Voices From The Readers
Some Tax Increases Okay, Others Not
I am writing regarding Michael James' letter, 'State Tax Increases Will Hurt Business' in last week's issue.
Isn't it strange how tax increases proposed by the hotel-motel owners, etc. are in the interests of the community (added room taxes for advertising)? But when others propose tax increases to keep the state solvent, the story line changes and suddenly increases are all bad.
With regard to "slots", why not let the voters decide, despite what the town and county officials have decided for us.
OC's Future Is As East Coast Vegas
I think the business community in Ocean City has their collective heads in the sand at our great beach.
I have been coming to Ocean City since 1938. During my early years, slots were in Ocean City located on the boards.
Ocean City must redefine itself. With a growing population in the surrounding metropolitans from Virginia to New York, Ocean City projects a flat line for growth of visitors.
If Ocean City were a viable vacation resort in the 2000's, the number of visitors would be increasing. It is not. Therefore, it is time to recognize that potential visitors want more than the boards and beach. Slots in Ocean City would bring a new energized group of visitors who would spend money.
The myth that the City and business community advances. -- a family resort - is not only incorrect but misleading. There are more bars and clubs in Ocean City than in most mid-size towns.
In addition, peruse the local papers. Look at what is featured in the pictures. Do you see families? No you see individuals at local bars and clubs having drinks. The future for Ocean City rests with making it a destination for retired people, and as a East Coast Las Vegas.
Don't object to slots, expand gambling and encourage local business to sponsor and provide dice, cards etc.. with shows and all that comes with the introduction of gambling.
As an owner, I could look forward to a reduction in my taxes and a increase in the value of my property and some entertainment, in addition to the boards and the beach.
Bernard R. Jacobs
Is Slots Better Than Increasing Taxes?
For what seems like an eternity, the main topic focused on and written about here have been slots.
I am seeing a problem where this topic is concerned and it's not whether slots are good or bad. My concern is that it has distracted from, what I believe to be, a larger potential problem.
One of the negative reasons those opposed to slots cite is that their presence in this county could siphon money from the local tourism industry. Prior to the start of the 'special session' in Annapolis, it was possibly a valid point but at this time I believe, there is a larger threat to the tourism industry here.
This 'special' legislative session has enacted tax legislation that I think will have a very negative impact on local tourism. The taxpayers in this state are going to be giving up more money in taxes then what we are already paying. This includes this community's potential customers as well.
When coupled with all the other economic uncertainties that already exist, this means that 'Joe average', our tourism industry's 'bread and butter', will have less to spend. The topic of slots has been mentioned frequently in the news media, be it TV or the papers, across this state. Very little, however, has been reported concerning the protests over these proposed tax increases. It's almost as if it doesn't exist.
That, however, is a misnomer. 'Joe average' taxpayer protests are occurring. The problem is that very little is being heard of it, community leaders don't seem to be involved in it and most importantly very few in Annapolis seems to be listening.
I don't know what the answer is concerning the 'structural deficit' but I am pretty sure that very few of us can financially afford the burden of paying more taxes and I'm sure that includes this community's potential paying customers.
More Effort Needed To Keep Plans Alive
The shelving of the expansion to the ocean bowl skate park is a joke.
We, the skate community of Ocean City and surrounding areas, believe more could have been done to move this project forward. The current skate park was a good addition to the town, and I believe had sparked a surge in skateboard interest throughout the town and surrounding counties.
However, it has been some six or seven years and the need to expand the park is a reality. The land next to the skate park as we all know hardly gets used and has become a waste. The lack of support has pushed local skateboarders here to travel to other counties in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware, where they can skate the parks that are up to date and large enough to accommodate more than a handful of skaters.
The downtown proposal was not only to expand the park but to enhance the whole 3rd and 4th streets area, from Coastal Highway to the bayfront. I feel that the town once again has proven its lack of support for the younger community here in Ocean City and has turned their back on us again. How would all this play out if it were re-election time here in town?
Last time the park was up for reconstruction, most of the council backed us. Where is everyone now?
The skateboard community here in the town of Ocean City requests a little help from our leaders. Show us you all are not fake. Show us that skateboarding in OC is as important as surfing, golf or fishing. Tighten up.
Housing Project Needs More Support
The citizens of Snow Hill voted overwhelmingly in a special election to annex the Summerfield project into the township. Now, almost two years later, the project may be stopped because the mayor and his administration have failed to come to an agreement in their differences with the developer, Mark Odachowski.
While the mayor must be given credit for judiciously protecting the interest of the voters in the planning of the project, this recent dispute regarding the developer's request of a concession to change the date for posting the bond for the Wastewater Treatment facility is both absurd and ridiculous. The mayor has a mandated charge and an obligation to resolve the existing differences so that the Summerfield project can go forth.
At the bottom line, the differences center on two factors:
1. The availability of Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDU).
The Town is authorized 2,000 EDU's. Of that number, 1,280 are currently being used. That leaves 720 EDU's for development of new homes and businesses. Of the 720 available EDU's, Summerfield was allocated 300 units. Additionally, there are other allocations for projects on the drawing board to be taken from the available EDU's. It is expected that the commitments made to Summerfield and others will be honored. Based upon the number and agreements made by the town, there is no shortage of EDU's.
2. A request by the Developer to change the date for posting the Bond, Phase I, for the construction of the new Wastewater Treatment Plant. In view of the extended delays in moving the project forward, the developer is now subject to new regulations by the Maryland Historical Trust, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Core of Army Engineers. The reason that the developer is unable to post the bond at this juncture is that the studies and engineering, required as a result of the new regulations, are not complete. As a result, the developer does not know the actual cost to be bonded.
Many other citizens, and I, worked hard to annex Summerfield into Snow Hill. We did so because we believed, and still do, that the project offers the best hope for the revitalization of our town, the expansion of its tax bases and the creation of jobs.
Since the annexation, the developers have moved their corporate offices into Snow Hill, creating more than 35 new jobs. On Dec. 3, 2007, the Odachowski brothers will officially open their new Royal Plus headquarters. Company representatives from across the county will be in Snow Hill for the opening. As a result, new business opportunities will be generated and new local jobs opportunities will be created. When the Worcester County Developmental Center burned, the Odachowski brothers stepped up to the plate to help; they are renovating their former business location to house the Developmental Center, which will open Dec. 1, 2007.
Mark Odachowski must be given the consideration that he is requesting. If the Mayor and Council fail to amend the annexation agreement as requested, the Summerfield project will not be built. The delays in moving the project forward have resulted from the new government regulations and the slump in the housing market, which are creating economic challenges for the developer. In the absence of the ability to begin construction now, while concurrently testing and permitting, the Summerfield project is dead in the water.
Please join me on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m., at the Snow Hill High School for the Mayor and Council's public meeting to resolve this matter. As a community, we must hold our elected officials accountable and say to them, again, that Summerfield is the best hope that we have to develop the economic viability of this community, help provide tax relief for our citizens and create future prospects for our children.
Edward S. Lee
Thanks For Support
The students, faculty and parents of Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School (MBS) would like to thank everyone who sponsored a child for the Walkathon and who showed up to support the Fall Festival.
This Fall Fundraiser supports many of the ongoing projects that help MBS to continue to be a state-of-the-art facility for this area's pre-kindergarten through eighth grade children.
We would like to give a special thanks (in no particular order) to the following sponsors that pledged above and beyond in time and money: Brendan and Renee Welch and the Welch Family, KEKA Corporation and the Camarco Family, Tommy and Lynn Welch, C&C Drywall, Devon International, Mike Capuano, Great Scott Broadcasting, Sussex Medical Aesthetics, Country Wicker, Barlow & Son Builders, Cathy Ward and Rick Civetti, Miken Builders, Pat and Dayna Welch, Jack Hogan, Honorable Frank Kelly, Millville Pet Shop, Justin Jennings Foundation, M & H Construction, Mike Lewis Custom Carpentry, Russell Banks, DNR Construction Group, Ocean Minded Construction, Lee Slaughter Fine Cars, Joe Trigila Jr., Bayside Jet Drive, Bryan and Angela Keith, Morgan Stanley~ Kilian/Kangas Group, Anthony's Beer and Wine, Clarion Resort, Trader Lee's Village Store, Francis Scott Key Motel, Ayres Jenkins Gordy & Almand, P.A., Erik and Colleen Windrow, Mama's Tax Service, The Globe Theatre, Damiana's Gourmet Catering, Nelly Foundation, Sunset Grille, Endeavor Farms, Black Diamond Builders Inc., Ocean City Parrothead Club, The Rodimaks, Impressions Inc., Sens Mechanical Inc., Pop Pop Baker, Shore Power Electric Inc., Alterations by Pamela, Scott and Shuman LLC, Atlantic Community Title, Services LLC, All About Plumbing Inc., Harris Teeter, Momma Trudi Clubb, Dr. William Allen, Waterman's Seafood Company, Oasis Bar & Grill, Anderson Exxon, Lisa Edmunds, Andrea Baker, Michele Hundley, Kate Baker, Kim Allison, Damiana Clubb, Karen March, Larnet St. Amant, Kate Griffith and Cathy Pasquariello.
Thank you for your continued support.
(The writer was the chair of the Walkathon/Fall Festival.)
Date Announced For Mayor's Breakfast
On Friday Dec. 7, we will be holding our 18th Annual Ocean City Mayor's Prayer Breakfast at the Clarion Hotel.
Our guest speaker this year is Salisbury native Howard Travers, who has been active in television and radio for the last 18 years and is a great public speaker. He will be presenting a very uplifting and encouraging message.
All are invited to attend and you won't be disappointed. Tables of eight or 10 people may be reserved at the time of purchase on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tickets for this buffet breakfast must be purchased in advance prior to Dec. 2 for $15 at the following locations: City Hall, 3rd Street & Baltimore Ave, Ocean City; Long and Foster Realty, 118th Street & Coastal Hwy; Cropper Oil Company, Route 50; Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, West Ocean City; or by sending a check to Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, P.O. Box 493, Berlin, Md. 21811.
For additional information, call 410-641-1300 or evenings at 410-641-4592.
Support For Annual Charirty Appreciated
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank those members of the Worcester County Bar Association who contributed funds in support of the Bar's Annual Thanksgiving Charity.
Through their generosity, we were able to provide a turkey and all of the trimmings to 260 less fortunate families here in Worcester County. I also would like to thank school officials at Pocomoke Elementary, Snow Hill Elementary, Buckingham Elementary and Showell Elementary, as well as Worcester County G.O.L.D., for helping identify those in need and coordinating delivery of our food items.
Finally, Dave Smith, Lenny French and the staff at SuperFresh on 94th Street are to be congratulated for their tireless effort and generosity. Without them, this exercise in giving would be impossible.
David C. Gaskill,
(The writer is the chairman of the Committee on Charitable Endeavors.)