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March-Early April 2013

Vol. 8, No. 12

410-641-6029 www.oceanpinesprogress.com

New Yacht Club groundbreaking set for March 14

THE OCEAN PINES JOURNAL OF NEWS & COMMENTARY COVER STORY

RESERVE WARS

Directors split over assessments needed to fund ‘big ticket’ projects By TOM STAUSS Publisher

W

‘Minority’ directors who voted to reduce reserve funding during 2013-14 fiscal year budget process ...

hen the Ocean Pines Association’s board of directors approved a NEWS $13.896 million budget for the 2014 ANALYSIS fiscal year at the directors’ regular monthly meeting Feb. 23, raising the base lot assessment $41 in the process, the handful of residents who witnessed the formal adoption of next year’s budget may not have not been Marty Clarke Dave Stevens Ray Unger aware that there’s a real split among ... and thought the assessment increase should have the directors on just how much money been been less than $41 is needed to fund the OPA’s reserves. Reserve funding -- $3.9 million in the approved spending dollars that were intended for the so-called five-yearplan for next year --- is a major component of the budget every funding-plan component of the replacement reserve and year. another reserve fund designed to recover funds from Property owners certainly heard Director Marty Clarke previous years’ operating deficits. proclaim that the projected reserve balance at the end of the Clarke’s motion failed 5-2, with Director Ray Unger next fiscal year about 14 months from now is too high and that joining Clarke in supporting it. Had it passed, the the assessment did not need to be increased $41 to fund OPA assessment increase for next year would have increased operations and reserves next year. a modest $11, attributable to increases in operational They certainly witnessed Dave Stevens offer a motion to roll expenses in the portion of the budget under the direct back the proposed assessment increase by some unspecified control of Thompson. Contributions to reserves, in amount, at the same reducing the amount of assessment contrast, are driven by board policy, specifically the sodollars flowing into the so-called “historic” component of the called five-year funding plan of programmed $30 per OPA’s major maintenance and replacement reserve. lot increases in assessment dollars flowing into the Under Stevens’ motion, dollars that had been been allocated replacement reserve. Fiscal Year 2014 is the last year of to the “historic” component would have been shifted into the the five-year funding plan. golf drainage reserve that is in the red because outlays from While Unger supported the Clarke motion because the fund have exceeded transfers in recent years. it would have reduced the assessment increase by a Once drainage improvements on holes eleven and twelve are significant amount in percentage terms, Stevens couldn’t completed, along with related fixes on nearby Hingham Lane, quite bring himself to support it, although he came that reserve will be even further in deficit. Stevens tried to very close to doing so, voicing a degree of sympathy persuade his colleagues to reallocate funds to that reserve and to the notion that the OPA’s replacement reserve in its to resume drainage improvements next year, something that totality, especially the historic component which is tied OPA General Manager Bob Thompson did not include in his to funded depreciation of OPA capital assets, is projected capital budget for Fiscal Year 2014. for balances far in excess of what’s been typical in Ocean Stevens’ somewhat complicated motion drew support from Pines’ 45-year existence. only one director – Clarke – but what observers who attended Stevens at one point said he was inclined to support the Feb. 23 meeting may not have known is that Clarke, in the Clarke’s motion as a fallback, but he said his preferred board’s final budget work session a few days earlier, offered alternative was to divert funds that otherwise would be a motion that, in straightforward fashion, simply called for earmarked for the replacement reserve to golf drainage. a reduction in the assessment increase by $30, eliminating To Page 16

Ocean Pines Association General Manager Bob Thompson has announced that the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Yacht Club is scheduled for Thursday, March 14, at 9:30 a.m. at the construction site. A reception in the old Yacht Club will follow. Meanwhile, demolition of the old Yacht Club pool will begin the week of March 11, with construction of a new pool to begin once demolition is complete. The objective is to have the new pool open by Memorial Day weekend, and the new Yacht Club completed by New Year’s Eve.

Natural gas co. company proposes to ease conversions In what could be good news for many residents of Ocean Pines and other communities in Worcester County concerned about the costs of converting household appliances to take advantage of natural gas, there are indications that Chesapeake Utilities Corp. intends to “socialize” these conversion costs over the entire customer base in the county while avoiding a separate charge on monthly billings for them. Page 6

Board approves Yacht Club pool contract Parrish Pools of Hunt Valley, Md., has been awarded a $248,267 contract to build a new outdoor swimming pool and install new pumps and filtration equipment in a new pumphouse at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club, with the objective of completing construction and having the new pool pass a state inspection in time for Memorial Day weekend, when Ocean Pines outdoor pools traditionally open for the summer season. Whether that target date is realistic remains to be seen. Parrish can’t begin construction until demolition of existing pool and decking is completed by Harkins Construction, the general contractor responsible for deck demolition and raising up the pumphouse structure from below grade to the level of the pool decking. Page 8


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OCEAN PINES

March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS



3

 by ΣMAINSTREET CONSULTING©, 11021 Nichola Published

11007 Manklin Meadows Ocean Pines, MD 21811 • 410-600-0434 Securities OfferedLane, through LPL Financial, LLC Member FINRA

© Copyright 2010 MainStreet Wealth Management, LLC All rig

MAINSTREET CONSULTING© LPL Independent Investor May 2011

Managing Cash Flow in Retirement: Careful Budgeting Is S



 by ΣMAINSTREET CONSULTING©, When Published 11021retirement Nicholas Lane # 5, Ocean Pines, Maryland 21811 410-600 planning goes into reverse, shifting from accum Securities Offered through LPL Financial, LLC Member FINRA/SIPC flow becomes critical. © Copyright 2010 MainStreet Wealth Management, LLC All rights Reserved Securities Offered through LPL Financial, LLC Member FINRA/SIPC

LPL Independent Investor May 2011

Searching for Income: The ultimate goal for most retirees is making sure their assets la Alternative toflowFixed Annuties managing cash is more critical than ever. A typical Americ

more years--after mericans – the baby boomers will retirement. transition from work life to retirement. Without pensions to fall back on and with Social Security’s future in doubt, it’s no wonder many near-retirees retirees alike come are searching high and low for sources Whileand many variables into play depending on your incom Managing Cash Flow in of Retirement: Careful Budgeting Is Still the Key income. planning moves that can help retirees live within their means an For many, the search begins and ends with a fixed-rate annuity. Not only are these expenses. insurance contracts are and locked into a fixed rate of income, they can be costly, complex, When retirement planningand goesrequire into reverse, shifting from accumulating assets to living off investment and other in handing off control of your assets. What’s more, most won’t keep pace with flow becomes critical. inflation. Tools for the Task If you want to retain more control of your assets or just potentially build in some inIf you arealternatives retired or about to retire, you will need route. to gather flation protection, there are some to the traditional fixed annuity Butand o The ultimate goal for mostmost retirees is making sure assets last as long as they live. And because of increasing oftheir monitoring and managing your cash flow retirement. require increased diligence and may involve increased exposure toin various invest-The lp managing cash flow is more critical than ever. A typical American toasretire in his orbe herchanges mid-60s may expe ment and market risks. Before undertaking any financial sure to consult financial situation,electing as well anydecisions, significant you expec with your financial professional. more years after retirement. Market Value Adjusted (MVA) Annuities – This is a type of fixed annuity that lets an  rate Anfor up-to-date net-worth statement, provides investor lock in a fixed interest a term that can range from one which to 10 years. At a sn Veterans advocate While many variables come depending your income level, lifestyle and health there ar theinto endplay of each term, theon annuity company offers the investor a new considerations, interest rate. If the The well-being of veterans has been a major concern for many Americans, including those who are who planning moves that can help retirees live within and makeorappropriate adjustments response to cha investor approves of the their rate, means MVA annuity is renewed. If the investorindoesn’t want the A monthly annual budget, with itemized breakdown are members of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Ocean Pines - Ocean City. They recently heard from Michelle to renew, the principal can be withdrawn without surrender charges. The investor bears and expenses. Licata (left) of the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs, who is pictured with Kiwanis President Barbara a number of risks, including the risk that rates may rise while their principal is locked in at a lower rate. Additionally, if the investor wishes to it withdraw from the to If you haven’t retired yet, is a good idea tocontract prepareprior a projected Peletier after she spoke to the group. Licata is a state employee who works on behalf of Maryland veterans Tools for the its expiration, surrender account charges will apply. to assist them in getting veteran’s benefits from the federal government. She works in Salisbury andTask can be for all expenses, including those that occur infrequently Equity-Indexed (EIAs)and – EIAs have characteristics of both fixed andcan variable If you are retired or about to retire, you will Annuities need They to gather organize keyininformation before you theb reached at 410-713-3482 or at mlcata2@verizon.net for more information. be reflected your compared monthly budget onannuity, a tackle prorated annuities. Theflow opportunity for should a higher return exists when to a fixed of monitoring and managing your cash in retirement. The purpose is to give you a clear and complete picture budget, you may want to consult a financial advisor, a book on t but not as much as a variable annuity. EIAs are designed to give more potential return financial situation, as well(but as any significant changes expect. Two sources provide this information: greater risk) than a fixedyou annuity, coupled with lesswill potential return (and less risk) than a variable annuity. Analyzing EIAs offer athis minimum guaranteed interest rate combined with that information will reveal any major problems an interest rate linked to a provides market index (such asofthe S&P 500). Because ofcash theirreserves. guaran An up-to-date net-worth statement, which a snapshot your assets, debt and emergency or anrisk income compared with or proj teed interest rate, EIAs have less market than shortfall variable annuities and alsocurrent have the example, youtraditional may be able free up cash reducing debt or el potential to earn better returns than fixedtoannuities whenby the stock market  A monthly or annual with itemized breakdowns of yourrate, income andmeans expenses. risesbudget, but up to a stated maximum participation which your return will be ‘capped’ at a return when compare to the index it’s tracking. Regular Monitoring Retirement income funds, which operate like target-date funds for If you haven’t retired yet, those it isMutual aalready goodFunds idea to– prepare a projected budget in ofthe your retirement income andEven expenses. B and projections always subject to change. with re retired, arePlans the latest new product are mutual fund space. The funds are account for all expenses, including those that occur infrequently, such as insurance bills, college tuition and memb invested in an allocation living of stocks, bonds and cash that evolves pay divicosts in retirement, it is likelyover youtime. will Some encounter numero dends investors the option to If withdraw the income orcreating reinvest it. These They should be reflected in yourmonthly monthly– budget onhave a prorated basis. you need assistance net-wort your income and expenses will detect changes thatyour you can addr funds come in two varieties: andsubject non-perpetuity. Perpetuity funds attempt to budget, you may want to consult a financial advisor, aperpetuity book on the or resources that are available online. road. Experts often recommend monthly review of your budge balance capital preservation with income generation for asalong as possible, while nonsituation and you can keep trackNote of your w perpetuity funds pay distributions onlygoals. for a While specified amount of time. that situation these Analyzing this informationproducts will reveal problems thatand youreturns need tocan address, such asAsinsufficient cash reser are any still major very new and fees vary widely. with all mutual fund investments, is possible principal. BecauseItthe valueout of the fund emergency or an income shortfall compareditwith currenttoorlose projected expenses. maymarket also point areas for imp in market and the value of the underlying securities, example, you may be ablefluctuates to free upwith cashchanges by reducing debt conditions or eliminating nonessential expenses. your shares may be worth more or less than their original price when sold. Retirement income funds are subject to unique risks including, but not all-inclusive of, the risks of its Regular Monitoring underlying holdings and the markets they are invested in; volatility, interest rate, asset New allocation and underperformance risk.reasonable Retirementassumptions income fundsabout are not guaranteed at We Specialize in Kitchens, Bathrooms, Sun Rooms, Plans and projections are always subject to change. Even with investment returns, in time, including on or after the holders retirement date. living costs in retirement, any it isFixed-Income likely you will encounter numerous changes to your cash flow over time. Frequent m Porches, Enclosures, New Additions and Roofs Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) – The goal of a fixed-income UIT is to genyour income and expenseserate will adetect changes that youand canstable address in aoftimely fashion tolife prevent relatively predictable stream income over the of the significant trust. Theseproble securities operate review similar of to closed-end mutual funds are not activelyannual managed. Theyof you road. Experts often recommend a monthly your budget, as well as and a comprehensive review portfolios separately of municipal bonds, corporate bonds, intersituation and goals. Whileare youtypically can keep track ofcomprised your situation with paper and pen, specialized software may make national bonds, and government-backed or mortgage-backed securities and provide income on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Because the market value of the trust units fluctuates with changes in market conditions and the value of the underlying securities, shares of the UIT may be worth more or less than their original price when sold. Unit Investment Trusts (UITS) are a fixed portfolio of securities with a set term. Strategies are long-term; therefore investors should consider their ability to pursue investing in succesNewsletter 1 sive trusts and the tax consequences.

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4 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

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March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Directors reject request for permit fee refund

Saying it would set precedent for similar requests in the future, the Ocean Pines Association board of directors rejected a request for a refund of a home occupation application fee by one property owner. Al “Pop” Wendling sought an afterthe-fact approval of a home occupation permit from the OPA for his joke and

OCEAN PINES BRIEFS novelty business. “To make a long story short I am requesting my $30 refund for being misled concerning my application,” Wendling said in his written request to the board for a refund. He said he was told he could not put signs promoting his business on his porch but was never told he couldn’t

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locate them along Ocean Parkway. He further said it took a month to proceed through the permitting process with the OPA, only to be turned down, when he could have been looking for another location for his business. “Basically he wants his $30 back because he was rejected for a home business,” OPA President Tom Terry told board members of the request. Director Ray Unger said Wendling had placed signs advertising his business along Ocean Parkway and on his porch “without asking what he could do.” Unger opposed offering Wendling a refund. “I don’t think we should set a precedent for returning money,” he said. Director Marty Clarke asked if Wendling could have misunderstood the permitting process for a home occupation. Director Dan Stachurski the OPA has a lot of permits that it issues. Fees are associated with those permits in order to cover the cost of the work involved in evaluating those permit requests. “All of that work was done in this case. He has paid for the work that we did,” he said Clarke was the only director to vote in favor of refunding the permit fee to Wendling.

Clarke investigation costs OPA $11,300

The recent “investigation” of Ocean Pines Association Director Marty Clarke for several alleged transgressions against board decorum, a probe that yielded nothing of substance and ended without formal action against the director, cost the association $11,300 in legal fees, Clarke reported in a recent email to the Progress. The investigation, led by OPA General Counsel Joe Moore, got off to a rocky start when it turned out that the reported basis for the probe, a code of conduct

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regulating board member behavior, had been repealed by an earlier board of directors.

Board search committee to host open meeting

Ocean Pines Association’s 2013 Search Committee will host a public meeting on Monday, March 18, at 7 p.m. at the Ocean Pines Community Center in the East Room. The meeting will be open to association members and anyone interested in a position on the Board is encouraged to attend. The purpose of the meeting will be to outline the function of the search committee, describe the qualifications of the candidates they search for, outline the responsibilities of OPA Board members, and receive input from attendees about finding interested candidates. The Committee’s function will be to seek at least five candidates to run for the board of directors in this summer’s election. To be eligible a candidate must be the owner of record of property in Ocean Pines as of Jan. 1 of this year, eligible to vote as of May 15 and have completed and submitted an application to the Search Committee or Administration Office no later than 5 p.m. May 10. An application form may be printed from the Association’s web site www. oceanpines.org or obtained from a search committee member or from the Administration Office at 239 Ocean Parkway. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays (after April 28). Members of the 2013 search committee include Jim Beisler, 410-208-2682; Tom Sandusky, 410-208-3232; Ron Fisher, 410-208-6431; Janet Morse, 410208-9790; and Jean Louis 410-208-6219.

Platform tennis group hosts winter tournament

The Ocean Pines Platform Tennis club held its winter tournament on Feb. 16. The tournament was called the Paddle Battle and divided into the Adidas and the Nike teams. Play began at 8:30 in the morning as the rain clouds loomed over the four courts. The rain held off until the last half hour so only one round was cancelled. Linda Horst and Jean Hoffman, tournament co-chairs, tried a new format. Each participant played three 25-minute rounds. Thirty-six players entered the competition and a total of 276 games were completed before the rain caused the courts to be too slippery to continue. Scoring was based on the total number of games won by each team. The Adidas and Nike teams were evenly matched as the games were hard fought and scores close. Winning by just eight games, the Nike team was victorious. The entire committee consisted of Jean Hoffman, Linda Horst, Judi Mastrogianis, Diane Harris, Jim Freeman, and Don Pellicano. Following this event, the members lunched at DeNovo’s. The club’s next tournament is scheduled for June.

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OCEAN PINES


March-Early April 2013

Chesapeake Utilities proposes to socialize ‘behind-the-meter’ costs of natural gas conversions It appears the company intends to carry the idea of blended rates one step further by blending costs associated with converting appliances inside the home. Chesapeake may not demand an immediate conversion fee from customers but instead could roll these costs into monthly invoices, over time, making it easier for lower and fixed-income propane customers to agree to switch. By TOM STAUSS Publisher

I

n what could be good news for many residents of Ocean Pines and other communities in Worcester County concerned about the costs of converting household appliances to take advantage of natural gas, there are indications that Chesapeake Utilities Corp. intends to “socialize” these conversion costs over the entire customer base in the county while avoiding a separate charge on monthly billings for them. In documents on file with the Maryland Public Service Commission, the company that intends to roll out natural gas conversion in the county in the

coming years explicitly recognizes that many lower income and fixed-income residents in the county could balk at converting to natural gas if they face hundreds if not thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses related to converting their appliances from propane to natural gas. The documents on file are related to the company’s application related to its pending purchase of assets owned by Eastern Shore Gas Co., as well as a proposed rate structure for commercial and residential users of propane and natural gas in the county during a protracted roll-out of natural gas conversions. Former ESG assets would be trans-

ferred to a Chesapeake subsidiary temporarily called Newco in PSC documents. Earlier, Chesapeake had indicated that subject to PSC approval, its residential customers would be billed at an across-the-board blended rate that would charge all residential customers an equivalent rate, regardless of whether they are purchasing natural gas or propane. The blended rate would drop as more customers are converted to natural gas, and it would not matter which community in the county is the first to be converted. Every customer would benefit as the

OCEAN PINES BRIEFS From Page 5

OC Power Squadron among nation’s best

The Ocean City Power Squadron has been named among the top four squadrons in the nation as recognized by the Boat US/United States Power Squadrons’ Distinguished Squadron Civic Service Award. This is the most significant award honoring the best among the 420 squadrons of the USPS. The presentation was made at the power squadrons’ national meeting in Jacksonville in late January by National Chief Commander John Alter and Boat US Foundation’s Asst. Director of Boat-

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OCEAN PINES company completes more and more conversions and is able to replace its purchase of higher cost propane with lower cost natural gas, spreading the benefits to all customers with quarterly rate reductions. It now appears that Chesapeake intends to carry the idea of blended rates one step further by socializing what it calls “behind-the-meter” costs associated with conversion, at least those associated with appliances inside the home. The documents seem to suggest that Chesapeake won’t demand an immediate conversion fee from customers but instead will roll these costs into monthly invoices, over time. In effect, for purposes of rate-making, before-the-meter costs such as building transmission and storage facilities will be added to the costs of converting appliances to determine fair and reasonable rates for residential and commercial customers. While the PSC could decide to add some sort of separate conversion fee in the rates it approves for Worcester County, Chesapeake is not pushing for that because it says such an add-on fee would be confusing to customers not yet converted to natural gas. Implicitly, the company is suggesting that it doesn’t need any impediments to propane customers converting to natu-

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6 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

ing Safety, Ted Sensenbrenner. Serving communities along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, OCPS members were very involved in many community outreach programs in 2012 including cooperative charting, maintenance of their adopted park in Ocean Pines, and conducting a flounder survey for the Department of Natural Resources. The OCPS worked with the local Coast Guard Auxiliary to publish and distribute tide charts for the Ocean City area and provided fishing trips to support kids and families in the local “Believe in Tomorrow Program.” For more information about the OCPS, contact Commander Tom Quinn at 410-641-7329 or Executive Officer Mort Brown at 410-641-8040.

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Position: Administrative Pocomoke City Police Police are accepting applications Assistant for a full-time Administrative Assistant; this position requires a High School Diploma Pocomoke and previous experience. Call Ms. for Gayle Cityoffice/computer Police are accepting applications a full-time Administrative Assistant; this position requires Waters at 410-957-1600 or pick up an application at the Poa High School Diploma and previous office/computer experience. Call Ms. Gayle at 410-957-1600 or pick comoke Department located atWaters 1500 Market Street. Applications up an application at the Pocomoke Police Department located will accepted up toApplications March 30, 2013. City is an at only 1500 be Market Street. willPocomoke only be accepted up to March 30, 2013. Pocomoke City is an Equal Equal Opportunity Employer. Opportunity Employer.


OCEAN PINES Chesapeake utilities

7

March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS ciation, on the proposed method of handling conversion costs. According to the document, there is no opposition to this methodology among the groups, also including the Worcester County commissioners, contacted for comment. The Maryland PSC will be hearing testimony related to the proposed purchase of Eastern Shore Gas and related rate issues in March, beginning on March 13, in the commission’s 19th floor hearing room at 6 St. Paul St., in Baltimore, beginning at 1 p.m. The evidentiary hearing will reconvene as necessary March 14 and 15 at

10 a.m. at the same location. The proposed acquisition of ESG assets by Chesapeake in recent months has run into some opposition, with filings indicating that ESG’s unionized work force was objecting to it on grounds that jobs would be lost in what effectively would be a merger of ESG and Chesapeake. But in February, Chesapeake offered to hire every ESG employee on staff in the county, and there are some indications that the union that represents these employees may not fight the planned acquisition at the March 13 hearing or in subsequent filings.

q

From Page 6 ral gas or public relations difficulties with customers waiting for conversion. Some documents on file with the PSC seem to indicate that outside gas stoves and heated outdoor swimming pools would be excluded from this socialized approach to “behind-the-meter” costs. Customers with those items apparently would be required to retrofit or buy new stoves and pool heaters, at their own expense. An informed source who asked that he not be quoted for this article said that

one reason Chesapeake might be willing to absorb the upfront costs of household appliance conversion is that in most cases, appliances can be fairly easily retrofitted for natural gas, and the company will be able to develop good working relationships with contractors who will be authorized to handle these household conversions in an efficient and consistent manner. The objective will be to make the conversions as anxiety-free for homeowners as possible, the source said. One document said the company had solicited the views of stakeholder groups, including the Ocean Pines Asso-

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8 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

March-Early April 2013

OCEAN PINES

Board approves Yacht Club swimming pool contract Parrish Pools of Hunt Valley awarded project at slightly less than $250,000 By TOM STAUSS Publisher arrish Pools of Hunt Valley, Md., has been awarded a $248,267 contract to build a new outdoor swimming pool and install new pumps and filtration equipment in a new pumphouse at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club, with the objective of completing construction and having the new pool pass a state inspection in time for Memorial Day weekend, when Ocean Pines outdoor pools traditionally open for the summer season. Whether that target date is realistic remains to be seen. Parrish can’t begin construction until demolition of existing pool and decking is completed by Harkins Construction, the general contractor responsible for deck demolition and raising up the pumphouse structure from below grade to the level of the pool decking. Parrish is responsible for outfitting the pumphouse and pool with all the equipment needed to operate the pool as part of its contract with the OPA. Demolition of the existing pool and

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decking is expected to begin the week of March 11, Ocean Pines Association General Manager, Bob Thompson said. The vote approving the Parrish contract was 6-1, during a Feb. 20 board work session that dealt primarily with Fiscal Year 2014 budget issues. Director Marty Clarke dissented because he said the Parrish bid was more than $50,000 over the lowest bid for the pool project. He also said he checked references for Parrish in the local area and received mixed reports, with one area pool operator unaware of Parrish and another source giving the company a negative assessment. OPA General Manager Bob Thompson, however, told the directors that his management team had evaluated the bids and determined that Parrish’s proposal was the best among those submitted. In response to a question from Director Dave Stevens, Thompson said he had called references included in the Parrish bid and they all checked out, vouching for the company’s professionalism. In some cases, Thompson said that lower bids had old references that didn’t check out, or in another case the bidder used subcontractors rather than their personnel to complete the work.

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The latter situation, he has said, has caused problems for the OPA in the past. Thompson also said that he had discussed the proposed contract with Harkins Construction manager Don Smith, who Thompson said agreed with the Parrish recommendation. Harkins, under a change order subsequently approved by the board for the Yacht Club project, is the general contractor for the pool reconstruction project, with Parrish considered a sub-contractor under Harkins supervision. Thompson told the board that the Parrish contract includes a two-pump system, necessary in case of a pump failure, and a four-filter filtration system that can replace all the water in the pool in six hours, as opposed to the eight hours allowed under state regulations. He also said the new pool, to be built in the existing pool’s footprint but without a deep end, will include LED lighting, a rounded coping stone perimeter and a Diamond Brite surface, that he said would be an improvement over standard plaster and will be sturdier and more aesthetically pleasing. He said Diamond Brite had been endorsed by the Aquatics Advisory Committee. Thompson said these enhancements added about $48,000 to the cost of the pool but will be well worth the expense. No director objected to them. OPA President Tom Terry noted that Parrish uses its own personnel to complete all aspects of pool construction, while the second place bidder uses subcontractors, a factor that he said worked in Parrish’s favor. Clarke told Thompson that Diamond Brite will crack and delaminate if the pool is not kept filled over the winter, an observation that the general manager did not contradict. Clarke also said he understood that Parrish had been involved in drawing up the request for proposals (RFP) for the project, a comment that produced some Thompson push-back. “Walk carefully; it’s not what we did,”

the general manager told Clarke, who did not respond. After Stevens signaled his support for the Parrish bid based on Thompson’s assurances that he had checked out references, Director Sharyn O’Hare moved to accept the Parrish recommendation, prompting additional board discussion after Director Ray Unger seconded the motion. Thompson said the “cheapest price” is not always the best bid that produces the best product, and that his management team, including Facilities Coordinator Jerry Avela and Aquatics Director Tom Perry, had spent a lot of time pouring over and leveling the bids to come up with the Parrish recommendation. That didn’t impress Clarke. “My duty is to the membership, not the management team,” Clarke said. But in the end, his was the only dissenting vote. In a curious sidebar to the board’s discussion and approval of the Parrish bid, OPA General Counsel Joe Moore made public the fact that one of the losing bidders had complained about the bid process in a recent conversation with To Page 10

Chesapeake utilities From Page 7 Should the acquisition be approved by the PSC in the relatively near future, it seems unlikely that there will be any massive household and commercial conversion activity this year, but the proximity of a natural gas holding facility near Stephen Decatur High School and the nearby intermediate school could bode well for the conversion of these facilities before next winter, a source told the Progress. The filings indicate that in the first year of operation, all Newco customers would share in roughly $500,000 in savings related to natural gas conversion in the county.

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10 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

March-Early April 2013

By TOM STAUSS Publisher omewhat anticlimactically, the Ocean Pines Association board of directors during a Feb. 20 work session on the budget agreed to General Manager Bob Thompson’s long-held determination to keep the old Yacht Club open this summer while construction of a new facility is under way nearby. What persuaded most directors about the practicality of keeping the old Yacht Club open in a construction zone was the disclosure by Thompson that he was informed by Harkins Construction, contractor for the new building, that demolishing the old building before construction on a new structure begins would only save the association about $11,000 in construction costs. That amounts to a rounding error on

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OPA board ratifies Thompson determination to keep Yacht Club open this summer Directors approve decision when they’re told that closing the amenity would only save about $11,000 in construction costs the $4.3 million cost that has been approved by the board for the new Yacht Club. Thompson told the board that reopening the club for a St. Patrick’s Day special event in mid-March, after closing it over the winter months, and then closing it immediately after Labor Day for good after a last summer of business,

will be a service to those who use the amenity on a regular basis. Historically, the Yacht Club makes money for the association during the summer months, although this past August it managed only to break even. But Thompson suggested that keeping it open this summer would have no adverse effects financially on the associa-

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tion and that it might even produce a surplus for the OPA. Thompson also said that having food service at the Yacht Club available this summer would be appreciated by those who visit the Yacht Club pool. Director Ray Unger opined that it would be “silly” to close the Yacht Club this summer, but Director Dave Stevens, not persuaded by Thompson’s Harkins disclosure, said he’s doubtful that the new Yacht Club pool will be ready for use this summer and that if it is, patrons could be serviced from an outdoor grill. “The alternative (to a full-service Yacht Club) is partial food service,” he said. Director Dan Stachurski said the Yacht Club is popular with a “core group” and that he believes there will be a curiosity factor with the ongoing construction of a new building nearby that might attract customers. He said that by closing down the old building immediately after Labor Day, and staying closed until the new building is ready for occupancy, there is a good chance the amenity will meet or improve upon the $104,000 budgeted loss for the Yacht Club in Fiscal Year 2014. The directors then went on to discuss whether the new building will be ready for an opening New Year’s Eve party, with the general tenor of discussion suggesting that, with some slippage already in the timetable for construction, it won’t surprise any director if the new building isn’t open by New Year’s Eve. Thompson said he remained optimistic about the timetable but said that if it isn’t met, the consequences of that would be lower than anticipated expenses and, perhaps, a better bottom line. He told the board that after a launch party sometime next winter, if the New Year’s Eve opening isn’t met, he prefers to have the new Yacht Club open for banquets only until a spring launch of a la carte dining. One advantage to that approach is that it would not be necessary to operate two kitchens during slower winter months, he said. Some directors have asked Thompson to reconsider his preference for a go-itTo Page 12

Yacht Club pool From Page 8 public the fact that one of the losing bidders had complained about the bid process in a recent conversation with him. He previously had shared the gist of that conversation with OPA officials. There is no indication that the bidder in question intends to pursue legal action against the OPA. Board members didn’t seem particularly concerned about the disclosure. Moore did not detail the nature of the complaint in his public remarks. In a related development, Thompson told the board that Harkins Construction had agreed to accept $3,700 from the OPA as an add-on fee to supervise Parrish’s construction of the new Yacht Club pool.


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March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

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NARFE Chapter 2274 had as their February meeting guest speakers Michelle Parker, an Independent Living Specialist from Holly Community, Inc. and Zach Ironside, hearing Aid Dispenser from Audio Advantage Hearing Aid Center, both located in Salisbury. Shown from left: Zack Ironside, NARFE Chapter 2274 President Arlene Page, and Michelle Parker. All active and retired Federal workers are invited to NARFE’s monthly meetings. The next meeting will be at the Woodlands of Ocean Pines, on March 28. Doors open 11 at a.m. The meeting starts at 11:30. Interested persons can call Arlene Page on 410-352-3749 for more information.

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12 Ocean Pines PROGRESS By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer

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March-Early April 2013

ith nearly $1 million in delinquent assessments owed to the Ocean Pines Association, the board of directors is looking for ways to make property owners pay up. During the Feb. 23 monthly board meeting, OPA General Manager Bob Thompson and Legal Counsel Joe Moore outlined the process of filing a lawsuit in small claims court. Both said the cost of filing claims, particularly those of more than $5,000, and defending them, could partially negate any award from the court. Thompson said he was merely trying to point out some of the practical difficulties in trying to collect from delinquent property owners using methods other than the traditional lien-and-foreclosure process. In January, the board approved a motion made by director Marty Clarke instructing the general manager to publish the names of association members who have failed to pay charges levied by the association in excess of $5,000 and initiate legal action against those members for all money due and reasonable attorney fees. In his motion, Clarke said that the OPA’s declaration of restrictions, articles of reinstatement and board resolution F4 actually require that such action be taken.

Thompson, Moore point out challenges in pursuing delinquencies Board hears details of how recent motion on tougher actions to collect overdue assessments will be implemented by using small claims court In response to that motion, Thompson gathered a committee comprised of the OPA’s controller, assessment supervisor, legal counsel, treasurer, assistant treasurer and budget and finance committee chairman to review the financial impact on the association. The committee recommended exempting delinquent property owners who have established a payment plan with the OPA from legal action and reviewing all of the previous contact with those who owe back dues to determine if it is really likely the OPA will be able to collect the money from them. The committee also recommended initially exempting delinquent owners who live outside of Worcester County. Clarke said he had no problem with either recommendation.

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Thompson said the goal is to do some preliminary work “so the likelihood of recovery is improved and risk of throwing good money after bad” is reduced. “Let’s start it with a smaller group and see how it works out.” He said doing so limits the cost to the OPA as well as its risk “and we can see how the process works.” Moore said pursuing claims of $5,000 or more require representation by an attorney even in small claims court. However, for amounts less than $5,000 anyone could represent the OPA by the judge in small claims court. Clarke asked if the OPA could sue for an amount less than $5,000 and then later file suit to collect any remaining debt owed by the same property owner. Moore said the court may not allow that. Instead, he suggested that it may be more practical for the association to simply sue those with large outstanding debts for $4,999 in order to avoid having his office involved in the small claims process. “You can’t reserve that which you should have done and later sue on the same claim. Because the court is going to say you waived that claim,” Moore said. “Because it’s the same debt. It’s not a new debt.” OPA President Tom Terry said property owners who don’t live in Worcester County also have the right to have their cases heard in the county where they reside, adding to the cost of any lawsuit for the association. The OPA can file the case in small claims court in Worcester County, but the owner can ask to have it

Yacht Club From Page 10 slow approach to the new facility. Director Sharyn O’Hare said she would prefer if it would operate on a four-day-a-week schedule next winter to take advantage of the curiosity factor associated with a new building. The decision by the board to ratify Thompson’s decision to keep the existing facility open this summer follows the approval of a motion offered by Director Dan Stachurski in late January that directed Thompson to come back to the board with costs associated with demolishing the existing Yacht Club before construction begins on a new one. The applicable section of the motion read: “The General Manager is directed to estimate the impact on both the to-

OCEAN PINES moved to their home county, Moore said. Thompson added that even if the court finds for the OPA in small claims there is no guarantee of collecting the outstanding assessment money. He said the OPA will still need to try to garnish the wages of the property owner or their bank account. There are 63 property owners, some of whom have made payment plans, currently owing more than $5,000 to the OPA. Collectively they owe $355,000. Thompson said the estimated cost of pursuing those cases in court is $1,000 per case if the property owners contest the association’s claims of indebtedness. Clarke said those costs become the responsibility of the property owner when the OPA wins the case. Moore said the OPA can ask for reimbursement of legal fees but “that is up to the court. They can reject it.” Thompson outlined the current process for handling delinquent assessment accounts. He said any property owner who has not paid their assessment bill, which is due on May 1, will be sent an initial late payment notice on July 1 and a second in August. In September they will receive a certified letter that the OPA intends to file a lien on the property and in October such notices are posted on the property itself. Come November the OPA actually files liens, and by the following year legal proceedings get under way. By February the “most egregious” cases are selected for action and foreclosure, Thompson said. The OPA filed action in four or five cases that involved bank foreclosures in fiscal year 2013, 15 in 2012 and 26 in 2011. Thompson said he expects the FY 13 numbers to increase before the end of this fiscal year. Additionally, property owners were in bankruptcy in nine cases in FY 13, five in 2012 and 9 in 2011. In an effort to reduce the number of delinquent accounts, the OPA has made numerous “enhancements” to its collection process including trying to contact property owners who are in arrears by phone and additional mailings, searching county records and websites and To Page 14 tal cost of the Yacht Club project and on the 2013-14 budget if the existing Yacht Club is closed and demolished at the onset of work on the site,” the motion read. “If, in the considered opinion of the Board, the impact is favorable, the project plan, cost, and the budget will be adjusted accordingly.” Stachurski’s motion put in Thompson’s court the task of coming up with cost estimates for a result that he personally opposes, but he told the Progress that he will comply with the directive. He said that after he presented the board with the requested financial data, he expected that the board would concur with the decision to delay demolition of the existing building until after Labor Day. Despite some skepticism voiced by Stevens, that’s exactly how it all turned out.


March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

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14 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

OCEAN PINES

March-Early April 2013

OPA slips back ‘modestly’ into the red in January By TOM STAUSS Publisher he Ocean Pines Association slipped back into the red in January, but only modestly, recording a $6,272 operating fund variance for the month. Revenues were under budget by $35,979, while expenses were under budget by $29,707, resulting in very little change in the association’s cumulative financial performance for the fiscal year. According to Controller Art Carmine’s financial report for January, made public in mid-February, the association’s cumulative operating fund variance for the year so far is a negative $346,379, reflecting revenues under budget by $524,058 and expenses under budget by $210,976. New capital spending is over budget by $33,297. The Yacht Club’s operating deficit for the month was $28,474, $6,996 better than the forecasted deficit of $35,470. Still, the loss was actually greater than the amenity’s $25,861 loss in December, after which OPA General Manager Bob

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Thompson and Yacht Club Food and Beverage Manager Dave McLaughlin closed the club down for the season. Somewhat ironically, the club lost more in a month when it was closed than when it was open. Closure did not mean that all expenses simply vanished. Wages and benefits for the month topped $17,000, services and supplies came in just above $3,500, utilities cost about $6,000, and other costs came in at

$1,900. Net revenues of $134 were insufficient to offset these costs. By closing the facility, the OPA saved money relative to budget in wages and benefits, services and supplies and utilities. For instance, the approved budget had forecast $40,848 for the month in wages and benefits, but the actual amount was $17,114, $23,731 better than budget. The utilities’ savings was about

$3,000, and the services and supplies line item had a $3,700 positive variance to budget. Through the first nine months of the year, the Yacht Club has an actual loss of $105,725, with a negative variance to budget of $108,681. Golf is the worst performing amenity three quarters into the fiscal year, with a year-to-date actual loss of $288,086

Delinquencies

financially. The increase in the number of property owners on payment plans is the result of the OPA’s efforts to follow up with those in delinquency. OPA President Tom Terry said that for property owners who are in debt to the association, setting up a payment plan “might hold off foreclosure.” But if they do not follow through with making payments “then you go through the whole process and just keep going,” he said. The OPA also offered property owners the opportunity to take advantage of a prepayment plan to pay their current assessments in segments prior to the May 1 due date. Thompson said that is a program “for those who don’t want to see a large bill” come in the spring. “In-

terestingly enough, we’ve seen a large increase in those as well,” he said. For FY 2013 the OPA had 169 on a prepayment plan, as compared to 164 in 2012 and 133 in 2011. Director Dan Stachurski asked for clarification about the voting rights of property owners who are on payment plans for past due assessments versus those who are prepaying assessments for an upcoming fiscal year. Those who are paying back assessments are not eligible to vote in board elections or referendums or to purchase amenity memberships; property owners who are prepaying their assessments have full rights to do all of those things as long as their dues are paid in full by their May 1 due date.

From Page 12 even performing Internet searches to locate absentee owners. All of that is done to try to at least get them on a payment plan with the OPA. For delinquent 2012 fiscal year assessments, 250 property owners are currently on payment plans as compared to 121 for FY 2011. “These are the folks who have made regular payments,” Thompson said, but added that there are others who make sporadic payments as well. “We have worked very, very hard for those who are in delinquency to engage with them in any way,” Thompson said, adding that a lot of people are struggling

t

Yacht Club still loses $28,000 for the month despite winter closure

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March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

OCEAN PINES OPA finances From Page 14 and a negative variance to budget of $305,907. Golf and golf-related food and beverage operations (Terns Grille and upstairs at the Country Club) performed better than budget by $16,422, but still lost $51,817 for the month. Aquatics lost $29,210 for the month, with a $6,832 negative variance to budget. Golf generated revenues of $35,670 for the month, which exceeded the budgeted forecast of $29,510, for a $6,160 positive variance. Merchandise, food and beverage costs totaling $9,942 exceeded budget by slightly more than $9,000, resulting in net revenues of

$25,727. That was $2,846 less than the budgeted forecast of $28,574. Unlike December, when a Progress analysis showed that golf-related food and beverage operations more or less broke even, January generated a loss. Food and beverage revenues were $10,543; net revenues were $5,748. Food and beverage labor came in at $7,500. Aquatics for January produced a $29,210 operating loss against a budgeted loss of $22,378, for a negative variance to budget of $6,832. For the year, aquatics is in the red by $63,108, with a negative variance to budget of $81,407, proving rather definitively that aquatics was aggressively budgeted for the year. Among the departments funded mostly from lot assessments, police, rec-

OPA Net Financial Operations through Jan. 31, 2013

reation, and public works all produced negative variances to budget. The police department’s negative variance was $11,376, followed by recreation’s $10,629 and public works’ $9,219. Status of reserves – A reserve summary released as part of the January financials shows that the OPA’s total reserve balance through Jan. 31 stood at $6,207,642, a modest drop from December’s $6,397,755 balance. November’s balance was $6,991,574. The balance in the roads reserve is a negative $53,746, compared to $411,039 at the end of November and $14,095 at the end of December, reflecting payments for road repaving completed last year. The bulkhead and waterways reserve

15

also has fallen from December’s balance of $681,147. The Jan. 31 balance is $566,890, reflecting $496,481 in bulkhead replacement expenses for the fiscal year, against $822,367 in assessment contributions, mostly from the waterfront assessment differential. The major maintenance and replacement reserve remains as the OPA reserve most flush with earmarked assessment dollars. Its Jan. 31 balance of $5,576,667 is little changed from December’s $5,579,803 balance. The reserve summary indicates that $1,234,234 comes from the five-year funding plan stream of revenue with another $4,342,433 attributable to historical depreciation expense and prior year allocations to this reserve from assessment revenues. The approved $4.3 million expenditure for a new Yacht Club will take a substantial bite out of the major maintenance and replacement reserve whenever it is spent. The intent when the current year’s budget was approved last February was to spread the construction cost over at least two fiscal years. Each year, the OPA collects between $3 million and $4 million in assessment dollars that are allocated to various reserves. What is depleted in the form of capital expenditures is replenished by this infusion of new assessments. Casino revenues – The OPA continues to reap local impact funds for casino operations at Ocean Downs and elsewhere in the state. Through November, the OPA had collected $435,562 in casino funds. The December balance sheet showed that number reduced to $49,562, with $400,000 of casino money transferred to the roads reserve, consistent with board of directors policy. The Jan. 31 balance sheet shows that the casino fund has grown to $63,918 from December’s $49,562, meaning that total funds collected from casino operation through January total $463,918. The pattern indicates a slowdown in casino impact funds flowing to the OPA. The board of directors last year decided to use casino funds for road improvements, beginning in the current fiscal year.


March-Early April 2013

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Reserve wars

From Page 1 He devised a motion for consideration at the Feb. 23 meeting that would have accomplished that, while also reducing the assessment consistent with Clarke’s failed attempt to do so a few days earlier. But Stevens lost Unger, most likely because his colleague was not sold on the idea of shifting funds to pay for more drainage improvements on the golf course. Thompson has said he will consider adding funds to the golf drainage reserve, and resuming drainage improvements, in Fiscal Year 2015. Even so, the two failed attempts to reduce or eliminate the assessment increase next year had three directors in favor of competing proposals on how

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to do so. The 4-3 split was not evident to those who witnessed board action approving the budget Feb. 23 and could foreshadow some intense board debate when the board tackles reserve funding levels in more detail later this summer. Thompson has been given a June deadline to compile and submit for board review a “racking and stacking” of proposed capital spending projects in the coming years. In recent conversations with the Progress, OPA President Tom Terry and Director Dan Stachurski have indicated they are keenly interested in that proposed capital spending list. Stachurski has said that he wants to compare that “racking and stacking” against projected reserve balances over the next five to ten years, with an eye towards determining whether projected funding streams into those reserves are sufficient to pay for all that projected spending for capital improvements and asset replacement. He explicitly said that it’s possible that in fact the OPA could be collecting more than is necessary to pay for anticipated projects. “It’s possible that we’re collecting too much and if we are, it’s possible we can reduce the assessment (from where it will be in Fiscal Year 2014),” Stachurski said. Neither Stachurski nor Terry were willing to cut the assessment this year before Thompson completes his rackingand-stacking exercise, and they formed the four-member core of directors who supported the portion of next year’s assessment increase related to funding the reserves. Terry told the Progress he was unwilling to abort the five-year funding plan because he’s not sure that the present level of assessment contributions from property owners isn’t necessary to fund future big-ticket capital projects. That position incenses Clarke, who said that having too much money in reserves serves as a temptation to spend foolishly. He cited the board’s aborted effort to purchase the Pine Shore Golf property in an all-cash offer that he said would have depleted the association’s replacement reserve by just less than $1.5 million had the bank that owns the property accepted the OPA’s offer. To Clarke’s way of thinking, there is no way the association will be able to spend the roughly $40 million that will be extracted from property owners in the form of reserve contributions over the next ten years, based on the current’s year’s reserve funding of $3.9 million. “We treat our replacement fund as a slush fund to pay for unbudgeted items,” he said, citing golf green replacement and the Sports Core pool enclosure as examples. “We need to have less money in the reserves available for that sort of unbudgeted spending in future years.” Playing some role in the board majority’s support for a 2014 assessment increase was a document prepared by former board member and current assistant treasurer Pete Gomsak, who q

16 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


From Page 16 plays an outsized role in influencing board budget policy despite opting not to run for reelection last summer. Current OPA treasurer Terri Mohr has made no secret of the fact that she relies on Gomsak’s expertise as a certified public accountant, more than once admitting that she lacks expertise in the arcana of budgets and financial management and that she is “smart enough” to seek expert advice given her background. Gomsak’s document, titled overview of replacement reserve account, purports to show a funding shortfall in that reserve of $10,101,000 as of April 30, 2012. A copy of that overview was circulated to board members prior to the board vote raising the assessment by $41 in next year’s budget. It appears to have had an impact. The document lists depreciable assets held by the association, at cost, in the amount of $25,829,000, excluding roads, and accumulated depreciation of OPA assets, also excluding roads, of $13,403,000. Roads were excluded from the depreciation total because, historically, the OPA has not funded roads depreciation or used the replacement reserve to fund road improvements. The document then itemizes the amount in the historical replacement reserve at $3,202,000 as of April 30, 2012. Subtracting $3,202,000 from $13,403,000 yields what the document calls a shortfall of $10,101,000. Clarke and Stevens, when questioned by the Progress about the alleged shortfall, both called it a meaningless number. “It suggests that for some reason we need to have enough in our reserves to cover the cost of our accumulated depreciation,” Clarke said, “or even worse, the replacement costs of all our depreciable assets. That’s crazy. We don’t need that kind of money. We will never in a million years need to replace all of our assets in any single year. We need to have resources to pay for asset replacements that can be anticipated over a reasonable period of time.” Based on the current $3.9 million earmarked for reserve contributions in next year’s budget, roughly $40 million will be collected from property owners in the next ten years and earmarked for the reserves. Subtracting roughly $10 million of that for bulkhead replacement – there’s a separate reserve fund for that purpose -- that would leave roughly $30 million that could be spent on anything from new police cars to renovation of the Country Club, or even the resumption of golf drainage improvements that Stevens has been very publicly advocating throughout the recently concluded budget process for Fiscal Year 2014. “There is no way in hell that we will need $30 million or even $25 million for all of our capital needs in the next ten years,” Clarke said. “And if we don’t need

March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Little support from board for Stevens’ motion to reduce 2014 assessment increase Proposal would have funneled money from reserve to roads repaving and golf course drainage By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer

D

irector Dave Stevens’ proposal to slash the property assessment increase in the fiscal year 201314 Ocean Pines Association budget and redirect other funding from reserves to road and golf course improvements failed to garner majority support during a Feb. 23 board meeting. Stevens offered a motion to reduce the overall budget by $760,230, or a total of $90 per property in assessment dollars, and to make further budget adjustments that would have reduced this year’s proposed assessment increase by $30. The proposal failed in a 5-2 vote of the board. Director Marty Clarke joined Stevens in voting for it. By reducing the contribution to the depreciation-linked “historic” component of the major maintenance and replacement reserve fund, Stevens said $337,880, or $40 per property, could be placed in the golf drainage reserve. That would have allowed the OPA to start work on drainage improvements at two holes this coming year, taking no more than one hole out of play at a time. Additionally, $168,940, or $20 per property, could be directed into the road reserve fund, Stevens said.

Stevens argued that those proposed adjustments to the budget would begin to restore the balance of the “historic” component of the replacement reserve to its originally intended balance of $2.5 to $3 million. At the same time, he said his proposal took into account the fact that the historic component must remain somewhat inflated until the money borrowed from it for other projects is returned and an adequate balance is maintained. He said that based on the OPA’s proposed FY 14 budget during the next four years, the historic component of the replacement reserve fund’s balance will still be well more than its originally intended goal. Under his proposal, Stevens said the so-called five-year funding plan, including operational deficit recovery, would continue as planned through its final year. Redirecting funds to the roads reserve would complement the money provided by the Ocean Downs Casino that the association has designated for roads improvements, Stevens said. He added that it would bring the roads reserve contribution closer to where it was when state highway user funds were available. It would enable the continuation of the aggressive and well-planned program that was in place before the funds were cut. It would also support the necessary bridge repair work that is required this year, he said. Redirecting funds to the golf drainage reserve would enable the more rapid completion of what he said had been

17

a very successful golf drainage program that until a few years ago was approved by multiple boards of directors over a period of five years, Steven said. “We’ve invested a lot of money in the golf course,” he said, adding that now is not the time to get sidetracked. “We have holes that are in really bad condition and have been for a long time. This is a well worthwhile expenditure of funds to do this.” Clarke gave a second to Stevens’ motion, saying he did not see any negative long term effects of the revisions to the reserve funds. The OPA “will still have $7 million in the bank” in May of 2014, he said, with golf course green replacement and a new Yacht Club fully paid for, with the “historic” component of the replacement reserve in effect providing the financing for it. Stevens said his proposal would have no impact on providing funding for the OPA’s “replacement needs going into the future,” a list that includes both large and small projects. “I would maintain that it has no effect on that list,” he told his colleagues. He further said the board never intended the replacement reserve to cover major projects. He said the OPA’s fiveyear plan was created to fund items that would cost more than $500,000. OPA President Tom Terry said the money in the historic component of the replacement reserve fund is there to cover the cost of “real deprecation for things that will have to be replaced.” He said Stevens’ motion was an inaccurate oversimplification of the reserve fund’s purpose. “You’re talking about utilizing the depreciation of an asset. You are redirecting the depreciation of this asset in order to pay for something else,” he told Stevens. “So that we don’t have to money to replace this other asset.”

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OCEAN PINES Reserve wars


18 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

March-Early April 2013

By TOM STAUSS Publisher fter almost two months of at times tedious diving into the weeds of the proposed Ocean Pines Association budget for Fiscal Year 2013-14, the board of directors on Feb. 23 approved it with relatively little drama. OPA Director Dave Stevens, supported by Director Marty Clarke, tried but failed to convince his colleagues to cut the base lot assessment embedded in the budget by a significant amount. [See separate story elsewhere in this edition of the Progress for details.] The approved budget calls for a $41 assessment increase, $2 less than proposed in General Manager Bob Thompson’s draft budget, and a five percent increase in most amenity fees, those that haven’t seen any change in the past five year. Base lot assessments will increase from $873 to $914. Assessment invoices should be arriving in property owner mailboxes very soon. Those who pay up promptly are eligible to purchase prepaid annual memberships in golf, swimming and tennis. The approved budget calls for departmental revenues of $9,686,289 and expenditures of $9,606,784, very close

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Stevens’ motion From Page 17 Director Dan Stachurski said the estimates for replacing the OPA’s facilities “are changing rapidly” and many are no longer usable because they are so old. He said the general manager has been charged with putting together a new capital plan for review by the board in June. “I can’t sit here and agree that taking $30 out of the reserves is right or wrong at this time. All I know is if you don’t have that $30 in the reserves in June, where are you going to get it?” Stachurski said. He told Stevens that he has “got a lot of changing to do here if you want to start changing these numbers.” Pete Gomsak, assistant OPA treasurer and a former board member, presented an overview of the replacement reserve account as of April 30 of last year. He said the question of how much money is needed in the replacement reserve account continues to surface. Gomsak said the purpose of the account was to deposit annually in that reserve an amount to cover depreciation expense for OPA facilities and to withdraw from it all the required funding for all those items that are being replaced in a given year. The way the OPA has chosen to fund its replacement of capital items is by incorporating depreciation into the annual dues, he said. Since the OPA has chosen to fund depreciation, it should have in that reserve account at any given time the amount of money equal to the depreciation for all of the association’s assets, Gomsak said. He added that as of April 2013, accumulated depreciation was at $19 mil-

OPA board adopts $13.56 million budget for next year Assessments to increase by $41, $2 less than in general manager’s draft budget. Most amenity fees to increase by five percent, as initially proposed. Most of the assessment increase is attributed to the final year of the so-called five-year funding plan. to Thompson’s draft budget, which had revenues and expenses balanced at $9,667,408. These totals, in turn, were very close to what the board approved a year ago for the current fiscal year. The current year’s budgeted departmental revenue number is $9,696,358; budgeted departmental expenditures are $9,623,819. Relative to forecasts for actual department performance this year, however, the approved budget represents more significant changes. On the revenue side, the current lion, of which about $5.7 million is for roads, which were traditionally funded not through the annual assessment but by state highway user funds. Theoretically, he said, that means the OPA should have more than $13 million in the reserve fund for depreciation but really has a little more than $3 million. At the same time the replacement cost for the facilities is increasing. “Inflation, ladies and gentleman, has taken its toll,” Gomsak said. The OPA has been putting money into the reserve accounts to cover depreciation of its facilities but there is not enough to cover replacement expenses, he said. “There are many ways to use depreciation,” Stevens said, adding “those ways are what we’re talking about.” He later said there is no reason why the OPA needs to have in the replacement reserve a balance sufficient to cover the depreciation of OPA assets. Clarke also told the Progress in a subsequent conversation that Gomsak’s view is wrong because it never will be necessary to replace all of the OPA’s assets in any given year. He said Gomsak’s view would lead to significant overfunding of the replacement over time and assessments much higher than they need to be to cover capital spending in the future, along with routine replacement of lower cost items. Stachurski said Stevens’ motion would transfer money from the historic reserve fund for use for purposes other than that which the fund was established. Therefore, the motion would have to be approved by a super majority of the board, with 5 out of 7 directors voting in favor, he said. As it turned out, the motion didn’t garner a majority vote, let alone a super-majority.

year’s forecast is $8,986,595. The approved departmental revenue budget calls for $699,694 more in revenue than this year’s predicted actual performance. On the expenditure side, the current year’s forecast is $9,269,521. The approved departmental expense budget calls for $337,263 more in spending over

this year’s predicted actual performance. The approved budget also anticipates another year of hefty capital expenditures from reserves, $4,330,100, much of it related to construction and equipping and furnishing of a new Yacht Club. In addition to $3.3 million in Yacht Club construction expenses – some expenditures for the new facility are being incurred this year – the approved budget includes $184,400 for new Yacht Club kitchen equipment and $39,000 for new furniture. Other significant capital expenditures included in the budget are $100,000 for a new dump truck, $60,000 for Sports Core pool resurfacing, and $60,000 for new golf cart batteries. [See the complete capital expenditure list published elsewhere in this edition.] Another $55,005 to be expended in Sports Core pool enclosure loan principal brings total budgeted spending for next year to $13,991,889. It balances with a total revenue number of an equivalent To Page 20


March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

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OPA budget From Page 18 amount, including capital from reserves. The approved budget notably budgets deficits in golf operations, aquatics and the Yacht Club, with all three budgeted for improvement over current year forecasts. The approved $41 increase in assessments includes $26 for the five-year funding plan component of the major maintenance and replacement reserve and another $4 for the operating fund recovery reserve. Another $3 is going toward amortizing golf drainage improvements, with $8 attributable to increases in operating costs. As part of its budget guidance in preparation of next year’s spending plan, the directors told staff that it should strive not to increase the operations side of the budget, a goal missed by only $8. The $26 for the five-year funding plan represents the fifth and final year of that program, which was designed to collect additional resources for major capital expenditures over time, to help with the replacement , rehabilitation or repairs of Ocean Pines’ inventory of aging facilities. The $4 allocated to the operating fund recovery reserve will go to offset OPA operating losses from 2007 to 2009. The approved increases in amenity membership fees – golf, swimming and tennis fees among them-- do not include Beach Club parking fees, marina fees and weekly pool and tennis memberships, which have been increased in recent years. But daily user fees at the pools are increasing by $1, with the cost of an electronic pools pass increasing by $5 to $35. The approved spending plan includes increases in salary and related costs of 1.7 percent over what was approved for the current year, but 4.7 percent over

the most current projections. The approved budget anticipates that golf operations, projected to lose about $500,000 in the current fiscal year, will improve next year to a $350,000 loss. The approved budget forecasts an operating loss of $105,000 in Yacht Club food and beverage operations next year, compared to this year’s forecasted loss of $142,000. That’s based on the assumption that the old facility will close for good immediately after Labor Day and the new Yacht Club will open for the first time for a New Year’s Eve party. The budget also assumes that next winter the new facility will be open only for banquets, but that may change, as some OPA board members are urging Thompson to open it four days a week for regular dining during winter. The Yacht Club budget is somewhat speculative because no one knows whether in fact the new facility will be open by the target date. If not, Thompson said it could actually help the bottom line because operating expenses during a time of the year when the Yacht Club loses money would probably be reduced from what otherwise could be anticipated. Changes in the approved budget from what had been included in the draft budget in January were relatively modest. In addition to decreasing the assessment by $2, the approved budget decreased supply expense by $504, added sponsorship revenue to the recreation department in the amount of $7,000, and added $34,050 in projected marina revenues. The draft budget had included no “new capital” items funded out of the current year’s assessment, but the board added a handful of capital expenditures, including $1,000 for a batting cage at the Southside ballfield, $6,000 for security cameras and $2,000 for an AED unit at the Community Center.

OCEAN PINES

OPA board disposes of numerous policy issues in run-up to budget OK Directors elect not to fund roads depreciation by increasing lot assessments even more than the $41 increase that’s been adopted for Fiscal Year 2014 By TOM STAUSS Publisher s the board of directors continued to labor over the 2013-14 Ocean Pines Association budget in the run-up to its formal adoption Feb. 23, the OPA’s elected policy-makers discussed and finally resolved numerous policy issues that arose during their budget review sessions that took place in the latter part of January and February. The directors: l Reduced the proposed increase in base lot assessments from $43 to $41, with $11 of that attributable to operations and $30 for increases in contributions to the OPA’s reserve fund. l decided not to fund $384,000 in roads depreciation or to incorporate that expense into the roads reserve, after OPA Art Carmine told them that roads depreciation has never been funded in his years with the OPA and that roads depreciation is not, nor ever has been, reflected in the OPA’s replacement reserve balance. OPA Director Marty Clarke had pro-

A

posed shifting roads depreciation out of the replacement reserve to the roads reserve, but Carmine said in effect that such a shift can’t be done because roads depreciation is not “parked” in the replacement reserve to begin with. Once it became evident that roads depreciation has never been funded, on the theory that road maintenance has had a dedicated funding source, for many years state gasoline tax revenues and more recently casino local impact funds, directors voiced little interest in starting to fund it through the lot assessment. That apparently would have required an assessment increase over and above that which had already been baked into the budget, and there was no appetite for that. l agreed not to increase the police budget by $100,000 or more to reflect additional revenue the board hopes to collect from Worcester County officials after an energetic lobbying effort for more county funding. l inserted batting cages back into the capital budget at a cost of $1,000. l vetoed paving the Beach Club parking lot to squeeze out a few more parking spaces. l heard a report from OPA General Manager Bob Thompson that hazard insurance for Ocean Pines swimming pools, currently not covered, is not available as a rider to existing policies, nor can it be purchased separately. l decided to accept Thompson’s recommendation not to demolish the old Yacht Club before launching construction of a new facility. l decided not to cut the police department budget from what had been proposed in Thompson’s original budget draft. Clarke had advised his colleagues that the proposed budget was $258,538 more than the department’s five-year average, equivalent to $30.66 per Ocean Pines property. His colleagues were not persuaded to make any changes in the police budget, with Director Sharyn O’Hare voicing strong opposition to any cuts. l took no action for budgetary purposes on asking individual employees to share in the cost of their health insurance premiums (additional family members require cost-sharing). Discussion of this topic during the January review sessions suggested that there wasn’t a board majority that would favor this change in time to affect the 2014 budget. l opted not to set aside $320,000 representing $27 in higher lot assessments in the golf drainage reserve to pay for drainage work currently under way on holes 12 and 13 and Hingham

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20 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


OCEAN PINES

March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

21

Approved capital expenditure summary for FY 2014

Policy issues From Page 20 Lane. Previously, the board had decided to self-finance this work over 25 years, costing $3 per year in assessment dollars. Thompson’s draft budget had included this $3 as part of his proposed $43 assessment increase, and it remains as part of the approved budget. l decided to adjust marina boat slip revenues higher to reflect a more optimistic outlook on gasoline sales. Thompson had lowered expectations because of construction of the new Yacht Club this summer, which might convince some boaters that the marina itself will be closed. It won’t be, and some board members during discussion said that gasoline purchases might even increase over last summer because boaters will want to see the new building under construction. The action added about $34,000 to the boat slip revenue line. l decided to accept a $150,000 loss in projected losses in golf operations, despite voicing concern that the budgeted loss may not be realistic. l agreed that the Parks and Recreation Department should be encouraged to solicit commercial sponsorships for events, such as the Fourth of July fireworks, as a way of offsetting substantial annual deficits. This added $7,000 to the department’s revenue line. l approved the Parks and Recreation Department despite the fact that a formal business plan had not been submitted as part of the budget request. l approved in a unanimous 7-0 vote $6,000 for security cameras at the Community Center, at the urging of Director Sharyn O’Hare and the recommendation of Chief of Police Dave Massey and Recreation Director Sonya Bounds. Another $13,500 was approved in the Public Works department for security cameras and new electronic locks. l took no action on a fee for access to the White Horse Park boat ramp this summer. This still could happen, however, as board members seemed interested in this proposal that originated with the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee. l took no action on a proposed electronic sign or signs at one or more of the major access roads into Ocean Pines. l approved AED (automatic external defibrillator) units in the capital budget for the Manklin Meadows recreation complex and the Beach Club ($4,000).

Golf operations – Heavy duty turf utility vehicle, $25,000; light duty turf utility vehicles (two), $15,000; dedicated rough unit, $50,000; outfront rough unit, $25,000; golf cart batteries, $60,000. Aquatics – Sports Core pool resurfacing, $60,000; truck for aquatics director, $32,000; pool fencing, Mumford’s Landing, $20,000; pool fencing, Beach Club, $18,000; furniture, all pools, $18,000.

Tennis – Umbrellas, stands, benches, $1500; wind screens, $2000; gates, courts 2-5-8, $1800. Marina – Furniture, equipment, $5000. Beach Club – Steamer, $5000; AED unit, $2000. Finance – Computer, $1,500. Membership – Computer, $1,500. General maintenance – truck,

$33,500; cameras,locks, $13,500. Public Works – Wood marquees, $22,500; truck, $30,000; dump truck, $100,000; plow, $10,000; Z-mowers, $20,000; sprayer, $36,000; sand trike, $16,500; mower, $28,000; spreader, $3,900; computer, $1,500; North Gate aerator, $$3,000. Bulkheads – Canal aerators, $3,000.

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he following are major capital expenditures approved as part of the Fiscal Year 2013-14 Ocean Pines Association budget by the board of directors Feb. 23: Yacht Club – New building, $3.3 million (some expenses incurred in the current year); new kitchen equipment, $184,400; furniture, $39,000; signs, etc., $10,900; micro registers, $32,000.

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March-Early April 2013

Budget committee rebuffed on proposal to hold referendum on whether OPA should remain in golf business Terry decides not to conduct board discussion on controversial suggestion By TOM STAUSS Publisher n perhaps the most controversial and far-reaching of any of its recommendations to the board of directors in the 2013-14 budget review process, the Ocean Pines Association’s influential Budget and Finance Advisory Committee suggested that, sometime in the next three to five years, the Ocean Pines community should be given the opportunity to decide, in a referendum, whether the OPA should continue to operate a golf course. In a recommendation to the board, the committee members said that, should the golf course continue to rack up significant operating losses each year despite the OPA’s best efforts to reduce deficits and close in on breakeven results or even profitability, then

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ASIAN CUISINE

the board should initiate a referendum process that would leave the fate of the community’s golf course in the hands of property owners. The recommendation, discussed at length during the committee’s review of the draft budget in early January, failed to gain any support or even any public discussion of it by the board of directors during the recently concluded budget review process. But after one of the budget work sessions conducted by the board in January, OPA President Tom Terry told the Progress that he would bring up the issue for board discussion before allowing a final vote on the 2014 budget at the board’s Feb. 23 monthly meeting. He didn’t. Questioned about the lack of follow-through, Terry indicated that he had changed his mind and said that he had discussed the issue with Budget committee chairman Dennis Hudson. Director Dan Stachurski told the Progress that he did not favor board discussion of a golf referendum idea be-

cause he said he did not want to convey the impression to the OPA membership that he is open to the possibility of the OPA getting out of the golf business. “I’m opposed to that,” he said. Director Marty Clarke told the Progress recently that he believes any recommendation that puts off a decision on the golf course to a three-to-five-year timeframe is destined to go nowhere. “It’s too far in the future,” he said. “We’re facing a $500,000 deficit this year, and who knows how much next year. Putting off a decision that long means millions of dollars in operating losses and capital expenditures.” Clarke said any decision about the golf course should be made sooner rather than later, but he added that he is not in favor of any referendum that could result in the closure of the golf course and its conversion into a park or open space. Instead, Clarke said, the OPA should immediately begin prospecting for individuals or companies willing to take the

OCEAN PINES

course over for a minimal annual rent, eliminating the huge operating subsidies and capital expenditures that he said routinely cost property owners a million dollars per year or more. He said he knows that a core group of golf members in Ocean Pines would fight hard against the lease option, but he said the time is fast approaching when a shrinking number of property owners will be able to force the majority to continue to subsidize their pastime. He said members continue to control the best early morning tee times, and that the elderly membership base is not

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22 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Capital summary From Page 21 Police – Vehicle, $32,000; computer, $1,500; radar, two, $4,000. Recreation/parks – Batting cage, $1,000; security cameras, Community Center, $6,000; AED unit, $2,000; Manklin Meadows ballfield, scoreboard, $6,500; computers, two, $3,100; safe, $1,000; truck, $25,000; table/chairs, $1,500; speakers, $1,500; portable stage, $7,000; resurfacing of paddle ball court #1, $7,000. Total: $4,330,100. General fund, $24,500; replacement reserve, $4,305,600.

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OCEAN PINES

March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Board schedules April hearing on proposed OPA charter changes

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public hearing on proposed extensive updates and revisions to the Ocean Pines Association’s charter will be held on April 24 prior to the board of directors regular monthly meeting. The OPA is currently accepting comments from property owners on the draft documents, and all comments are due by April 17. Most of the draft changes are of a house-keeping nature. “This goes back a long time,” Director Dave Stevens said of the proposed changes to the OPA’s governing document. The matter was included for discussion at the board of directors Feb. 23 monthly meeting. With recommendations from the association’s legal counsel now incorporated into a draft of the new charter, Stevens asked the board to schedule a public meeting on the proposal so it can then give final approval to the document. Stevens said a draft of the proposed restatement has been prepared by the by-laws and resolutions advisory committee and legal counsel is posted on the OPA’s Web site, along with the existing charter and a comparison of the two documents that outline the recommended changes. Stevens said the current charter requirements call for having an announcement of proposed changes sent to each member of Ocean Pines. But simply posting it on its website and including an announcement in the winter issue of the Ocean Pines quarterly print newsletter meets that requirement, he said. “They have a revised charter,” Stevens said, adding “The charter has been on the webpage, both the proposed new and the comparison to the old charter. What we need to do next is set a time for approval of the charter.” He said it does need to be approved

at a separate meeting of the board of directors. However, he said that meeting could simply be held immediately before the April 24 regular board meeting. In the meantime, Stevens said the OPA board members need to read and agree on the changes. After holding the public meeting, they can then issue an official approval of the new charter. The approval of charter amendments reTo Page 24

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Budget committee From Page 22 being replaced with younger members. “This really can’t continue,” he said. So far, there is no indication that any of his colleagues are receptive to the lease option, but Clarke said he is not giving up, especially if Billy Casper Golf fails to make improvements in the golf bottom line in Fiscal Year 2014. Meanwhile, the board’s refusal to accept the committee’s recommendation on a golf course referendum, or even to give it the courtesy of a public airing, is likely to leave some of its members unhappy.

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24 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

March-Early April 2013

End-of-year forecast projects $338,000 operational loss for OPA Latest numbers show Yacht Club will lose only $159,000 for the year, compared to more than $204,000 predicted in October

By TOM STAUSS Publisher financial forecast for the remainder of the current fiscal year presented by General Manager Bob Thompson in February shows that the Ocean Pines Association will be generating a substantial operating loss for

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the current fiscal year, with very little on the horizon that could alter the OPA’s fortunes for the remaining three months of the fiscal year. During the general manager’s report segment of the Feb. 23 meeting of the OPA Board of Directors, Thompson presented a “by the numbers� chart that

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OCEAN PINES forecasts a $337,968 operational loss for the year ending this coming April 30. This three-quarter mark forecast, reflecting actual financial performance through Jan. 31, is very little changed from the half year forecast issued three months ago. At that time, the forecast was for an operational loss of $334,659. The budget for the current year approved last February forecast a $72,539 surplus for the year. The projected loss in the revised numbers represents a rather substantial $410,507 negative variance to budget. Amenity losses in golf, Yacht Club food and beverage operations and aquatics are driving the projected loss for the year. Thompson’s latest chart indicates that golf will lose $496,191 for the year, an improvement over the six-month prediction of a $517,622 deficit. The Yacht Club is now projected to lose $158,754 for the year, a significant improvement over the earlier projected loss of $204,570. Under the three-quarter year forecast, aquatics is projected to lose $173,178 for the year, a slight uptick

Charter change From Page 23 quires an approval of at least two-thirds of the entire board. The association members do not have a vote in the approval process. Jim Trummel, bylaws and resolutions committee chairman, said that committee submitted its draft of the charter to the OPA’s legal counsel, Joe Moore, for review. Trummel said the committee has seen Moore’s changes to its proposed plan and “we’re not second guessing� his revisions. He said the committee “does not plan to make any comment on it as it came back from counsel,� when asked by board members if it intended to do so. Moore said his changes to the document were minor. “I normally grab all the credit I can but on this one he did it, and his committee,� he said referring to Trummel and the bylaws and resolutions committee. The draft makes changes like moving the topic of police and fire protection to a separate paragraph and including references to working cooperatively with county and state police and fire authorities. Instead of listing all potential annual charges that the OPA may levy on property owners, the charter amendment refers to declarations of restrictions as the source documents for annual charges. Member eligibility to vote is now covered in a separate section that states that the board of directors can suspend the voting rights, and right to use of the parks and other recreational facilities and amenities, of any member who owes the association money or has a continuing violation of the restrictive covenants on their property. In the new charter changes are also made to group together common topics, delete paragraphs that are relevant to the articles of restatement not an amendment of the charter and that


March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

WORCESTER COUNTY

25

OPA seeks nearly $1 million in county grant funds

Terry, Thompson make a case for money to help cover costs of the police department, road and bridge maintenance, tourism and Ocean Pines recreation and parks programs By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer

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rguing that the Ocean Pines Association supports the largest year-round population in the county, the board of directors has asked the Worcester County Commissioners to provide nearly $1 million to help cover the cost of its services and programs. OPA President Tom Terry, along with Directors Sharon O’Hare and Ray Unger, on March 5 presented the association’s requests for funding for fiscal year 2013-14 budget to the commissioners. The OPA is seeking a total FY 2013-14 contribution from the county of $975,000, or $83 per capita. The request includes $25,000 for tourism, $100,000 for recreation and parks, $600,000 for public safety, and $250,000 for public works and roads. In FY ’13 the OPA received $436,000 in county funding; it had requested $1.055 million. Although Ocean Pines contains more than 7,700 homes and a year-round population of 11,700 residents, or 23 percent of the county’s population, Terry said the per capita funding coming to the OPA is lacking. He said the municipalities get at least four times more money from the county on a per capita basis. “We would like to find a way to address that imbalance to some level, without hurting any other municipalities,” he said. Despite having the largest yearround population, he said Ocean Pines receives only a minimal amount of funding when compared to the funding provided to other communities by Worcester County, OPA General Manager Bob Thompson said in his funding request letter to the commissioners. “Our funding request involves four distinct needs, public safety, roads and bridges, tourism and recreation. To gain some perspective on the financial picture between Ocean Pines and the rest of the county, we have captured several of the

critical elements directly from the county budget as they pertain to the Ocean Pines community,” Thompson said. “The minimal amount we receive is surprising when you compare the per capita dollars allocated,” Thompson said. In the current fiscal year, the county allocated $4.56 million in grants to Ocean Pines and the four municipalities of Ocean City, Berlin, Snow Hill and Pocomoke. The county’s current per capita grant contribution is $2,130 for Ocean City, $329 for Snow Hill, $191 for Berlin, $181 for Pocomoke but just $37 for Ocean Pines. Ocean Pines received $436,000 in grants or 9.6 percent of that allocated by the county With a population of just 2,104, Snow Hill received $583,000 or 12.8 percent. Berlin has a population of 4,491and received $597,000 or 13.1 percent of the county allocation. Pocomoke City, with a population of 4,190, received $448,000 or 9.8 percent. Ocean City, which has a population of 7,110, received most of the grant funding at $2.49 million or 54.7 percent. The county also shared $13.33 million in tax revenue with all four municipalities but gave nothing to Ocean Pines. Snow Hill received $109,035 or .8 percent, Pocomoke got $311,484 of 2.3 percent, Berlin garnered $262,815 or 2 percent and Ocean City received $12.65 million or 94.9 percent. For several years, the county has provided the OPA with a grant that has been used to fund the police department. This year in the area of public safety the OPA is asking the county for funding “of at least $600,000.” The total budgeted cost to Ocean Pines to operate the police department during the 2013-14 fiscal year exceeds $1.5 million. “We look for not only continued support but hopefully expanded support,” Terry said. Last year the OPPD handled more

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than 11,000 calls for service, directly assisted the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department and Maryland State Police with more than 100 calls for service in the areas surrounding Ocean Pines. Continued growth in the Route 589 corridor places increased demands on the 15 sworn member police agency. Thompson said the OPA has seen a dramatic increase in calls for service in the past five years and anticipates future growth in public safety demands to keep pace with development. In an effort to reduce demands on the county and the state police, the OPA agreed to assume all public safety calls for service on Manklin Creek Road. In addition, in response to recent tragic events, the police department is called upon to provide patrols and visits to the various schools in the area. “While we do not mind being called upon to support Ocean Pines and the surrounding communities, it does put additional strain on our already stretched resources,” Thompson said. To ensure that the Ocean Pines bridges and roadways remain safe, the association requested county funds of $250,000. In previous years the county provided funding in the average amount of $500,000 annually but that money was passed through from the state’s highway user funds, better known as the gas tax. “We clearly understand the fuel funding problem,” Terry said, adding, “It ought to be coming to you so you can share it with us.” Even so, he said, “anything you can do to help us we certainly would appreciate.” Thompson in his letter also acknowledged the county’s loss of liquid fuel funding has restricted its ability to provide Ocean Pines needed road maintenance dollars for paving, drainage, bridges and similar projects. “Our roads and bridges are an important part of our infrastructure. Safe passage of emergency vehicles, school buses and county wastewater vehicles are just a small part of daily activities on our roadways and bridges. Funding for roadways and

Budget forecast From Page 24 from the earlier projection of a $172,230 loss. The negative variance to budget for each of these amenities is projected at $336,032 in golf and $108,942 at the Yacht Club, compared to the respective negative variances of $357,463 in golf and $154,759 in Yacht Club food and beverage predicted at the six-month mark. The improved outlook at the Yacht Club in particular reflects a decision by Thompson last year to close the Yacht Club over the coldest months of the year, with a St. Patrick’s Day event in March marking a partial reopening of the facility. Aquatics revised variance to budget of $124,162 is virtually unchanged from

bridges are vitally important to the wellbeing of our community.” The OPA is also jumping on the tourism wagon and wants $25,000 in county funding for unspecified promotional purposes. “We would like to officially join in the effort to promote the county,” Terry said. He added that Ocean Pines has a “fairly sizable number of people coming to town every weekend” who are looking for things to do and places to go. Thompson said the OPA understands that tourism is of vital importance in Worcester County. He argued that its efforts to provide amenities like boat ramps, marinas, the Yacht Club, Robert Trent Jones golf course, Worcester County Veterans Memorial and Beach Club in Ocean City all contribute and add value to the tourism industry in Worcester County. “We would appreciate your consideration of a small portion of tourism funding to help us in our efforts to provide amenities and programs that highlight the benefits of visiting Worcester County,” Thompson said. For recreation and parks, the OPA asked for $100,000 to assist in providing various recreational programs and facilities. Terry said the OPA’s recreation and parks programs and services have grown and become more diversified and that attracts a lot of nonresident users. “Forty percent of the people who participated in our rec and parks activities are not from with inside the Pines,” he said. Thompson said the OPA supports various activities that attract participants of all ages who reside in and out of Ocean Pines. “Our free amenities and activities include concerts in the park, tennis facilities, skateboard park, fireworks display, marinas, boat ramps, basketball courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, walking trails and so much more that are open to the public.” The OPA’s annual budget for recreation and parks, in addition to the aquatics department, exceeds $1.5 million. the earlier estimate of a $123,214 deficit. The budget forecast for the remainder of the fiscal year is based on actual financial results for the first nine months of the fiscal year, May of last year through January of this year. OPA Controller Art Carmine was involved with assembling the numbers in Thompson’s summary. The general manager made no effort to sugarcoat the latest budgetary predictions in his remarks to the board during the Feb. 23 Board of Directors meeting, although he said they represented an effort “to chip away” at projected deficits at the Yacht Club and in golf operations. The three-quarter-year forecast generated no discussion among the directors, in contrast to sometimes critical remarks offered by some directors following the release of the six-month projections last October.


26 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

WORCESTER COUNTY

March-Early April 2013

AROUND THE COUNTY Worcester and Anne Arundel counties are working together to submit a proposal to receive video lottery terminal small and minority owned business account grant funds. Bill Badger, director of economic development, presented the partnership effort to the Worcester County Commissioners for approval during a Feb. 19 meeting. The joint application will seek $4.1 million, with Worcester County’s portion being a yearly grant of $500,000. This has the potential to bring Worcester County $2.5 million over the 5-year timeframe to support local businesses through small and minority business loans and equity investments. The revenue for this grant program is generated by directing 1.5 percent of all Maryland casino proceeds to this fund, which is estimated by June 30 to make as much as $7 million available to provide capital for a local revolving loan fund for targeted business loans. A request for proposals was issued by the Maryland Business and Economic Development Department. The Maryland Board of Public Works is expected to approve review committee recommendations by April 2013 with grant awards of up to five consecutive years to begin July 1, 2013. Counties

with an operating casino are targeted for a significant portion of the fund allocation. Badger said that in January the county was approached by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation to determine if it was interested in submitting a joint application. “After much discussion and review, we determined that this partnership is in the best interest of the county,” he said. Badger said the partnership is advantageous because the AAEDC has an established in-house revolving loan fund program with dedicated staff and a strong partnership with Minority Business Enterprise contractors, which is a priority requirement of the RFP scoring review. Additionally, he said that both counties have established casinos within their borders, making for a very strong proposal.

Traffic signal will be installed at route 12, 113

In response to requests from the Worcester County Commissioners as well as area residents, the State Highway Administration has relented and agreed to install a traffic light at the intersection of Routes 113 and 12 in Snow Hill. Donnie Drewer, SHA district engi-

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Worcester, Anne Arundel partner for slots money

Chili day

On Saturday, March 2, 51 people showed up to play platform tennis in Ocean Pines and to enjoy some good old fashioned home made chili. The event was organized by Jim Freeman, president of the Ocean Pines Platform Tennis Association, as a fund-raiser for the group. The chili for this event was prepared by Michael Petito, Audery Wahl, Jim Freeman, Mike Henderson, Diane Harris, Tom and Meg Herrick, and Dan Freymeryer. Volunteer Dot Waters made sure the tennis clubhouse was clean after the event. The event raised $173. Pictured is Audrey Wahl stirring up her chili.

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March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

WORCESTER COUNTY

27

County makes Section 3 drainage improvements

Commissioner Jim Bunting cited for coming up with low-cost solution By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer onstruction of drainage improvements along Beauchamp Road that will help to reduce flooding in Section 3 of Ocean Pines was expected to wrap up by the end of February. During a Feb. 23 meeting, Ocean Pines Association President Tom Terry thanked the project team of OPA, Worcester County and River Run representatives who worked together to find a solution to the drainage problem. He

C

AROUND THE COUNTY From Page 26 neer, in a Feb. 8 letter to the commissioners, said “after careful consideration of the immediate safety concerns and community feedback” the agency has decided to install a fully operational traffic signal at that location instead of the flashing beacon that is currently in place. He said the decision was made based on 2012 accident data and 2013 traffic projections for that intersection. Drewer said the signal will only be temporary; it will remain in place until the SHA constructs a new interchange, a project that is not currently funded by the state. He said the traffic signal will be installed and operational by mid-summer. The SHA also plans to continue its design of J-turns at the intersection of Routes 113 and 365 near Snow Hill. Construction of that project will begin as soon as funding becomes available,

gave special recognition to Worcester County Commissioner Jim Bunting for getting “down in the ditch” and determining how to address the drainage issue. “Everyone’s working together to make this work,” OPA General Manager Bob Thompson said. He said that increase in the flow capacity of the pipe should improve drainage in Section 3 neighborhoods that are often under water after heavy rains. Terry agreed and said that Worcester County worked with River Run developer Lew Meltzer to find a way to make improvements to the drainage system at a “tremendous savings” as compared to original project estimates at more than $1 million. The county reached an agree-

ment with Meltzer for the installation of a drainage pipe from Beauchamp Road to a pond in River Run. The Worcester County Commissioners awarded a $38,126 contact for the drainage work to the company of Bunting and Murray. The commissioners held a ground breaking ceremony for the drainage project on Feb. 19 near the 16th hole tee box at the River Run Golf Course, which sits close to the intersection of Beauchamp Road and River Run Lane. The project includes the placement of approximately 156 linear feet of 24-inch stormwater pipe on the lands of River Run. An easement for this activity was granted to the county by Meltzer at a cost of $1. The easement runs from the

Drewer said.

overall level of commitment, measurable environmental benefits or progress, cost savings, and customer outreach and engagement. To qualify, applicants must reside or operate businesses in Worcester County. Awards will be announced during the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association dinner meeting on April 18 in Ocean City. For more information about the Worcester Green Awards, visit www.visitworcester.org.

Tourism officials seek Green nominations

Worcester County Tourism is accepting nominations through April 9 for the second annual Worcester Green Awards, which celebrate excellence in promoting environmentally friendly practices, strategies and products. Awards will be granted to Worcester County businesses that demonstrate extraordinary performance related to sustainable environmental practices, such as water conservation, wastewater management, the promotion of alternative transportation and transit, recycling, energy conservation, on-site renewable energy production, use of local products and food sources and the purchase of renewable energy. Nominations are being accepted in the categories of community leader, business, lodging, restaurant and teacher. Applicants will be judged on their

County honors alcohol licensees

Worcester County Health Department and Maryland Highway Safety Office officials honored alcohol licensees during the Alcohol Licensee Recognition Breakfast at the Restaurant at Lighthouse Sound on Feb. 7 for refusing to sell alcohol to underage law enforcement cadets. Licensees represented at the event include Coral Reef Restaurant, 7-11 at To Page 29

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northwesterly side of the Beauchamp Road right-of-way north to a pond in River Run. Thompson said the improvements include installing the larger pipe under Beauchamp Road at a less severe angle so there is no “deadhead spot” in which water can back up. The pipe will carry water away from the affected areas in Ocean Pines and funnel it to the stormwater retention pond in River Run. That pond in turn drains into the St. Martin’s River. Thompson and the county-OPA working group, of which he is a member, had looked at solutions that in some cases would have cost more than a $1 million. One such option looked at doubling the size of the Bainbridge Park pond. Another option involved running a drainage pipe down the full length of Beauchamp Road to the White Horse Campground. The River Run solution suggested by Bunting has the benefit of probably being able to deal with the flooding caused by a 100-year storm, defined as a weather event producing up to 6.4-inches of rain in an hour. It would be more than adequate to drain heavy rains from a two-year, ten-year, and 25-year storm of lesser intensity, he said. Bunting is a former surveyor and land planner who dealt with such issues during his professional career.

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28 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

March-Early April 2013

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March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

29

AROUND THE COUNTY From Page 27 120th Street, Macky’s, Wine Rack at 85th Street, Brewski Brothers, 7-11 at 139th Street, Seacrets, Snow Hill Duck In, Pour House in Ocean City, Finnegan’s, Taphouse, M.R. Ducks, Don’s Seafood and 7-11 N. Division Street.

Softball league open to girls

The Worcester County Department of Recreation & Parks has opened its youth softball league for girls in grades 2 to 8. The cost is $25 per child and $20 per additional sibling. Financial Aid is available to those who show a demonstrated need. Teams will be formed in Berlin, Pocomoke and Snow Hill. Practice begins in March, and games begin in April. Pigtail (grades 2-5) games are played on Tuesday nights and Ponytail (grades 6-8) games are played on Wednesday nights. Games will be played in Ocean Pines, Showell Park in Berlin, at Newtown Park in Pocomoke, and John Walter Smith Park in Snow Hill. The league will run until the end of May with a Celebration Day on Saturday, June 1. Volunteer coaches and paid umpires are needed. Contact Kelly Rados, program manager, at 410-632-2144 x102.

Animal control offers rabies vaccination clinics

Pet owners, mark your calendars and take advantage of the inexpensive rabies vaccination clinics offered this spring by the Worcester County Health Department and Animal Control. Low-cost rabies clinics are offered to help residents protect their dogs, cats and ferrets. The scheduled spring clin-

Pine’eer Craft Club officers

At the Dec. 20 holiday luncheon, the Pine’eer Craft Club installed the 2013 officers. Beginning in February, the Pine’eer Craft Club meets the third Thursday of the month in the Ocean Pines Community Center. All residents of Ocean Pines and communities in close proximity are welcome to join. Members are invited to display and sell their crafts in the Pine’eer Craft and Gift Shop. New officers are (left to right): Carol Mills, parliamentarian; Janet Rosensteel, corresponding secretary; Sharon Puser, president; Linda Brindley, recording secretary; Jane Wolnik, treasurer; Midge Powell, assistant shop manager; Grace McCormac, assistant treasurer; Nancy Welsh, shop manager; Luz Castillo, shop treasurer; and Barbara Stillwell, assistant shop treasurer.

ics will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Bishopville Volunteer Fire Department on Thursday, May 9, and at Worcester County Animal Control on Wednesdays, March 13, April 17 and May 8. The cost for a rabies vaccination is $5 per pet for Worcester County residents and $10 per pet for non-Worcester County residents. Proof of residency is required. Vaccinations are available for dogs, cats and ferrets. Call the Worcester County Health Department at 410-

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league is open to children ages 3 through 8th grade. Players will be divided into five co-ed age divisions (Age 3-4, grades K-1, grades 2-3, grades 4-5, and grades 6 – 8). The league runs Sunday afternoons and kicks off April 7, when all age divisions will meet their coaches and team mates. Teams from each town will be formed, and games will take place at the John Walter Smith Park in Snow Hill. After School Dodgeball, back by popular demand, takes place on Thursdays from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. for participants in grades 4 - 8. Participants will play traditional dodgeball games and other versions of this favorite throughout the session. The games will test players’ abilities to throw, catch, dodge, and out maneuver their opponents. The sixweek program begins Thursday, April 11, and costs $25 per participant. Spike Express Youth Volleyball returns for participants ages 9 -14 on Tuesdays from April 9 – June 25 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Participants will develop volleyball skills with jumping, setting and handling the ball. The cost for this exciting program is $25 per person. Girls, don’t forget to register for the Youth Recreational Softball Program. Pocomoke, Snow Hill, and Berlin teams are being formed now, and practices are being scheduled. The league will be open for girls in grades 2 – 8, with a cost of $25 per participant. Practice begins in March, and games will begin in April. Pigtail (grades 2 - 5) games take place on Tuesday nights, and Ponytail (grades 6 - 8) games take place on Wednesday nights. Financial aid is available for the spring youth programs to those who demonstrate a need. Call the Recreation Center at 410.632.2144.


30 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

March-Early April 2013

Stephen Decatur High School is slated for a variety of safety improvements, including a new key card entry and the addition of a visitor identification system and security officers.

County considers funding security officers at every school, facility improvements was formed to review current practices and to develop recommendations in the areas of personnel, capital improvement and administrative procedure. “The biggest change is the need for security presence in schools,” Wilson told the commissioners, adding that “people do not feel as safe as they did.” Topping the list of recommendations is the addition of 13 school security officers – two are already provided by the Town of Berlin at schools in its jurisdiction -- so there is a police presence at every school building. The Board of Education’s central office in Newark will receive support from the school resource officer stationed at the adjacent Worces-

ter Technical High School. Wilson said he does “not see arming teachers as a solution” instead of providing security officers. That would create a “less safe environment with multiple weapons in schools.” The officers would be added to the schools starting in the 2014-15 school year and would be employees of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. “This is important since in the event of a crisis communication with countywide law enforcement is essential,” Wilson said. Sheriff Reggie Mason was called away at the last minute and was unable to attend the commissioners’’ meeting to discuss the proposal from the perspective of his office or to present a cost estimate for the 13 officers. The committee also recommended Spacious waterfront, possibly the lowest installing electronic buzzer entry at 14 MOVE-RIGHT-IN CUSTOM HOME IN 'THE POINT', a neighborpriced waterfront structure in Ocean Pines. facilities at a cost of $65,000. The syshood3of bedroom, newer custom homes. Openmaintenance-free floor plan in generous TRUE 2 bath, year4 bedround 2-1/2 bath! Just completed, repainting thru-out and new landor vacation living on canal & golf course. tems will include a camera and two-way scaping. Super-sized living areas incl. living AND family rooms with Deeded boat dock, new windows, fireplace, speakers to help identify visitors who cathedral ceilings, skylites, gas fireplace in family rm. Separate office/ all appliances, elevated cedar deiling, wet are requesting entry to the facility. den just off foyer, 1/2 bath, laundry. First floor master bed/bath. Another security addition at six decks, assigned new carpet 2nd bar, level offers 3 full bedrooms plus parking, open schools is a $63,000 expense for card and paint.area. All Side-load outsidegarage. maintenance including 16'X10' loft/sitting A roof, decks,waterview siding, lawn, trash, windows and swiping entry systems for doors that private and tranquil setting! leads from portable classroom areas to $339,500 (479156) A/C unit included. $257,900 the main school building. Just Call Judy,410-726-8560 Those schools are Buckingham Ele410-603-7373 Judy@judyfroman.com mentary, Berlin Intermediate, Showell Prudential PenFed PenFed Realty Realty Elementary, Stephen Decatur Middle, Prudential Ocean Pines South Gate - 11001 Manklin Meadows Lane, Ocean Pines MD 21811 Snow Hill Elementary and Snow Hill 11001 Manklin Meadows Lane, Ocean Pines MD 21811 410-208-3500• 1-866-666-1727 • 1-866-666-1727 (Toll Free) High schools. Judy Froman 410-208-3500 (Toll Free) Security cameras would be added at 2012 BRER Affiliates, Inc. An independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential 2012 BRER Affiliates, Inc. An independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks Financial, Inc., and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity. ofPrudential PrudentialPenFed Financial, and its related entities, registeredmember in manyofjurisdictions worldwide. Used membership under licenseiswith other toother affiliation withwith Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity. eight schools at a cost of $25,000 and six is anInc.,independently owned and operated BRER Affiliates, Inc. PenFed not no required conduct business Prudential PenFed Realty Prudential PenFed is an independently owned and operated member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. PenFed membership is not required to conduct business with Prudential PenFed Realty front entrance vehicle barriers would be

By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer n response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the Worcester County Board of Education is proposing a series of physical improvements that are designed to enhance security at local school buildings. Jerry Wilson, superintendent of schools, presented the school system’s proposal that includes adding security officers at all facilities to the Worcester County Commissioners during a March 5 meeting. Wilson said the proposed security enhancements were developed by a school system safety committee that

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WORCESTER COUNTY added at six schools at a cost of $20,000. The barriers would be either over-sized flower pots or bollards and would be placed to prevent a vehicle from driving through the primary entrance doors of a facility. Standardized visitor identification systems are being proposed by the committee at all 15 school locations and the central office. The systems would produce photo ID badges and provide sex offender background checks on all visitors. The first year installation cost is $20,425, with annual licensing fees costing $5,000 for all future years. Wilson said the proposals will allow the school system to “screen all visitors and know exactly who is in our schools at all times.” At four schools the committee suggested installing window blinds and tinting on windows that currently have an unobstructed view into a classroom from adjacent parking lots and roadways. The cost is estimated at $25,000. “Our goal is to have all of this in place for the next school year,” Wilson said. He asked the commissioners, who did not commit any funding during the March 5 meeting, to consider providing money to begin making the security improvements at the schools. He asked for the commissioners to fund $150,000 that will allow the school system to move forward with bidding for the new entry and card swipe systems. He said the state also has a program that he anticipates will help with funding for some security items. If the county provides $150,000, then the state program may provide a match of about $75,000, he said. However, Wilson said the state hasn’t even published its guidelines for distributing that funding. Commissioner Virgil Shockley asked if the school system had given any consideration to installing metal detectors at each of the schools to screen everyone as they enter the building. Wilson said he did not receive such a proposal from the committee and added “nor do we see that as level of security we want to provide.” He said there must be a “balance around the idea of community schools” and that adding metal detectors would “up the idea of security and intrusiveness.” Those devices are currently only seen in urban area schools, he said. Steve Price, chairman of the school safety committee, said metal detectors were not a priority item that was discussed with the sheriff’s office. In response to concerns about school safety, the Worcester County Health Department is also seeking funding of $112,198 to expand its services. The department is proposing the addition of a licensed mental health professional to specifically address high risk youth with serious emotional problems at a cost of $78,763. It also wants funds to cover a $33,435 financial shortfall in its budget in order to allow the crisis response team to continue providing 24 hour a day coverage seven days a week.


WORCESTER COUNTY

March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

31

School board seeks funds to study expansion of Showell elementary By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer he Worcester County Board of Education is hoping to include funding to begin architectural planning for the renovation and expansion of Showell Elementary School or construction of a new school to replace it in the fiscal year 2013-14 budget, but needs to have the project cost excluded from the state’s maintenance of effort calculations. The estimated cost of the SES project is $100,000. Jerry Wilson, superintendent of schools, presented a request to send that project, along with a purchase of computer tablets and business software upgrades, to the Worcester County Commissioners on March 5. He needed the commissioners OK to move forward with asking the Maryland Department of Education if the cost of those projects, totaling $400,000, can be excluded from maintenance of effort calculation for the upcoming budget year. Maintenance of effort requires the same amount of money to be expended per student as in last year’s budget. Any deviation from that requirement needs state approval. Wilson said architectural engineering feasibility study is needed before the school system can begin planning the SES project. He said the renovation and expansion or replacement of the school is next in line following renovation of Snow Hill High School. A 2008 study estimated that it would cost about $27.7 million to make the existing school big enough to accommodate future student populations, but building a new school on the same site would only cost about $25.8 million. The Showell Elementary School land use study determined that the existing property is sufficient to accommodate a renovation and addition to the existing school or the construction of a replacement school. The study included an extension evaluation of the existing site features, including topographic surveys, wetlands delineation, evaluation of parking and circulation patterns and investigation of utility options. The existing 53,610 square foot facility was constructed in 1976 and augmented with a 12-classroom addition in 1990. Over the years as northern Worcester County has grown, SES, which is located on Route 589 north of Ocean Pines, experienced increased enrollment to the point where nine portable classrooms are currently used to accommodate all of the instructional programs. Those portable classrooms provide 25 percent of the classroom spaces that are available at the school. Restrooms and other support functions are included in the main school building. Pedestrian traffic between the portables and main building occurs via uncovered walkways that expose students to inclement weather. The 2008 study said renovating and expanding the existing school has many

T

drawbacks, including limitations on expanding support areas like the media center and cafeteria, significant upgrades to bathrooms and mechanical systems, interior classrooms would not have sufficient windows. Another concern was construction coordination with the school operations. The study also evaluated the site to determine if sufficient space was available for construction of a replacement school. The study found that the 22.07 acres available at the Showell site meet the state requirement for such a project. Two conceptual plans incorporating an additional 32,000 square feet of

building space were developed at that time to confirm that renovation and expansion or construction of a new school could be accomplished on the property. Those plans also incorporated expanded parking, improved vehicular circulation patterns and student drop-off areas, playgrounds, stormwater management areas and geothermal well fields. Based on those designs, the renovation and expansion was estimated to cost $27.7 million while the new school would cost about $25.8 million to build. Those costs were based on projected fiscal year 2011 building square foot estimates of $261.80.

The study found that with 81 employees plus students arriving at school in private vehicles, the existing parking lot is insufficient to satisfy the parking demands of the school. Only two handicapped parking spaces are provided for the entire facility and are located in the front of the bus loop. In order to be handicapped compliant, a total of five spaces is needed. About half of the students are dropped off and picked up at school by parents, many of whom park and walk their children to and from the school. That causes a significant demand for parking in the morning and afternoon.

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32 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

BUSINESS

March-Early April 2013

BUSINESS BRIEFS Plaza Tapatia opens in Pennington Commons

The newest entry in Ocean Pines’ crowded and competitive restaurant space is Plaza Tapatia, a Mexican eatery that opened in the former site of the Marina Deck in the Pennington Commons Shopping Center, across from the Ocean Pines South Gate, in late January. “Business has been good so far,” said Armand Saldana, owner of ten Plaza Tapatias in the region. Its West Ocean City location, in the Bedtime Inn and Suites on Route 50, has closed, but Saldana and his son, Armand, have plans to open another restaurant in the West Ocean City area, as time permits. The Saldanas remodeled the former Marina Deck in a Mexican theme. The menu is comparable to those of other Plaza Tapatias in the area. Armand, the son, said he believes the Ocean Pines area can accommodate another Mexican restaurant. La Hacienda, the Bill Herbst-owned restaurant inside the Ocean Pines South Gate, opened last year in the space once occupied by the Village Inn.

Pier One opens in West Ocean City

Longtime fans of Pier 1 Imports, won’t have to travel to Salisbury, Reho-

both Beach, Dover or Easton anymore. Pier 1 Imports is now open at White Marlin Mall in West Ocean City. White Marlin Mall is located at 12641 Ocean Gateway, 1/2 mile west of Ocean City on Route 50 at Route 611 next to the Tanger Outlets. The Pier 1 Imports store features merchandise that ranges from home accessories such as pillows, candles, vases and picture frames, to full-sized, upholstered furniture, hand-carved armoires and eclectic wall décor. The store offers merchandise that fits many decorating styles, as well as a broad array of special occasion decor, furniture and gifts. Buyers import goods from more than 50 countries. “Pier 1 Imports is known as one of the world’s greatest home furnishings and accessories stores,” said Matt Mittenthal, vice-president and assistant director of asset management at Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, the mall’s leasing and property management firm. “We are excited to have Pier 1 Imports join our lineup of national and local retailers. Their concept is stronger than ever and is a perfect fit for White Marlin Mall.” This new Pier 1 Imports store is a boost to the local economy by job creation as well as providing local and visiting shoppers with new purchasing

Cropper honored

Raymond M. Thompson, right, president & CEO of Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company, has announced the recognition of Reese F. Cropper Jr. for 50 years of continuing service to the bank. Cropper joined Calvin B. Taylor Bank in 1962. He later became president, succeeding his father, Reese F. Cropper Sr. He remains active within the company, holding the titles of chairman of the board of directors of the bank and its holding company, Calvin B. Taylor Bankshares, Inc. and chairman of the executive committee of the bank. opportunities. Those who will staff the new Pier 1 store are a diverse group, according to new Manager Frank Pileggi. “We have hired 21 store associates from our local communities to go along with two assistant managers and two key sales leaders,” Pileggi said. “We are proud to have a diverse mix of new Pier 1 employees who reside in Ocean City, Berlin and Ocean Pines.” Pier 1 Imports offers an eclectic mix of furniture, wares and goods that possess a decidedly magical, far-off land feel. The

new 9,800-square-foot store at White Marlin Mall promises to take customers on “a treasure hunt” through the rustic, yet modern open bazaar-meets-antique shop, filled with bold hues, decadent textures, thought-provoking patterns, hand-blown glass, cracked ceramics, wrought-iron accents, whimsical conversation pieces and vintage spirit. This is the fifth Pier 1 Imports location in the Delmarva area, and it is the only one that features their new store concept.

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34 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

March-Early April 2013

CAPTAIN’S COVE

Management change-over in Captain’s Cove

Former General Manager Lance Stitcher accepts position with Ocean City real estate company By TOM STAUSS Publisher

W

ith long-time general manager Lance Stitcher’s last day in Captain’s Cove Feb. 8, personnel changes brought about by a new board of directors in October are gaining momentum. Stitcher has obtained a new job in Ocean City. One of the initial changes implemented by the new board was the decision to hire Billy Casper Golf to manage Captain’s Cove golf course as well as its food and beverage and aquatics operations. A transitional staff gave way to more permanent staffing in February, when Tim Johnson took over as golf pro and food and beverage and amenities’ manager. Johnson has been in Casper’s employ for about two years, with his previous stint as a golf pro in North Carolina. Captain’s Cove association president Tim Hearn has announced another significant personnel change. Justin Wilder will take over as the

association’s new communication’s coordinator, with his first day of work set for March 4. He most recently was employed in the communications department of a Charlotte, N.C., based energy company. Hearn said that property owners should be noticing upgrades to the association’s online media soon, possibly starting with both video and oral streaming of monthly board meetings in March. Heretofore, they have been available orally online. The association’s board of directors approved the creation of communications director at its January meeting. The position includes communication, marketing and administrative duties with the association, with a focus on interaction with the membership. The coordinator will work with the board to develop, edit and manage all Cove POA communications, including electronic distribution of community materials, newsletters, Web sites, and social media. The coordinator will also provide support for the association’s core oper-

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ations, including the board and association departments and annual meetings. Also included in the job description is assistance to community committees and Environmental Control Committee processes, Hearn said. The opening was listed on monster. com the last week of January and had produced about ten applications by the end of January. New club meeting space – In an early March telephone interview, Hearn said that about 95 percent of the renovation of the former Cove administration building on Captain’s Corridor had been completed, with the building expected to be available for use by Cove clubs and organizations by mid-month. The board previously decided to make the building available for card-playing and other free activities in order not to lose valuable space in the Marina Club, which Hearn said is better used for revenue-generating functions. “We’re finding that there is great demand for our banquet facilities,” he said. For the same reason, he said that the board’s Saturday, March 16 monthly meeting has been moved from the Marina Club’s banquet room to the Pocomoke Volunteer Fire Department’s meeting room.

March 16 board meeting -- The board meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Hearn said one item on the agenda is what to do with the Cove’s fleet of aging golf carts. The discussion will involve whether to attempt another season using the existing fleet, or whether to trade in the association’s 36 carts for newer models, he said. The choice is to spend roughly $45,000 in making needed repairs or using that money instead for new carts. Collections – Hearn said that ongoing efforts to improve collections from property owners who are delinquent in paying their association dues have produced about $200,000 through January, an effort that will be moving into the foreclosure phase shortly, perhaps with as many 50 lots to be sold at auction in an initial block. Details will be announced as the association’s attorneys work through the inventory of lots with unpaid assessments. The Cove president said that the association’s finances in general are looking up, with overall operations about $240,000 ahead of budget through January, the first four months of the Cove fiscal year.

Chamber raffle tickets available

The Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce is once again hosting the Annual Ocean Pines Dues Raffle. The drawing will be held April 11. Tickets are just $10 each. Only 1,500 tickets will be sold and there is no limit on the number of tickets that can be purchased. The prize for the raffle is a choice of $1,000 cash or the Ocean Pines basic assessment fee paid for 2013, plus free residential trash pick-up for one year from Waste Management (Ocean Pines Residents only). The winner will also receive a $200 gift certificate towards an electric bill from Choptank Electric, one free house cleaning from Git R Done Cleaning Services, and one free in-home computer check-up from Computech Computer Services. Tickets are sponsored by PNC Bank and printed by Copy Central of Ocean Pines. Raffle tickets may be purchased at the Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce, 11031 Cathell Road, or online at www.oceanpineschamber.org.

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March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

LIFESTYLES

Storage unit auctions for fun and profit

35

Ocean Pines auctioneer Tom Janasek gets a kick out of bidding and presiding over festive Saturday events By JUDITH SULIK Special to the Progress

G

Tom Janasek, Ocean Pines resident and storage unit auctioneer

Ocean City Mini-Storage auctions are held every two months with the next taking place on Saturday, April 20, at 9 a.m. They begin at the Berlin site, located behind Atlantic General Hospital, continue on to the Rte. 611 location, and end at the facility on Rte. 50, Ocean Gateway.

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enuine imitation leather! Solid pressed wood oak that burns really well! A brand new used bed!” Auctioneer Tom Janasek is a salesman with the cadence, enthusiasm, and persuasion of a carny barker, who entertains as he sells all types of mysterious possessions, left behind when fate prevents owners of storage unit lockers from paying the bill. “500, 550 ... 1000, 1050 ... 1900, 1900, 1950, 1900... sold!” Janasek said that the recent storage unit auction on Route 50 in West Ocean City that produced a winning $1900 bid was amazing. “There was a pool table with leather details that the bidder will probably list on Craig’s List by the end of today,” he said. “There was jewelry and the bike was worth $2,000 alone.” It was the “best unit” he’d seen “in ten years.” He explained that the auctioning of storage units’ contents has been around for years, but with the advent of television shows like Storage Wars and Storage Hunters, interest in attending the real thing around the country has exploded. His “real job” is selling ads for a national trade magazine. But the self-described obsession of this long-time Ocean Pines resident is auctions. In the beginning, he was always on the side of the bidders and, even now, when he works as the auctioneer at the storage units in Berlin and on Rte. 50 in West Ocean City, he is always bidder number one in case he persuades himself to enter the competition. He started selling real estate when he was only 18 years old and bought his house in Ocean Pines not long after. But, back in the early 1980s, way before the television viewing audience became aware of these events, he said he would go to construction materials auctions in the D.C. and Baltimore areas. He still participates in auctions, both physically and on-line, but acting as an auctioneer offers the best of both worlds: He’s able to quench his desire to participate in the auction while curbing, a bit, the excitement he feels bidding. He recalls how in the earlier days, before the number of attendees grew from 25-30 people to 100-150, each item in the locker was bid on individually. Going through dresser drawers was, he said, “awesome”. When he first started going to auctions he could buy what he calls “morning boxes” for a mere dollar. He said, “I���d go through the box and see if there was anything valuable. There was a mystery to be solved; what would I find in the next box? Could there be a box of gold?” That’s not an impossible dream. Six

months ago someone discovered eight ounces of gold jewelry in a Tupperware box at the Route 50 auction. “At current gold prices, around $1,700 an ounce, the jewelry was probably worth between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on its quality. The price depends on carat weight,” he said. “When people see jewelry, the bidding jumps up immediately.” He once bought a four-drawer filing cabinet at an auction in Annapolis that detailed a couple’s entire life. “The cabinet must have weighed 200 pounds; I bought it for $5. One day, with the Redskins game on the television, I started going through the files. The cabinet contained the couple’s whole life, from their birth and death certificates, diplomas, Navy transfer orders, even x-rays of the man’s brain tumor that killed him,” Janasek said. “One envelope contained $32. I spent four hours looking at these people’s lives. I learned he died in Rehoboth. I missed the entire football game, I was so fascinated.” Janasek did an internet search of the couple’s name and discovered their son is a well-known Hollywood producer. He emailed him to tell him of his find, but the son had no interest in what he had, leaving another mystery. Janasek became an auctioneer by serendipity. He started while attending a fundraiser auction and the scheduled auctioneer didn’t show up, and the organizer asked if he’d step in. The same thing happened when he was at one of the Route 50 auctions. He has a Barnumesque ability to make the crowd so excited that bidding takes on its own exhilarating momentum. He said people still talk about the woman who got so caught up in the frenzy at a Yacht Club benefit she forgot what she was bidding on; she paid $250 for a box of toilet paper. The reasons why a unit owner’s possessions are auctioned vary widely: from the couple who died and whose son was not interested in their possessions to the guy who put his marijuana growing equipment in storage because he knew jail was in his future; from the elderly woman who rented a locker for years when she entered a nursing home and no longer needed anything except the WWII veteran flag given to her at her husband’s funeral; to those who die without heirs or simply can no longer afford the fees. Janasek thinks people who attend auctions come for three reasons: 10 percent to buy; 40 percent for curiosity; and 50 percent for the entertainment. It is definitely no mystery that he knows how to provide the entertainment. He got his first gratuity recently from a non-bidder because the man so thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.


36 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

March-Early April 2013

Saturday, March 9 Ocean Pines Anglers Club, monthly meeting, 9:30 a.m., Ocean Pines library. Featuring Sgt. Robert McQueeney of the Maryland State Police, currently stationed at the Berlin Barrack “V”. He has over 26 years’ investigative experience handling all manner of criminal and traffic matters. Presentation on identity theft. All welcome. Monday, March 11 Friends of the Ocean Pines Library, monthly meeting, 10 a.m., Ocean Pines. Refreshments 9:30 a.m. Featuring Patrick Renaud, a local author of a collection of short stories entitled Tales My Mother Never Told Me. Graham Caldwell of Radio Airwaves Productions will read one of Mr. Renaud’s stories. All welcome. 410-208-4014. Ocean Pines Camera Club, monthly meeting, 7 p.m., Ocean Pines library. Club photo competition with people’s choice awards. New members welcome. Thursday, March 14 Ocean Pines Garden Club, monthly meeting, 10 a.m.,Ocean Pines Community Center. Plant exchange and Chinese auction of garden items. New members welcome. Saturday, March 16 The Pine’eer Craft and Gift Shop, White Horse Park, Ocean Pines, reopening for the new year, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store features handcrafted home decor, jewelry, and fashion accessories, created by members of the Pine’eer Craft Club. Monday, March 18 OPA Search Committee open meeting, Ocean Pines Community Center, East Room, 7 p.m. Anyone interested in a position on the board of directors is encouraged to attend. The purpose will be to outline the function of the Search Committee, describe the qualifications of the candidates they search for, outline the responsibilities of OPA Board members, and receive input from attendees about finding interested candidates. Tuesday, March 19 Town meeting, Ocean Pines Association general manager Bob Thompson, Ocean Pines Community Center, 6 p.m. Topics of general interest, questions and answers. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, March 19-21 Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Course – Worcester County Library, Ocean Pines, 6-9 p.m. Basic boat handling, navigation, federal and state regulations, piloting, knots, boat terms, aids to navigation, equipment, maintenance and more. Written exam on last night. Meets certificate requirements for operating a boat in

HAPPENINGS Maryland. $15; 16 and under $10. 410726-1509, 410-641-6535 or 410-6418940 for advance registration. www. ocpowersquadron.org. Wednesday, March 20 Retired Nurses of Ocean Pines, anniversary luncheon, Lighthouse Sound, 11:30 a.m. Michael Franklin CEO of Atlantic General Hospital and Coleen Waring, vice president in charge of patient care. To attend luncheon dues must be current. $17per person. Reservations by March 12. Gail Alford alfordgra@aol.com or 410-208-1590. Thursday, March 21 Pine’eer Craft Club of Ocean Pines, monthly meeting, 9:45 a.m. Following the business meeting, members will create a flower pot pen holder. Cost $3.50. Call 410-208-3032 to reserve a kit. All residents of the Ocean Pines Community are welcome, as well as members in close proximity to the Ocean Pines area. Refreshments. Worcester County Tea Party, monthly meeting, 7 p.m., Ocean Pines Community Center. Guest speaker, former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino. Doors open 6:30 p.m. 443-6147214. Friday, March 22 Family fun night, Sports Core pool, 6-8 p.m. Games, races, music and prizes. $4 swim members, $5 residents, $6 nonresidents. Saturday, March 23 Easter dive and pool party, Sports Core pool, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Ten and under. Easter egg dives to be divided into age groups and separated by open swim parties. Pre-registration, 410-641-7052, regular admission rates apply. Sunday, March 24, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, spring concert, Spring Vibes, Community Church of Ocean Pines, Racetrack Road. 3 p.m. Jerome Benichou’s Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra, “Wolves”; Bach’s Concerto No. 1, Warren Wolf ’s Marimba, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. Pre-concert talk 2 p.m. www.midatlanticsymphony.com for tickets. Saturday, March 30 Spring celebration, sponsored by the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department, White Horse Park, 11 a.m.2 p.m. Easter egg hunt, Easter bonnet contest, roving magician Willy Woo Woo, face painting, pony rides, carriage rides, moon bounces, Easter-themed arts and crafts, food and goodies for sale. Easter Egg Hunt times: ages 0-2, 11:30 a.m.; ages 3 and 4, noon; ages 5 and 6, 1 p.m.; ages 7-9, 1:30 p.m. Easter bonnet contest 12:30 p.m. Candy donations accepted at the Ocean Pines Community Center.

410-641-7052. Wednesday, March 27 Ocean Pines Association, board of directors’ monthly meeting, 9 a.m., Ocean Pines Community Center. Approval of 2013-14 OPA budget expected. Sunday, April 7 Bus trip to “Sister Act” at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Bus to depart the Ocean Pines Community Center at 8:30 a.m. to arrive at the theater for the 1 p.m. show. The bus will stop for lunch approximately 11:30 a.m. The bus will return to Ocean Pines immediately following the show, stopping for dinner in Wilmington. Cost $80 and includes transportation and admittance to the show. 410-641-7052 The Sunday, April 14 Kiwanis’ annual Italian Dinner fundraiser, DeNovo’s Trattoria, Manklin Creek Road. Three seatings, 5, 6 and 7 p.m., tickets only, on a firstcome, first-served basis for all time slots. If a particular time slot is sold out, no walk-ins will be allowed for that seating time. Tickets $10 for adults and $5 for all children under 12. Four people per table. Call Ralph Chinn at 410-2086719 for reservations/tickets. Fuull service bar available for all seatings. Carry-outs available. Benefits local youth. Sunday, April 21 Concerts by the Tidewater Singers, a 20+ voice acapella choir, from Easton, Md., featuring Renaissance, ecclesiastical and contemporary music, Community Church of Ocean Pines, 3 p.m. matinee and 7 p.m. Tickets $20 each. Proceeds from the concerts will support the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund, sponsors of the Worcester County Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program, and the Tidewater Singers. www.jessespaddle.org or 443982-2716. Sunday, April 28 Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra concert, “Joyous to Glorious,” Community Church of Ocean Pines, Racetrack Road. 3 p.m. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3. Pre-concert talk 2 p.m. www.midatlanticsymphony.com for tickets. Ongoing Pine’eer Craft and Gift Shop, open Saturdays and Sundays in White Horse Park, Ocean Pines, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The craft store features handcrafted home decor, jewelry, and fashion accessories, created by members of the Pine’eer Craft Club. Worcester Chorale rehearsals, Atlantic United Methodist Church, 4th Street, Ocean City, Wednesdays, March 6, 13, 20, and 27, April 3, 10, 17, and 24,

LIFESTYLES and May 1 and 8. 410-208-4707. Pancake breakfast every Saturday, 8 a.m. till noon, Ocean City Airport, to support the Ocean City Aviation Association’s Huey Memorial Display restoration and continuous maintenance fund. The display is located near the Terminal and requires no security procedures to view. Contact Tom Oneto, 410-641-6888, or Airport Operations,410-213-2471. Suicide Grievers’ Support Group, 3rd Wednesday every month, 6 p.m., Worcester County Health Department, Healthway Drive, Berlin, adjacent to Atlantic General Hospital. Open to anyone who has lost a friend or loved one to suicide. Free of charge. Quiet listening, caring people, no judgment. 410-629-0164 or www.jessespaddle.org. Kiwanis Club meets every Wednesday at 7:45 a.m. in the Ocean Pines Community Center except Wednesday, Nov. 14, and the third Wednesday of the month when they meet at the Woodlands in Ocean Pines from January through May 2013 for an evening dinner meeting starting 6 p.m., $18 per person. Doors open 5:30 p.m. all 410-641-7330. Sanctioned duplicate bridge games, Ocean Pines Community Center, Sundays 1 p.m., Mondays noon, Tuesdays 10 a.m. Partners guaranteed. $5, special games $6. Third Sunday of every month is Swiss teams (no partner guaranteed for teams). Felicia Daly, 410208-1272; Pat Kanz, 410-641-8071 The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 12-05, meets the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the U.S.C.G. Station, Ocean City. Visitors and new members are welcome. Dennis Kalinowski, 410-208-4147. Web site http://a0541205.uscgaux.info. Kabbalah class with Saturday services, coffee, juice and bagels, 9:30 a.m., Saturdays, Temple Bat Yam, 410641-4311. Life after loss support group, second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Community Church at Ocean Pines, 11227 Race Track Road, Berlin, 11 a.m. Help in coping with any type of loss. 410-641-5433. Worcester County Democratic Club meeting, fourth Thursday of each month, 7 p.m., Marlin Room of Ocean Pines Community Center. No December meeting. Club membership is not required.  All those interested in Democratic platforms and  agendas are welcome. Beach Singles, every Thursday, 4-6 p.m., Castaways, Coastal Hwy. at 64th Street, Ocean City, 45+ singles for socializing and monthly activities, 302436-9577. Republican Women of Worcester County, fourth Thursday of each month, 11 a.m. meeting (doors open at 10:30), lunch at noon, local restaurants. Membership chair Barbara Loffler at 410-208-0890. January through June and again September and October.  Dinner meeting in November. No meetings July, August and December.


March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

LIFESTYLES

37

The Stephen Decatur High School swim team recently completed a successful year. Pictured are, left to right, front row, Coach Jenny Miller, Maria Zweifel, Hailey Williams, Madison Tinus, Julia Wellen, Molly Wooten, Carly Deickman, Marley Rakow, and Kailey Mihavetz. Back row: Zack Keiser, Chris Poole, Shayne Custodio, Jake Middleton, Tate Socha, Collin Bankert, Cory Campbell, Coach Damien Sanzotti. Not Pictured: Jeff Middleton.

AQUATICS

Decatur does well at regional, state meets By GINNY REISTER Contributing Writer s many people know, Stephen Decatur High School has a swim team. The fact that it does is due to not only their swimmers but, thanks to the Ocean Pines Association and its Sport Core Pool, they have a place to swim. Thanks also to the Ocean Pines Swim Team, which has developed age group swimmers since 1975. The high school has local talent to call upon when they reach high school age. In 2009, the high school decided to develop a swim team which started as a club sport. Access to the pool was provided, coaches were located among the high school staff and the job began. By the second year, the club had achieved varsity sport status and reserved a block of time starting in mid-November (3:15 to 5 p.m.) until the regional and state meets at the end of February. Pool time was arranged by contract and paid for by SDHS and donations. While the Sports Core pool does not meets depth standards for high school swim meets and therefore cannot host swim meets within the league, the team has used the Pocomoke Y as its home pool for meets and also practice for starting blocks. This year, the Ocean Pines Swim Team shifted five of its blocks from the Swim and Racquet pool where their meets and competitions are held during the summers to the Sports Core pool for the winter. Both teams plus the Master Sharks can practice with the blocks during their seasons. The blocks oc-

A

cupy space at the deep-end well; they will seasonally migrate back and forth between the two pools with the help of the OPA’s Public Works department. Also making use of starting blocks is a new addition to the Sports Core pool, the Mid-Delmarva YMCA, whose swim team began using the Sports Core pool for practices as a convenience to its members from Ocean Pines this winter. Now in its 4th competitive year, the Seahawks have stood at the top of the regional teams that it competes against. In 2011 the boys team almost won the state meet, missing first by a half point. But the state league was reorganized after that into the 1A, 2A, 3A groupings, which evened out the competitive status. Teams from the Eastern Shore now have more competition from the other side of the Bay. By the time of the two championships, the teams (which are normally restricted to 40 swimmers) have been culled by their swimmers’ qualifying times for each event. The Seahawks sent 16 swimmers (8 girls and 8 boys) to those events. In regionals this year, the Girls team took first and the Boys team was second. At States, the Boys team finished 8th and the Girls team 11th. Results for 2013 at States: Boys: Jake Middleton (3rd in 200 Free, 5th in 500 Free, tied for 2nd in 200 Free Relay and 13th in 200 Medley Relay); Shayne Custudio (4th in 200 IM and 100 Back, tied for 2nd in 200 Free Relay and 13th in 200 Medley Relay); Jeffrey Middleton (13th in 200 Medley Relay, 14th in 100 Back, and

22nd in 400 Free Relay); Chris Poole (tied for 2nd in 200 Free Relay and 13th in 200 Medley Relay; Colin Bankert (17th in 100 Free, 22nd in 100 Breast, and 22nd in 400 Free Relay), Cory Campbell (tied for 2nd in 200 Free Relay; Zack Keiser 22nd in 400 Free Relay; and Tate Socha (22nd in 400 Free Relay). Girls: Madison Tinus (7th in 100 Free, 14th in 200 Free Relay and 17th in 200 Medley Relay); Hailey Williams (12th in 200 Free and 500 Free, 17th in 200 Medley Relay and 14th in 400 Free Relay); Carly Dieckman (14th in 100 Breast and 200 Free Relay and 17th in 200 Medley Relay); Maria Zweifel (14th in 200 and 400 Free Relays); Julia Wellen (14th in 200 Free Relay and 17th in 200 Medley Relay); Molly Wooten (14th in 400 Free Relay and 18th in 200 Free); and Marley Rakow (14th in 400 Free Relay). The coaches are Jenny Miller in her second year and Damien Sanzotti in his first year. Both have considerable swimming and coaching experience. Sanzotti is a teacher, works on the Beach Patrol summers and has coached the Ocean Pines Swim Team for several years. Certificate of Excellence At the end of every year, the Health Department staff that checks all pools in Worcester County (some 580 facilities) awards a certificate of excellence to the pools that have best maintained proper standards for that year. For 2012, Swim and Racquet and Mumford’s Landing pools each have received this award through their certified training as pool operators and their attention to cleanliness and maintenance on a daily basis.


38 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

March-Early April 2013

COMMENTARY

OPINION

Reserves debate is crucial for Ocean Pines’ future LIFE IN THE LIFE INPINES THE PINES

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ot many Ocean Pines property owners attended five-year funding plan is responsible for $30 of the $41Anwe’re somehow underfunding our the reserves. excursion through the curious by-ways cul-d An excursion through curious and by-ways all or even most of the work sessions in which assessment increase approved by the board for next What the Gomsak overview didn’t include was the of Worcester County’s County’s most densely com of Worcester mostpopulated densely popula the board of directors hashed out the budget for year. projected reserve balance on April 30, 2014, the end of Publisher By TOM STAUSS/ Publisher By TOM STAUSS/ the 2013-14 fiscal year. As in all sausage-making, it’s In his reserve overview, Gomsak makes the case the next budget year, when total reserves are forecast not a pretty sight, and very few people, aside from the that there is $10.1 million shortfall in the OPA’s to stand at $2.97 million and the replacement reserve directors themselves, have the patience and stamina to replacement reserve. The shortfall is the difference at $2.34 million. This will be OPA’s reserve balance endure the budget marathon. In a way, that’s a shame, between the amount of money in the depreciation-tied after having paid for a $4.3 million Yacht Club, new because the January-February period is the time of the “historical” portion of the replacement reserve and the golf course greens, and a myriad of other replacement year when the board most directly and intimately deals accumulated depreciation on applicable OPA assets. To assets from police cars to dump trucks and the like. with major policy issues that affect the future of the Gomsak, and a board majority, that alleged shortfall And then, during May of 2014, another $4 million Ocean Pines Association. Buried in budget minutiae looms large; to a board minority, not so much. And for will flow into the reserves courtesy of property owners, is any number of policy decisions that impact the lot good reason. most of whom will be clueless about that fact. assessment that property owners – 97 percent of us, According to the assistant treasurer, since the Not too shabby, Ocean Pines’ financial condition. anyway – contribute to the OPA every year. OPA historically has funded its replacement reserve Who would have thought that, even after major As the cover story in this edition of the Progress by funding depreciation of the OPA’s capital assets, expenditures on major projects, the condition of OPA’s details, the directors were split 4-3 this year on the the objective should be to fund the accumulated reserves could be so healthy. Underfunded? Not even need to raise the lot assessment $41 in the 2014 budget. depreciation in its entirety. close. OPINION This is the last year of the so-called five-year funding That logic does not hold up to scrutiny. Project $4 million in reserve allocations out over ten The Ocean Pines Progress, a journ plan of programmed $30 per year per lot increases in Certainly no rational person would say that lot years, and the extraction comes close to $40 million. news and commentary, is pub the replacement reserve. Several votes by the board assessments should be raised in one year sufficient A significant portion of that, maybe $10 million or so, monthly throughout the year. during the budget marathon suggest that support for to extract another $10.1 million to meet the Gomsak will flow into the bulkhead replacement reserve, so in circulated in Ocean Pines, Berlin, this annual extraction is eroding – with directors Dave objective. Moreover, another $10.1 million is not reality the OPA over that ten year period would have Ocean City, Snow Hill, Ocean Stevens, Marty Clarke and Ray Unger indicating that needed in any rational Ocean Pines universe because roughly $30 million to spend on various big-ticket and Cit Capain’sitems, Cove,Va. their allegiance to the five-year funding plan is not under no conceivable set of circumstances will the OPA small-ticket capital replacement absent some through the curious by-ways and cul-de-sacs Letters and other editorial excursion through the curious by-ways and cul-de-sacs rock solid. Nor should it be, as projected OPA reserve need to have parked in its reserves funds sufficient to corrective surgery on the OPA’s assessment base. submis Please submit via email only. We d County’s most densely community. Worcester County’s densely populated community. balances driven inmost part populated by the five-year funding plan cover the cost of replacing all of Ocean Pines assets in Even Gomsak, in a recent conversation with the accept faxes or submissions that make a case for the fact that OPA assessments are too any given year. Progress, admitted that he doubts that OPA capital re isher Publisher USS/ should be origina high and could be rolled back in future years without The pernicious effect of the Gomsak argument spending will be anywhereretyping. close toLetters $30 million over exclusive to the Progress. Include p any detrimental effect on OPA finances. is that could justify raising the assessment every the next ten years. Having an outsized influence on the board majority, year for the foreseeable future in order to raise that By a June target date, OPA General Manager former OPA director and current OPA Assistant $10.1 million he says is needed. Bear in mind that Bob Thompson is supposed to have compiled a list of Treasurer Pete Gomsak prepared an overview of the no accounting principle says an organization must capital spending projects that he over the 127foresees Nottingham Lane, replacement reserve account as of April 30, 2012, have in its reserve an amount sufficient to cover the next ten years or so. That “racking and stacking” as he Ocean Pines, MD that probably helped convince the board majority replacement cost of all its capital assets. Generally likes to call it can then be compared to the projected to continue funding the five-year plan this year. The accepted accounting principles, of which Gomsak is contributions to reserves over this same ten-year PUBLISHER/EDITOR PUBLISHER/EDITOR well versed, require accounting for depreciation. But period. Tom Stauss recording depreciation on the books of the association It won’t come anywhere close to $30 million. Tom StaussThe tstauss1@mchsi.com according to GAAP and actually funding it are two extent to which it is less than $30tstauss1@mchsi.com million is the extent completely different matters entirely. A board majority to which the portion of the annual 410-641-6029 assessment that 410-641-6029 apparently doesn’t quite grasp that simple fact, and so flows into replacement reserves can be reduced. – Tom Advertising Advertising apparently it has bought into the incorrect notion that Stauss Pinesa Progress, a journal of comThe Ocean The PinesOcean Progress, journal of news and ART DIRECTOR news and commentary, is published mentary, is published monthly throughout the year. It is ARTRota DIRECTOR Knott monthly throughout year. is Capcirculated in Ocean Pines, Berlin, the Ocean City,Itand Hugh Dougherty in Ocean Pines, Berlin, West tain’s Cove,circulated Va. CONTRIBUTING Ocean City, Snow Hill, Ocean Letters and other submissions should be City sent and via email WRITERSWRIT CONTRIBUTING Cove,faxes Va. or other submissions that only. We doCapain’s not accept Rota Knott require retyping. should be original and exclusive LettersLetters and other editorial submissions: Knott to the Progress. Include phone number for verification. Ginny Reister Please submit via email only. We do not Inkwellmedia@comcast.n accept faxes or submissions that require 443-880-1348 127Letters Nottingham retyping. shouldLane, be original and Ocean Pines, MD. 21811 exclusive to the Progress. Include phone

THE FE INPINES THE PINES

PUBLISHER/EDITOR Tom Stauss

127 Nottingham Lane, tstauss1@mchsi.com 410-641-6029 Ocean Pines, MD

ADVERTISING PUBLISHER/EDITOR PUBLISHER/EDITOR Tom Stauss Tom TomStauss Stauss tstauss1@mchsi.com ART DIRECTOR tstauss1@mchsi.com 410-641-6029 Rota Knott 410-641-6029 Advertising

Advertising CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rota Knott ART DIRECTOR Ginny Reister ART DIRECTOR Rota Knott

Hugh Dougherty

PROOFREADING CONTRIBUTING Joanne Williams

WRITERSWRITER CONTRIBUTING Rota Knott Knott


OPINION

OPINION

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March-Early April 2013 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

39

Legal costs of Clarke investigation a poor investment

ccording to a recent disclosure, the “investigation” into OPA Director Marty Clarke conducted a couple of months ago by General us cul-de-sacs heby-ways curious and by-ways and cul-de-sacs Counsel Joe Moore cost property owners sely populated community. most densely populated community. a little more than $11,000. That is not a cause of celebration. It’s more like a marker that measures the cost of board dysfunction, the inability to manage differences of opinion effectively. A healthy board of directors is not always in lockstep, singing from the same choirbook. Dissent and even the occasional loss of decorum are indicators of a board that is functioning well, as paradoxical as that might sound. When the majority turns on the

SPINES

ean Pines Progress, a journal of and commentary, is published Toxic pool y throughout the year. It is “Dumping pool”West means the water ed in Ocean Pines, aBerlin, has gotten so toxic that the filter system City, Snow Hill, Ocean City and in Va. place cannot correct the problem. s Cove, easy solution, dump the toxic water andThe other editorial submissions: -- unless you have patrons that expect submit via email only. We do not the pool to be clean and warm (if it is a axes or submissions that require heated pool). g. Letters should be original and Here is a thought: How much energy ve to the Progress. Include phone does it take to bring 170,000 gallons of water from 55 degrees to 83 degrees? 8.34 BTUs per gallon x 170,000 x 28 27 degrees Nottingham Lane, BTUs, but that = 39,698,400 figure Pines, is withMD no loss of heat. About one Ocean degree an hour is lost in an uncovered pool; 110 hours to heat the pool is about UBLISHER/EDITOR UBLISHER/EDITOR 200,000,000 BTUs or about $3000 in gas Tom Stauss Stauss orTom nearly $5000 in electricity. How much stauss1@mchsi.com does 170,000 gallons of water cost? tstauss1@mchsi.com 410-641-6029 About $600. 410-641-6029 Advertising But that does not include sewage Advertising costs which are metered by incoming water, so figure an additional $400 for ART DIRECTOR ART DIRECTOR those. Now Rota Knottdouble that because we just threw away the same amount, so nearly Hugh Dougherty $4000. And figure dumping two times CONTRIBUTING a year. What about down time when WRITERS paid for pool usage? And NTRIBUTING patrons haveWRITER Knott Rota Knott man hours of public works and aquatics Ginny Reister department employees? The cost on the wellmedia@comcast.net environment from dumping toxic water? 443-880-1348 How about medical costs and lost time at work and pain and suffering for sinus, ear and other infections caused by toxic water? Deadly Cryptosporidiosis, an infection with the chlorine-resistant Cryptosporidium parasite, can be present in pool water and spray features. A proper Ultra Violet or ozone system as part of a pool’s normal filter system sanitizes water, eliminating any possibility of an outbreak. Pools that use them can avoid dumping and reheating water for as many as ten years or more. Why hasn’t Ocean Pines installed a UV or ozone system at the Sports Core pool? Erik Hertz Ocean Pines

LIFE IN THE LIFE INPINES THE PINES

OPA bylaws are ill-defined, calling in the general counsel to “investigate” An excursion through the curious cul-de-sacs An excursion through theby-ways curious and by-ways and cul-de-sacs allegations of director misbehavior should be used rarely, if at all. of Worcester County’s County’s most densely community. of Worcester mostpopulated densely populated community. So it was disconcerting, to say the By TOM STAUSS/ By TOM Publisher STAUSS/Publisher least, when word leaked more recently minority for some alleged infraction, Bob Thompson and Director Sharyn that, once again, Clarke had drawn initiating an “investigation” for alleged O’Hare, but those kinds of verbal the fire of an OPA official or officials violations of a non-existent code of contretemps need to be hashed out and, offended by something he said, did, or conduct (repealed in 2008), that is when if possible, resolved without calling in allegedly said or did. As best as can be confirmed by the healthy debate and dissent turns ugly the general counsel. Sometimes people Progress – and details are murky, just need to agree to disagree. and dysfunctional. The code of conduct that once had because no one is talking on the record Moore’s investigation of Clarke yielded exactly nothing of consequence, governed situations such as these is – Clarke is said to have allegedly other than a determination that he no longer in force. Absent a firm set of “colluded” with one of the bidders on the did nothing wrong. Sure, some of his guidelines that govern board decorum, Yacht Club pool contract, precisely how comments had offended some of his and the fact that factors justifying and in what way is unknown. Clarke employed some colorful colleagues, notably General Manager removal of directors for “cause” in the barnyard epithets in response to a request for confirmation. Translated The Ocean Pines Progress, a journal of from the barnyard vernacular, the news and commentary, is published normally outspoken director had nothing monthly throughout the year. It is backgrounds” but Pines, did not sayWest or imply to say whether he once again had been circulated in Ocean Berlin, Anti-renter bigotry accused of some sort of wrongdoing. that because people receive assistance, In response to your story on the Ocean City, Snow Hill, Ocean City and Since he’s still serving on the board, that means they have “less than stellar Capain’s Cove, Va. changing demographics posing risk to the alleged wrong-doing appears once Letters and other editorial submissions: Ocean Pines [February-Early March backgrounds.” again to have been baseless, a waste of edition], it is true that crime is on the Please submit via email only. We do not association dollars if, once again, Moore accept faxes or submissions that require rise during these economic hard times. Fiscal decline was asked to investigate. That’s as far as my agreement goes on retyping. Letters should be original and “Negative variance” is the euphemistic Clarke publicly opposed the awarding the matter. I say, shame on you, Chief of way exclusive to the Progress. Include phone to describe the continuing decline of the contract to Parrish Pools on the Police Dave Massey, and shame on any of the association’s fiscal affairs. But grounds that it was some $50,000 or resident that looks down on renters in wait, the “negative variances” are more than the lowest bid. the Pines of any financial bracket. just beginning. The golf course is a 127 Nottingham Lane, That’s an entirely defensible position We didn’t move here to have the bottomless hole that will cost more and to take, just as the alternative point Ocean Pines, MD chief of police and, more than likely, more because it is a failed business that members of the board of directors profile has no market niche. The New Yacht of view, that Parrish Pool’s bid was the “best” even if not the lowest bid, is the residents they were hired to serve. ClubPUBLISHER/EDITOR sales job is finally starting to lose PUBLISHER/EDITOR defensible. I’ve seen this bigotry in some of the its luster as Tom theStauss numbers Tom Stauss just refuse to Clarke also made a few phone calls to residents. I don’t need it from officials. be persuaded by our “Pied Piper” general tstauss1@mchsi.com check out the local references of Parrish tstauss1@mchsi.com Other than a scant few instances, I have manager. And to demonstrate how truly 410-641-6029 – there is no reason a director can’t take 410-641-6029 been happy to know my neighbors; they silly this whole “budget” folly is, we now Advertising that degree of initiative – and came back couldn’t be nicer. Advertising read that Ocean Pines property values with information that contradicted the One is one of the fire department have fallen again. assessment of General Manager Bob ART DIRECTOR chiefs and his family has been so nice NowART remember, we are not talking DIRECTOR Thompson’s team that Parrish’s bid was Rota Knott to us. Others comment on how nice we about critical community infrastructure, the best submitted. Hughclearly Dougherty keep our yard since we moved here. Our but frill that serve a minority of None of this comes even close to CONTRIBUTING house was empty for two years before association members. The Golf Club is collusion with one of the bidders. It’s we moved in. We watch our neighbors’ aCONTRIBUTING WRITERS WRITER defacto “private club” that is really conceivable that Clarke’s private house while they spend the winter on the “dole.” doesn’t matter what RotaItKnott Knott investigation of the pool bidding process in Baltimore and helped them with you try toGinny change, it will never break Reister Inkwellmedia@comcast.net incensed the general manager – clearly, damage from the storm. even because it cannot compete with 443-880-1348 We’re renters; we’re not poor or the other 17 courses within a 45 minute much of what Clarke says and does has on assistance. We live on two modest drive. Ask any golfer you know (other precisely that effect. But it’s also the case that Thompson incomes, but I personally grew up poor than the Ocean Pines golf members), works for the board, which includes in a poor neighborhood. It wasn’t a bad and they will almost universally tell you Clarke, so the general manager has thing, I’m proud of where I came from. the same thing. little choice other than to counter views I resent the fact that Massey seems The Yacht Club has shown a “negative to think that because some people are on variance” for at least 40 years. I was not with which he disagrees as respectfully assistance they have “less than stellar impressed with the “Pied Piper’s” rant and artfully as he can. He did so during the Feb. 23 meeting backgrounds.” Maybe we should instead at a recent Board meeting about how in which the contract was approved, concentrate on the lack of jobs and his skilled management needs time and six directors accepted the general programs and the fact that Annapolis to correct “40 years of going down the manager’s recommendation to hire seems to forget about this side of the wrong road.” Putting lipstick on a pig Parrish to build the new Yacht Club pool. bridge. doesn’t make it anything but a pig with It would be unfortunate if charges Bud and Karen Humelsine lipstick. of Clarke collusion originated with Ocean Pines Maybe it is time for the residents of Editor’s Note: The article, headlined Ocean Pines to vote with their feet and Thompson. Any general manager taking on an “Changing demographics pose risk to get out of the community before the Pines’ low crime rate,” specified that “going out of business sale” that is sure elected director, no matter how justified Chief Massey did not say or imply that to follow the spending blitz of the “Pied he feels in the rightness of his cause, cannot have an auspicious ending. long-term renters are greater crime risks Piper” and his mesmerized followers. In the case of Clarke, it’s like poking than property owners. He said that some Reggie Shephard, Jr a hornet’s nest with a two-inch pole. Section 8 tenants “have less than stellar Ocean Pines

LETTERS


March-Early April 2013

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40 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


March-Early April 2013