SNOW HILL – With draft legislation in hand on the tax credit for Jolly Roger Amusement Park, the Worcester County Commissioners voted to support the bill at their March 4 meeting.
However, not all the commissioners felt that this was an appropriate time to pursue a tax credit.
“We heard the impending doom and gloom from the legislature. We don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs. “I think this is the wrong time to open the door to this, this year.”
Boggs voted against supporting the legislation, the lone dissenting vote among the commissioners.
The bill does not obligate a dollar amount, Commissioner Bobby Cowger pointed out.
The bill also does not require either Worcester County or Ocean City to give the Jolly Roger Amusement Park a tax credit.
“It’s simply enabling legislation,” said Commissioner Linda Busick.
It is up to the municipality and the county to look at their budgets and consider the request for a tax credit from Jolly Roger Amusement Park and determine whether that is feasible or desirable.
West Ocean City is home to other amusement parks that would like tax credits as well.
Commissioner Bud Church, who represents that area, said amusement park owners who would like the same chance to save on taxes have already approached him.
“Why did we just limit it to Ocean City?” he wondered.
Because Trimper’s Amusements and Jolly Roger Amusement Park came before the commissioners and asked for tax help, county attorney Sonny Bloxom said.
“We are opening the door,” said Boggs. “We already have seen another park operator asking for similar consideration.”
This bill is the only way to give Ocean City the power to help the Jolly Roger Amusement Park, said Commission President Virgil Shockley.
“They would need it to give a tax credit to Jolly Roger Amusement Park because there’s nothing in the law now that allows them to give a tax credit to Jolly Roger Amusement Park,” Bloxom said.
“I still have a concern we’re doing this for Ocean City and not for the county,” said Church.
Shockley said later that the county needs a study of the high costs of the amusement park operation that the park owners are referring to.
“Quite frankly, we may not be able to afford to give anything to anybody before this is over with,” Shockley said.