has not been a divisive influence, but when he teamed up with soon-to-be-retired director Colette Horn and former directors Larry Perrone, Amy Peck and Josette Wheatley, the result often was contrary to the best interests of Ocean Pines.

Legal fees from unfortunate decisions made by these directors in recent years probably added up to somewhere close or even in excess of six figures. There was the Janasek litigation, the Rick Farr litigation, among other entanglements, but even more than the monetary waste was the damage done to cordial relationships on the Board.

The adverse effect on Ocean Pines from an era of bad feelings and poor decisions has not been lasting. The election last August of Directors Stuart Lakernick and Monica Rakowski changed the dynamic on the Board, reducing the influence of Daly and Horn, respectively the vice-president and president of the Board prior to the election of Lakernick and Rakowski.

Voting blocs shifted, with carry-over directors Doug Parks and Farr forming a new majority bloc with their new colleagues Lakernick and Rakowski. New director Steve Jacobs has often found common cause with the former majority bloc members Daly and Horn, but three directors do not make a functioning majority.

Daly had been on a path to the OPA presidency this past year, but essentially was eclipsed by the new Board majority that opted for Parks as president in the current Board term. Jacobs had lobbied for the top position but soon discovered that the new sherrifs had Parks in mind.

The new majority had as one of its agenda items the hiring of a local attorney to replace fiveyear veteran Jeremy Tucker. That recently was accomplished with the hiring of Ocean City lawyer Bruce Bright in that role, over the mean-spirited opposition of Horn, more nuanced, initial opposition of Jacobs, and the grudging acquiescence of Daly, whose legal positions in his second term as director were roundly defeated by Bright in the Farr and Janasek litigation.

True, Daly’s key vote in the initial decision to hire Bright was an abstention, but he at least had the good sense to praise the OPA’s new general counsel and former combatant as a “brilliant” litigator. The ability to read and apply the OPA’s governing documents in a sensible, straight-forward way may or may not be brilliant, but to be sure Bright made mincemeat of dubious legal theories propounded by Daly and some of his Board colleagues when they were litigated in court.

Daly’s 11th hour acceptance of Bright’s “legal brilliance” was hardly an apology for wasting OPA resources on hair-brained legal theories. Nonetheless his early departure from the Board

was honorable in that it was implicit recognition that his political and legal posturing in concert with some of his colleagues had not prevailed. It’s old-school to be sure, but resigning after one’s preferred choices fail spectacularly is worthy of praise and emulation.

Daly at least had the good sense to realize that the final year and a half of his second threeyear term was not going to result in any policy victories. And he certainly was not likely to ascend to the OPA presidency, which would have given him reason to hang around Ocean Pines for another year.

It would be unfair to say that Daly was a poor director. He was not. One memorable accomplishment: He led the way on getting rid of the poorly drafted Board B-08 ethics resolution that had so many defects the only way to deal with it was to get rid of it. This Daly understood.

He took some wrong turns in his second term,

but he began his first three-year term with a strong sense of what needed to be done to bring about an Ocean Pines functioning on eight cylinders. He set out an ambitious agenda at the getgo -- a clarion call to end what he called a culture of mediocrity, acceptance of poor financial and performance outcomes. He established a goal of amenities breaking even operationally or better, a goal achieved during his tenure on the Board.

When politicians resign or opt not to seek office because they want to spend more time with family, there almost always is more to the story.

That applies to Daly. His record as a director was mixed, but it opens up a vacancy on the Board likely to be filled by a replacement who will work well with the current majority bloc.

Indeed, an era of a Board working successfully together without acrimony is likely to get a substantial boost whoever is elected this summer.

B-08: Toothless virtue signaling

The Board of Directors at its June monthly meeting considered on first reading a new B-08 ethics and conflict of interest resolution, yet another attempt to fill a perceived void in Ocean Pines governance. As resolutions go, this one seems relatively harmless, but it’s also little more than virtue signaling without any enforcement mechanism.

Former OPA Director Frank Daly did the Board and community a favor some time ago - seems like yesterday - when he spearheaded an effort at the Board level to repeal an earlier version of B-08 that failed because it had been spectacular-

ly abused in its real-world application.

All it accomplished was Boards whose members bickered among themselves on who was in violation of B-08 and what should be done about it. It was always unproductive, a waste of time and energy, but it’s pointless to revisit instances that led to its timely demise.

Lacking an enforcement mechanism that can be abused and misapplied, even if it is adopted by the Board sometime in the coming months, there is little likelihood that a revised and streamlined B-08 will have any impact on the real-time

Rick Menard

A random potpourri of issues

Sometimes issues that percolate in Ocean Pines don’t quite justify an entire opinion column devoted to them.

Here are some random observations on a number of recent “incidents” worthy of mention:

• Somehow Amy Peck survived a vote of the Board of Directors at its June meeting to earn an appointment to the Recreation Advisory Committee.

The vote was 6-0 with one abstention, but actually closer than that in the pre-meeting exchange of views among the directors.

Peck barely had majority support, but in the end some of the skeptics voted in a majority to preserve a semblance of solidarity.

OPA President Doug Parks was the only hold-out, initially opposed but at the end of the day morphing into a careful abstention.

A majority blackballing her appointment after her employment application to the Aquatics Department was rescinded a few months ago would have been overkill, a disproportionate response.

Her sometimes outspoken contrarian views that have veered into derogatory commentary against those with whom she disagrees are unlikely to manifest during her service on this particular committee.

The rec committee is not exactly a hotbed of controversy. Let’s all pray that the peace is kept for a fortnight at least.

• It appears that ROC founder Sherrie Clifford’s request to peruse various documents associated with the 2022 Board election will at last be accommodated.

General Manager John Viola said in a June 21 text that four possible dates have been proposed for a day of review by Clifford.

He was waiting for a response from her or her attorney for a date when the review will take place, pre-


From Page 36

activities of the Board.


An excursion through the curious by-ways and cul-de-sacs of Worcester County’s most densely populated community

sumably in a dedicated room in the OPA’s Admin building.

At least one member of the Board of Directors and another OPA staffer will be in the room during the document inspection, according to Viola.

Notes OPA Director Rick Farr: Clifford will not be allowed to photograph any documents and will have to fly solo; she can’t bring anyone else into the room with her as she conducts her review.

And he believes that she will be assessed not only the administrative time spend on facilitating the review by OPA staff. Also to be billed is time spent by legal counsel dealing with the request. Lawyers generally don’t come cheap.

Soon enough we’ll know if this sojourn down a rabbit hole will yield anything substantive about last summer’s flawed election, or whether it will yield any relevant information on how OPA elections can be improved in the future.

This just in: In a June 23 phone call, Clifford said she had not yet been informed of the four possible review dates. Frustrated that her request seems to drag on forever, she nontheless in this instance said it’s possible her own lawyer had not gotten back to her.

Viola in an email to the Progress suggested that Clifford needed to get in touch with her lawyer and commit to any of the proferred dates.

Wouldn’t it be nice if this matter could be put to bed? With a new election season upon us, it’s hard to get too excited about new details of what might have happened last summer. We already have a good idea, and remedies are in place.

• Details are sketchy, understandably, but there is guarded optimism among some members of Viola’s working group on the Southside firehouse rebuild that a substantial federal grant will be forthcoming to help pay for the building.

If that grant comes through, it’s probably true that a more elaborate version of a firehouse will be built.

If it doesn’t, then a less costly, more streamlined version will emerge.

One way or the other, Ocean Pines is going to step up and do right by its fire department.

• With Frank Daly’s recent resignation and subsequent decision by the Board to add the vacancy created by his departure to this summer’s ballot, the odds of electoral success by any of the four candidates running have improved.

With three slots to be filled, only one of the four will go away on election day disappointed.

It will probably come down, as OPA elections often do, to which candidates do the most to work for the position, going door-to-door or holding campaign events expounding on issues of importance to members.

There literally are no bad choices. All could serve with distinction. All would work well with the current Board, both the majority and minority bloc.

A word about the minority bloc: It might not even exist after this summer’s election. Daly’s already gone and Colette Horn is about to be. Who’s left? Steve Jacobs perhaps, but he’s not going to want to spend the last two years of his term tilting at windmills.

• OPA finances are getting off

ters considered by the Board in executive session will leak out to the media, with directors choosing their favored conduits for ensuring that important information is shared with the membership in a timely fashion.

to another robust start in 2023-24, with a $150,000 positive variance to budget for May, the first month of the new fiscal year.

According to the just release amenity membership report, memberships are doing very well so far.

They indicate what Viola likes to call organic growth, revenue increases resulting not from higher rates but actual net new members.

May financials also show that the worst case scenario of the Aquatics Department descending into deficit this year is not likely to materialize.

Some pearl-clutchers at the Board level during the budget process this past winter complained about the prospect of a return to deficits in Aquatics.

The budget assumed a full complement of lifeguards this summer, but that didn’t come to pass. It never was likely, but concerted effort was attempted anyway to make it happen.

When hiring doesn’t occur at the level anticipated in the budget, a wonderful thing happens. Payroll savings.

Combined with organic growth in membership, this one-two punch can wipe out a projected operating deficit. Early signs are that this will happen this year in aquatics.

Meanwhile, golf operations continue to hit it out of the park. Just ask Viola. He’s more than willing to share.

The Ocean Pines Progress is a journal of news and commentary published monthly throughout the year. It is circulated in Ocean Pines and Captain’s Cove, Va.

In the matter of perceived and actual conflicts of interests, which rarely if ever have surfaced at the Board level, directors don’t need a resolution of this nature to tell them what not to do.

As for the confidentiality of Board deliberations, and dialog in closed session, it is likely to be honored in the breach consistent with long-standing tradition in Ocean Pines. It’s a given that some “confidential” mat-

Having some words in a document that can’t and won’t be enforced might make some directors feel better about themselves, that they still have some pull and that their service on the Board has relevance.

So perhaps the Board will adopt this revised resolution on second reading in the next month or two.

Or perhaps it will spend its time more productively, on something that actually matters. -

July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 49 OPINION
PUBLISHER-EDITOR Tom Stauss stausstom@gmail.com 443-359-7527 ADVERTISING SALES Frank Bottone frankbottone@gmail.com 410-430-3660 CONTRIBUTING WRITER Rota Knott 443-880-3953
127 Nottingham Lane Ocean Pines, Md 21811


July 10, 2023, 10 A.M.

To be held at the Marina Club in Captain’s Cove Subdivision 3323 Dock Ct., Greenbackville, VA 23356

The following properties will be auctioned:

Section/Lot: 3-1422, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100142200

Assessed Value: $72,800.00

Section/Lot: 3-1436, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100143600

Assessed Value: $67,500.00

Section/Lot: 3-1442, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100144200

Assessed Value: $71,500.00

Section/Lot: 3-1585, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100158500

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1588, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100158800

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1589, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100158900

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1615, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100161500

Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1622, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100162200

Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1629, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100162900

Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1657, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100165700

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1658, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100165800

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1698, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100169800

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1739, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100173900

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1746, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100174600

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1748, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100174800

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1750, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100175000

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1771, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100177100

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1798, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100179800

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1800, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100180000

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1805, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100180500

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1815, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100181500

Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1834, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100183400

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 3-1836, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A30100183600

Assessed Value: $4,000.00

Section/Lot: 4-1973, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A40100197300

Assessed Value: $5,000.00

Section/Lot: 4-2310, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A40100231000

Assessed Value: $187,400.00

Section/Lot: 5-2529, Captain’s Cove

Tax Map No. 005A40300252900

Assessed Value: $5,000.00

TERMS: Minimum Bids will be announced prior to the start of

the auction on the date of sale. Announcements made at auction time take precedence over any print, electronic, or verbal information, including but not limited to the Minimum Bid. Successful bidder will be required to deposit with Trustee a deposit (non-refundable) in an amount equal to the lesser of $5,000 or 10% of successful bid in cash or certified funds at time of sale, with the closing to occur within thirty days of the date of said sale. Written one-price bids will be accepted for any of the properties pursuant to the terms set forth in Va. Code § 55.1-1833. There is no warranty relating to right, title, interest, or the like in this disposition. Property is being sold pursuant to Va. Code §55.1-1833, and title will be conveyed pursuant to statute and subject to all liens or encumbrances as provided in said statute. All information for review by appointment only. Notwithstanding the Minimum Bids announced at the time of sale, the Trustee reserves the right to accept and/or reject all offers. Time is of the essence. Other conditions may be announced at the sale.

TRUSTEE: Pender & Coward, P.C., 222 Central Park Ave., Virginia Beach, VA Phone: (757) 490-6261

Email: capcove@pendercoward.com

50 Ocean Pines PROGRESS July 2023 CAPTAIN’S COVE


Hearn steps down as CCGYC president

Will stay on as a director, hopes resignation will trigger decision by Birckhead plaintiffs to drop lawsuits

In a shocker of an announcement following a special meeting of the Board of Directors on June 20, directors announced that Tim Hearn was resigning as president of Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club.

Also resigning was Roger Holland as a corporate vice-president.

Hearn is continuing as a member of the Cove association’s Board of Directors. Holland had resigned as a director in November of last year.

“CCGYC has prospered and thrived under the guidance of both gentlemen,” the Board said in a statement. “Just over a decade ago, the Association was flirting with bankruptcy; today, the value of the Corporation is almost $12 million. This remarkable turnaround results from the leadership that has been in place.”

The statement said the Board “is grateful that Mr. Hearn will continue to be on the Board to provide guidance and support.”

No successor to Hearn was immediately identified, but the statement said the topic of a new president would be discussed at an open meeting “in the near future.”

As a corporate vice-president and the only remaining one on the Board of Directors, Director Mark Majerus will be fulfilling presidential responsibilities pending appointment of a replacement, in accord with CCGYC by-laws and Virginia non-stock corporation law.

Colby Phillips, the CCGYC’s senior general manager, is also a corporate vice-president, one of the two with Majerus.

Hearn has been president of CCGYC for about ten years since 2013, with the exception of one year when Jim Silfee succeeded him. Hearn then returned as president when Silfee bowed out.

In an interview with the Cove Currents, Hearn said that he and directors Mike Glick and Silfee would be stepping back from participation in Cove affairs. He said they would be recusing themselves from votes, leaving the remaining

directors as the Cove’s primary policy-makers. Directors whose votes will control outcomes are Frank Haberek, Pat Pelino, George Finlayson, and Mark Majerus, with alternate Dave Felt also voting.

During the June 19 Board of Directors meeting, Hearn, who was presiding for the final time as president, announced that the directors with former or current ties to CCG Note, the Cove’s declarant/developer, would be seeking the advice of a working group of Board members and members of the Property Management Team on how to allocate CCG Note votes in the annual Board election.

The working group would be asked to recommend how CCG Note should allocate the 1080plus votes in its inventory in the annual election.

Hearn suggested that it might take a little time for a successor to emerge, especially if a prospective new president senses that he or she “might be a target” of critics in the way that Hearn often has.

Hearn said he was stepping down as president in the hopes that it would lower the po-

litical temperature in Captain’s Cove and help persuade those who have been engaged in litigation against CCGYC to drop the association as a defendant, enabling cost savings from escalating legal expenses from three separate lawsuits, all handled by the same Virginia Beach lawyer.

“It is my hope that [the voting Board members] can convince” Concerned Citizens of Captain’s Cove members that “their actions are causing long-term damage to the community. Those CCCC members may make a lot of noise, but their lack of strategy and planning is just creating a ‘murder-suicide’ financial event for themselves and CCGYC.”

He said that dues-paying lot owners are the “murder-corpse,” while the “suicide corpse” is comprised of homeowners who he said “will bear a larger percentage of future assessments as more and more of those dues-paying lot owners default as the community takes many steps back.”

But Hearn said that CCCC members are miscalculating if they believe their actions are taking a toll on the developer/declarant.

On the contrary, “those same actions are just making the Declarant’s profitability more likely, as it lowers the value of the unfinished lots CCG Note continues to purchase as it assembles blocks of lots to sell to builders.

“In addition, the CCCC faction seems to have no appreciation of how the collaborative discussions between the declarant and non-declarant property owners have led to lower operating costs, fewer capital expenditures, and increased cash flow for CCGYC over the past nine years, even though all of them were discussed and approved in open session,” he said.

Hearn said that if these lawsuits against CCGYC and CCG Note are not dropped, “I don’t see any willingness by the Declarant in continuing those [cooperative] efforts, as they will deploy those resources towards continuing its winning streak in the courts, where the bluster and disinformation campaign by CCCC and the Birckhead et al group continue to be exposed for being empty threats with no legal basis.”

Hearn said should the plaintiffs voluntarily drop their suits, CCG Note would be willing to step up and make land it owns in Sections 14 and 15 available for use as a dredging spoil site, either as a location for the transfer of spoil from Treasure Island, which has reached capacity and can no longer be used, or as a new dredge spoil disposal site.

Conversely, if the litigation continues, the developer won’t be willing to make its land available, thereby forcing the association to incur

July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 51 CAPTAIN’S COVE
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Directors vote to change recount rules

At the June 19 Board of Directors meeting, the directors voted unanimously for a by-laws change that will preclude CCGYC members during a recount of the annual Board election from reviewing other member ballots, an inspection process previously allowed by the bylaws.

Also at the meeting General Manager Justin Wilder reported that for the first time, the property management team will send a proof of the ballot in the annual Board election later this year to CCGYC auditors for a review before the ballots are sent out.

The Cove’s audit firm, Rosen, Sapperstein & Friedlander, LLC, will be handling the counting of ballots in the election.

Director Tim Hearn announced that CCG Note would like a recommendation from a work group that would be established to make recommendation on how votes associated with the developer’s 1,080-plus properties in Captain’s Cove should be cast in this year’s Board election.

The working group as proposed would be comprised of members of the property management team and the Operating Committee.

The proposal is part of a new effort by the developer to cede more control of CCGYC affairs to residents with no ties to CCG Note.

The developer has not had its officers as a majority of CCGYC Board members for quite some time.

Tim Hearn

From Page 51 substantial cost in finding an alternative, Hearn said.

Hearn informed his and Holland’s intentions to resign as CCGYC officers in an executive session following the June 19 meeting.

The resignations were announced following another executive session on June 20, after which the Board’s statement was released.

July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 53 CAPTAIN’S COVE

Troon audit shows $660,000 in ‘missing’ funds, Hearn says

‘Equity clearing account’ to be established as interim measure on the balance sheet to account for disputed cash

The Cohn-Reznick audit of Troon Golf financials for when that company managed the Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club for six months in the 2022-23 fiscal year is 95 percent complete, CCGYC Director Tim Hearn announced during the June 19 Board of Directors meeting.

The results of the audit are not particular encouraging, although cash disparities that Cove officials thought might exceed $1 million have settled in at roughly $660,000, Hearn said.

That disparity will be the subject of continuing litigation, unless Troon Golf is willing to make up the accounting shortfall by writing a check to CCGYC.

Pending a resolution of the dispute either in or out of court, Hearn said that Cove controller Sara Shifflett will be creating what he called an equity clearing account, a temporary way to account for the disputed funds on the CCGYC balance sheet.

Hearn said that Troon had not yet responded

to Cohn-Reznick’s identification of $660,000 in unaccounted for funds, but he made it clear that he and his Board colleagues are in no mood to write off the missing cash.

In fact, the identification of that much “missing” cash is a vindication of sorts, that the Cove association had good reason to terminate its operating agreement with Troon and to launch litigation and an audit of financial records.

Meanwhile, though, some budgetary challenges in the current fiscal year make it clear that CCGYC could use the cash that the audit so far indicates is owed.

In another announcement related to CCGYC finances, Hearn announced that the Cove auditors, Rosen, Sapperstein & Friedlander, LLC, has determined that the practice of not declaring delinquent accounts “bad debt” until they reached 270 days “was too generous.”

Hearn said the Shifflett would be “shrinking the 279 days to 91 days on the income statement, which “will make real losses [accumulated so far in the 2022-23 fiscal year] look even worse.”

He advised his Board colleagues if they are “violently opposed” to the accounting change, “we could swing it back to a year or more.”

But he suggested that the Board “should listen to the accountants” before making any decisions for next year.

Hearn then said that in his opinion deficits in operations so far this year “can’t continue for much longer,” and that the Board would need to have conversations with Senior General Manager Colby Phillips to come up with ways to reduce operating losses.

Some cost-cutting has already occurred, but Phllips is hoping that it will on the margins, not readily noticed by members.

Hearn put the operational challenges in perspective.

When he and his business partners assumed control of CCGYC ten years ago as part of the 2012 settlement agreement, he said CCGYC had $10 million in accumulated bad debts, and that has been reduced to about $6 million through aggressive collection efforts.

After legal expenses, the net in cash to the association has been about $2.5 million, Hearn said, crediting General Manager Justin Wilder for much of the progress.

Director Mark Majerus said in response to Hearn that roughly $400 of the annual dues are attributable to the failure of “those who don’t pay” their assessments, meaning that those who do pay are carrying those who don’t.

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Foreclosure auction July 10 at Marina Club

Twenty-six properties for sale, although some might drop off list before they’re sold

Pender and Coward, the Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club’s Virginia Beach attorneys, will conduct a foreclosure sale of Captain’s Cove properties on Monday, July 10, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Marina Club banquet room.

It’s the 15th foreclosure sale hosted by Pender and Coward since the association began using this approach.

The initial published list includes 26 properties for sale, but some might drop off if their owners pay off delinquent dues before the sched-

uled auction.

The Board of Directors at its June 19 meeting voted unanimously to participate in the auction to protect CCGYC interests as the foreclosure process proceeds. The outcome of such participation is that the Cove association frequently acquires title to the property.

Properties to be auctioned off include Section 4, Lot 2310, with an estimated value of $187,500 and three lots in Section 3. Lot 1422 on Harpoon Court has an estimated value of $72,800; 1436 on High Sea Drive an estimated value of $67,500; and 1442 also on High Seas has an

estimated value of $71,500.

There are two lots in the scheduled appraised at $5,000.

All the rest are basic unimproved lots with appraised values of $4,000.

During discussion after voting to participate in the auction, Director Tim Hearn suggested the creation of a work group to devise a new policy to pursue collection of “personal debt” associated with lots that are sold at foreclosure.

Hearn said that the debt, money owed the Cove Association often for years of delinquency, “does not go away” when the property is sold to a new owner at auction, unless the

total amount of the approved bid exceeds the amounts owed to the association.

He acknowledged that this becomes a matter of debt collection, which Pender and Coward and other law firms don’t generally handle.

“It’s hard core collection,” Hearn said, suggesting that a work group could hire a collections firm whose job would be to collect past dues on about 450 Cove lots with liens attached for failure to pay. He said that these lots represent a significant portion of the more than $6 million in aged accounts receivables carried on the CCGYC balance sheet.


Waterfront working group considers options to bolster depleted reserve account

Awork group established to figure out ways to bolster

Captain’s Cove’s waterfront reserve account met June 15 to consider five proposals, all of which if implemented could impose significant costs on canal-front owners.

The waterfront reserve was created to pay for annual canal dredging costs. Individual owners in Captain’s Cove are responsible for installing and maintaining their own bulkheads.

At the Board of Directors June 19 meeting, Director George Finlayson told owners that no decision has been made at the Board level to approve any of the five options.

During the Member Forum segment of the meeting, Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club member Carol Pedrick suggested that a portion of annual dues collected from property owners be allocated to the waterfront reserve. She said that estimated costs associated with the five options are all too burdensome for 336 canal-front owners.

The work group, chaired by CCGYC Director Mark Majerus, has not yet made a recommendation on which, if any, of the options should be accepted by the Board.

But the work group might be

getting closer to coming up with a recommendation. The panel was scheduled to meet again on June 29 to consider these competing options.

Majerus outlined the five options in a slide presentation during the June 15 meeting. He advised that some of the costs contained in these options may need to be updated with revised estimates.

“Some of the numbers are estimates as we await refinement [of these costs]. Others are based on quotes received in the past six months, which may no longer be valid. None of these numbers represent the final proposed fee. Timing of events can reduce some of the anticipated costs or change the payback period,” he said. A greater level of detail will emerge in a second pass of possible options.

“There are elevated costs of the [waterfront fund] for the next several years, but once the immediate costs are absorbed, it is anticipated that funding requirements should return to historic norms,” he said.

Complicating the matter is the fact that the Treasure Island dredge spoil site can no longer be used to store dredge spoils, unless its contents are removed. The work group and the Board are also grappling with costs associated with the association’s vandalized dredge boat.

Option 1 would use a third party vendor to continue the Cove’s annual dredging program.

Estimated vendor costs would be $425,000, with preparation of a new spoil site on developer-owned property in Sections 14 and 15 estimated at $100,000. Other costs include $90,000 for a bulkheads default cure, $20,000 for allocated depreciation of dredge equipment, $20,000 for Treasure Island spoil site closeout, and $50,000 to replenish the waterfront reserve account.

The total estimated cost of this option is $705,000. If the entire cost is assessed on 336 canal-front lot

owners, the waterfront assessment in fiscal 2023-24 would be $2,098.

Option Two would repair the existing dredge boat rather than hiring an outside vendor.

Estimated costs include $50,000 in payroll expense, $10,000 in supplies, $40,000 in repairs, $90,000 in a bulkheads default cure, $20,000 in allocated depreciation expense, $150,000 in Treasure Island cleanout, and $75,000 to replenish the waterfront reserve account.

The total estimated cost of this option is $435,000. If the entire cost of this is assessed on 336 canal front owners, next year’s waterfront assessment would be $1,295.

A third option would be to rent a dredge every year, as was done during the most recent dredge season because of vandalism to the Cove’s dredge boat.

Estimated costs of this option include $50,000 in payroll, $10,000 in supplies, $120,000 for rental, transportation and insurance, $90,000 in a bulkheads default cure, $20,000 in allocated depreciation, $150,000 in Treasure Island spoil clean-out, and $50,000 to replenish the waterfront

July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 59 CAPTAIN’S COVE CURRENTS To Page 60
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No decisions have been made on how to address anticipated shortfalls,but there are five options on the table

Waterfront reserve

From Page 59


Estimated cost of this option is $490,000. If assessed against 336 canal-front owners, next year’s waterfront assessment would be $1,458.

Option 4 would be for the purchase of a new or used dredge boat, resulting in three years of higher costs paying for the dredge.

Estimated costs include $50,000 in payroll, $10,000 for supplies, $90,000 for a bulkheads default cure, $120,000 in four years of allocated depreciation, $25,000 in interest costs, $150,000 to clean-out Treasure Island, and $50,000 to replenish the waterfront reserve.

Total estimated cost of this option is $495,000. If levied against 336 canal-front owners, next year’s waterfront assessment would be $1,473.

Option 5 would be a decision by CCGYC to discontinue the canal dredge program, but that is not without complications. Under CCGYC Articles of Incorporation, the Cove developer/declarant, CCG Note, could decide at its sole discretion to take over the program and bill CCGYC for the costs.

Estimated costs of this scenario include a CCG Note invoice of $664,125, $90,000 for a bulkheads default cure, $20,000 in dredge depreciation, $20,000 in Treasure Island spoil site close-out, and $50,000 to replenish the reserve account.

This option carries an estimated cost of $844,125. If charged to canal-front owners only, next year’s waterfront assessment would be $2,512.

Majerus said that Option One would result in the two largest cost items never going down. Option Two would eventually in the need to acquire a new dredge. Option Three would require annual dredge rental costs after the spoil site clean-out goes away. Option Four would result in three years of higher costs paying for the dredge.

Majerus said that under Option Five, CCG Note could dredge every year with no likelihood of reduced costs for CCGYC.

He added that insurance payouts, determination of unknown costs, and additional time phasing of expenses will further impact these estimates. Waterfront expenses never go to zero under any of the options under any timeline, but “but on a relative basis, it is clear that internally dredging is a more effective cost option.”

Property management team is hopeful that there will be minimal impact

The property management team and the Board of Directors are responding to a recent challenged by former Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club President and current director Tim Hearn to find ways to cut costs and increase revenues as a way

of improving the association’s cash position.

“The Board of Directors and Property Management Team are currently evaluating multiple options to improve our cash position which has been impacted by multiple pending legal litigations. Our goal is to have a minimal impact on the members u

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that does not result in long-term adverse outcomes on which we hope to be a short-term issue,” Senior General Manager Colby Phillips said in a June 23 statement to the Cove Currents.

She declined to specify options under consideration when pressed to do so.

But some cost-cutting measures have already been implemented.

Hours of operations at the Cove swimming pools have been cut back, as have hours when the reception desk at the Marina Club is staffed. It’s also possible that some live entertainment at the Marina Club on weekends have been scaled back, as fliers for live acts for some weekends have not been released.

Hearn in recent comments to the Cove Currents said the CCGYC cash position has improved somewhat from robust revenues at the Marina Club restaurant with the arrival of summer residents.

But he said that unbudgeted legal expenses continue to loom large, and that a key component of improving the association’s cash position should be the voluntary dismissal of pending litigation.

For the fiscal year that begins this Oct. 1, Hearn said that if the litigation continues to bleed association resources the only recourse will be to raise annual dues more than would otherwise be necessary.

He said that dues of $1800 per year, $300 more than the current $1500, would not be out of the question.

Meanwhile, though, the association’s financial condition is not so dire that a $500,000 CD with Taylor Bank would be tapped to help with ongoing expenses, he said.

“There is a normal fluctuation in our cash position, depending on the time of year,” he said. Cash improves right after invoices in the spring and fall are sent out.

Hearn said that in his view reducing salaries of the Cove’s top managers as a cost-cutting measure is not realistic.

There might be some consolidation of positions at the lower levels, he said.

While CCGYC salaries might be higher than smaller property owner associations on the Shore, Hearn said they’re not out of line when compared to larger HOAs in Worcester County.

In addition, he said that Cove department heads perform many tasks, including those that in some organizations of similar size are

handled by human resources personnel and administrative support staff.

“We don’t have those,” he said.

As examples, he said that Phillips has been spending a lot of time working with the association’s in-

surance consultant and broker on bringing the association’s insurance policies up-to-date, while General Manager Justin Wilder continues to focus on debt collection and compliance issues involving the Environmental Control Committee.

“All of this takes a lot of time, and they’re both doing an outstanding job in these areas,” Hearn said. Cost-cutting decisions will now be made by a Board of Directors without Hearn and directors Jim Silfee and Michael Glick casting votes.

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July 2023 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 61

Captain’s Cove annual dues headed higher

There are indications that Captain’s Cove Golf and Yacht Club’s $1500 a year in annual assessments will be increasing in the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

How much remains to be seen. Legal expenses related to ongoing litigation continue to concern the Board of Directors and the property management team.

One of the major drivers in the need for additional revenue are rising insurance premiums.

During the June 19 Board of Directors, Tim Hearn, presiding over his last meeting as CCGYC president, summarized the status of insurance premiums paid or owed by CCGYC. According to a graphic presented during the meeting, the Cove is liable for more than $200,000 in annual premiums.

Hearn said there has been a 500 percent increase in the deductible for directors and officers coverage related to the Birckhead litigation, and another 25 percent increase in the premium also related to that litigation.

“These increases will remain for the next 5-7 years due to the claims history now in place with the multiple lawsuits from Birckhead et al.,” Hearn said.

Other insurance increases include:

• A more than 35 percent increase related to increased value of physical assets, from $7 million to $10 million.

• A pending 250 percent increase, from 2 per-

It’s too soon to know for sure how much

cent to 5 percent) for wind deductible coverage for 2024

• Expected health insurance benefits to rise by 12 percent or more, based on recent activity from other companies by the CCGYC broker

• Claims still under review by the insurance carrier, from the December 2022 dredge vandalism.

Hearn reviewed a number of issues related to the 2023-24 budget process now in full swing. He commented on member input from recent budget work sessions as well.

“Many vocal members wanted CCGYC to detach from third party companies,” he said, “with all work performed in-house,” while staff would be “expected to deliver or upgrade the level of service.”

He said that if that strategy were followed, payroll and related expenses would rise.

Hearn announced one policy initiative that will probably be appreciated by golfers, a reversion to the old policy of including basic golf fees within the dues assessment for next year’s budget. Cart fees would continue to be charged prior to a round of play.

Hearn said that increases in guest fees and cart fees would be implemented “to help to offset” the projected loss of revenue from this policy reversion.

He mentioned another possible change in the amenity fee structure, noting that one suggestion from a recent budget work session was to charge a user fee to boaters, including CCGYC members,

at the marina boat ramp for use of the ramp.

The fee would cover the cost of stationing a security officer at the ramp every day to collect the fees. This idea was not universally embraced by everyone tuning in to the work session.

Hearn also took umbrage at recent social media posts regarding the waterfront assessment levied on owners of canal-front property.

He said some posts “intentionally and repeatedly misrepresent the language” in governing documents referencing “no less than $80” in the waterfront dues. He also cited a recent post that alleged that waterfront reserve funds had been “stolen” by other members, “as the poster knows that they have no proof of that having occurred.”

He then summarized recent discussions at the working group level on the issue of dredging.

[See separate article in this edition of the Cove Currents for details.]

Hearn also responded to social media posts alleging overly generous compensation being offered to CCGYC employees, which he disputed. He said that the Cove’s published organizational chart displays all positions, and that many include duties that in many organizations are performed by individual executive or administrative personnel.

In Captain’s Cove, he said, that there also is no human resources department; no compliance department; and no administrative personnel. Those functions are handled by the department and property management team leaders, which results in substantial savings in personnel costs.

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Majerus recaps recent Operating Committee issues

Operating Committee chair

Mark Majerus recently summarized issues and recommendations from his panel, established for the purpose of making recommendations to the Board of Directors and assisting the property management team as requested.

He made his remarks during the June 19 meeting of the Board of Directors.

He summarized two recent requests for use of Captain’s Cove facilities, one accepted, the other not.

The Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Department asked for support of its annual fund-raiser, including a block of golf course tee times and free golf carts.

The Cove also allows the GVFD to include a fund-raising letter in the fall and spring mailings for dues.

Majerus also said that a nearby summer camp requested use of the town center pool for 40 to 50 campers and staff.

“This request was denied as they are not members and the pools have not been opened to public use,” he said, citing insurance/liability concerns, capacity issues and impact on member use.

Noting Board approval of a bylaws change prohibiting review of election ballots by members, he said that a “second and separate” update of the by-laws are pending “as changes in Commonwealth corporate law and other contractual agreements have left some provisions out of date.”

Majerus also summarized activities of other work groups established for member input on a number of topics.

• Contractor/Vendor Restrictions. An initial meeting was held. Majerus said Captain’s Cove is not a municipality, and no vendor has a right to work within the Association.

Options discussed included establishing an approved vendor list or a list of problematic contractor/vendors, with the latter considered less labor intensive.

Majerus said that contractors can be disallowed at the Environmental Control Committee level “or those that don’t require ECC approval can be issued limited access via trespass process.”

General Manager Justin Wilder is working on the basic framework

of a new policy.

• Waterfront Fund – “A perfect storm of events have impact the current balance of the fund as well as upcoming financial needs,” Majerus said.[See a summary of this work group’s first meeting elsewhere in this edition.]

This work group’s next meeting is Thursday, June 29.

• Electronic voting - He said there is interest in the membership in voting electronically in annual Board elections. “While this is not permissible under our Governing Docu-

ments, VAPOAA [Virginia Property Owner Association Act] does allow for that provision with the proper approvals within the Association.

There is a work group established to review the possibilities and trades and make a recommendation to the Operating Committee, sometime later this year,” he said.

• Postal boxes - Majerus said there are a number of locations where these could be placed throughout the community, taking into account “consideration for the 2,000+ homes yet to come to the


He also noted that there is another working group looking at future road improvements. Among the areas to be improved include Mutiny and nearby streets, Seaview Street and Startboard Street, with the scope of work contingent on wetland delineations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Finally, he said that members of the Operating Committee are working with the property management team on a members comment card for use in the Marina Club.

JULY 12TH 6 PM -

Articles inside

Majerus recaps recent Operating Committee issues

page 63

Captain’s Cove annual dues headed higher

page 62


page 61

Waterfront working group considers options to bolster depleted reserve account

pages 59-60

Foreclosure auction July 10 at Marina Club

page 58

Troon audit shows $660,000 in ‘missing’ funds, Hearn says

pages 56-57

CURRENTS Hearn steps down as CCGYC president

pages 51-55


page 49

A random potpourri of issues

page 49

A more harmonious Board in our future?

page 48

Water taxi back for second summer in Ocean Pines

page 47

Art Hansen memorial youth fishing contest set July 15

page 46

Veterans Memorial Park to host Ocean Pines July 4 fireworks

page 45

OPA off to strong start with $150,000 May surplus

page 44

OPA reserve balance improves by $600,000 year-over year

page 43

Growth spikes in early amenity memberships

page 42

Commissioners maintain current tax rates in $235 million budget

page 41

County hikes Ocean Pines’ utility rates $12 per quarter

page 40

Candidates comment on currents events

pages 35-39

Third Board seat to be filled in this summer’s election

pages 33-34


pages 32-33

No new racquet building needed, OPA member says

page 32

Amy Peck appointed to Parks and Recreation Committee

page 31

OPA says it’s making election documents available

pages 29-30


pages 26-29

Yacht Club marina adds new electric pedestals

pages 24-26

New amenity to be available for use by the end of the year

pages 20-23

New B-08 resolution on ethics, conflicts of interest introduced

pages 14-20

Board revises M-06 to allow outsourcing of OPA elections

page 12


pages 9-11

Viola releases rough drawings of new Southside firehouse

page 9

Police chief announces retirement as probe drags on

pages 7-9

Third Board seat to be contested this summer

pages 1-7

Knupp defendant’s attorney files for change of venue

page 1
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