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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Fiscal controls vital to new reserve account

Ocean Pines officials are absolutely right when they insist that parameters be set on how the money in the new capital reserve fund may be used.

If one thing has been proven in Ocean Pines year after controversial year, it’s that people are inclined to believe all sorts of things, regardless of the truth of the matter.

These last few years have been some of the calmest the community has ever experienced, politically speaking, with the board seemingly dedicated to not rocking the boat for no apparent reason. The focus of this group, and the one that immediately preceded it, seems to be to maintain stability financially and operationally, with no grand schemes in the works.

That, however, does not guarantee that the next board, or the board after that, will follow that same path or operate in the same fashion. That’s why developing rules to govern the use of the capital reserve fund is so important.

It isn’t to prevent the current board or its successor later this year from turning this account into a handy little slush fund, but to ensure that future directors don’t fall into the trap of using that money simply because it’s there.

Or worse, having the public believe it’s using that money for every pet project that comes along, even when it isn’t.

Those misunderstandings and misconceptions can lead to the loss of trust between the community and the directors, and result in problems that can be more serious than bad spending decisions.

As association Treasurer Larry Perrone observed last Friday during discussions of the need to restrict the fund’s use to certain uses, “The reality … is any four directors can vote to do something else. The hope is, going forward, that by having some established policies and procedures, that won’t happen.”

That makes sense, because not only is the board protecting itself with the imposition of rules for the fund’s use, it also is protecting future boards of directors from being tempted to spend that money on just about anything it desires, and then from the unfavorable community reaction that’s bound to follow.