It’s disturbing to see the Ocean City Mayor and Council agree to appropriate $165,000 toward the design of a new beach patrol headquarters, while advocating for controversial cost-cutting moves, such as expanding paid parking in the resort and significantly reducing skate park hours.
This is an inconsistent approach and the council needs to reconsider this poorly timed decision. The idea behind this funding allocation is it will be refunded at a later time through a bond issuance, which is basically debt accumulation. It’s understandable the beach patrol building downtown is a serious blight and even a safety hazard, but there are obvious concerns here over the council’s inconsistent methodology.
On one hand, the financial picture is such a concern the city has spent months exploring alternative revenue sources to make up the budget gap between expenditures and revenues, which have taken a pounding due to declining property values. That’s a major issue and I generally support the city’s initiatives to raise new monies through more parking meter spaces and cutting the graveyard shift of the bus system in the offseason. However, to initiate a series of service cuts, including closure of the skate park in January and February and reducing its hours from Labor Day to Memorial Day, and then allocate significant financial resources for a major reconstruction project for a department that will basically utilize it four months of the year is bad policy.
There is no question the Ocean City Beach Patrol is one of the town’s crown jewels and deserves better than its present accommodations on Dorchester Street, but I think this is the wrong year to begin the expensive process of acquiring vacant lots from the OCDC and then designing and building the new facility. It’s particularly disheartening that it comes when the Mayor and Council are under significant fire for some other budget balancing moves, which were all made in the name of saving money and boosting revenues.
Congratulations to 17-year-old Mike Durkin for getting involved in a cause he feels passionate about.
A senior at Worcester Prep facing graduation in three weeks, Durkin launched an online petition after hearing Ocean City officials are planning on basically making the skate park a seasonal operation. With an eye on slashing expenses, the town is planning to significantly reduce offseason hours of the Ocean Bowl Skate Park to just weekends and days when is closed after Labor Day and shutter the facility altogether in January and February.
Agree or disagree with his cause, the teenager deserves credit for showing the initiative to get involved at a time in his life when he is juggling a lot and wrapping up his high school career. Perhaps the most honorable thing is he will be attending college in the fall when this proposal is set to go into effect and will not be impacted whatsoever. He was merely stepping up for his friends and colleagues who will be here next fall and look forward to utilizing the skate park during the school year.
Former Ocean City Councilman Joe Hall may be out of office, but he has apparently not lost his zeal for politics. In fact, he is giving our most frequent online commentators — folks by the name of Bushman and Supervisor Frank — a running for their money.
For those who don’t know, visitors to our website have the opportunity to comment on stories posted. Once they are screened and approved, the comments appear at the bottom of the article. Some of the comments are flattering to the paper, while others are critical and harsh. Some comments are insightful, while others are not germane to the topic at all. Some comments are poignant and some are disconcerting.
In the case of Hall’s comments, I rarely know how to describe them. Below is a response to an editorial penned last week questioning why Worcester County chose not to do a national search for its chief administrative officer vacancy and instead promoted from within. The opinion piece contrasted that decision to what Ocean City has recently done with its high-profile job openings, such as the police chief and the city manager posts. In his customary inarticulate and befuddling manner, Hall took exception with the paper’s point of view.
“You couldn’t be wronger Steve. One you forgot Ocean City hired the City Clerk from within. That’s a high profile position. She is doing great. We also tried to give our best inside guy a chance. Hale Adkins for the City Manager’s Job. Some of you elite council member’s you support wouldn’t even give him the respect of a sit down interview walking out on him. While as for the police chiefs job. If you think my phone call was lame brain. What your boys are doning in chief police search over the top,” he wrote. “You should do some of your own homework. Going outside can be worthy cause. Hiring from within gives confidence in your home team. To think outsider’s know better than home grown speaks volumes about how you feel about our local talent. Blue ribbon school system can produce good enough management people. Steve your way off. I believe in buy local, and hire local whenever you can.”