By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 16, 2019) Larry Perrone, 63, who has made a home for himself in Ocean Pines for 36 years, and has decided to run for the board of directors.
Perrone, who moved to this area from Pennsylvania, is a retired insurance claims adjuster whose work has led him to travel ranging from Baltimore, New York and Boston. Perrone earned a degree in criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and went into the military after college. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an air defense officer for four years. He also served four years in the reserves.
Perrone said he hopes to use his financial experiences to improve the quality of services and amenities for the community.
“If you’re going to run for the board, you need to understand the finances here because this is a $14 million operation on a yearly basis,” Perrone said. “You need to understand where the money goes and how it’s being spent.”
Having spent two years on the Ocean Pines Budget and Finance Committee and currently the presiding chair, Perrone knows association’s budget, reserves and expenses.
“Being involved with the budget and finance committee, I’ve learned where the money goes in Ocean Pines and, more importantly, got a clear understanding of what our expenses are and our reserves,” Perrone said. “We have the money in our reserves to do the building that we’re talking about building this this year.”
Some residents have expressed concern about the budget this year after the board approved spending $3.185 million for three major projects: expanding the police and administration building, rebuilding the country club, and building a new golf cart barn.
Perrone, however, believes these projects are necessary to help improve Ocean Pines as a community, and would like to continue pushing the association in the right direction.
“The current board of directors as it stands now has done a tremendous job moving the community forward with the [projects] that’s going to occur here,” Perrone said. “All this progress that has been made this year by the current board, I would like to assist and continue … there are some groups out there that are not very happy that we’re spending the money.
“The buildings that we have now are a result of not spending the money to keep the buildings maintained,” he continued. “We’re working on the important projects. From the financial situation … when we spend that money, it will bring our reserve level down to a level that we’re not comfortable with. We’ll still have several million dollars in the bank in the reserves.”
While other candidates in the past have said they will fight to lower assessments, Perrone says he will not … because it is a feat that cannot be done.
“I’m not one of these guys who is going to say, ‘We’re not going to raise assessments,’” Perrone said. “Everybody that has said that hasn’t done it. You can’t. When you go through the budget process, you don’t know what you’re going to look at. I’m not going to make that promise because I, having seen it … it goes up.
“The issue is controlling those expenses and making sure it goes up at a respectable rate, and making sure we are building the reserves back to where we need to be and we’re getting all the services done that we need to get in Ocean Pines,” he continued. “It’s a complicated balancing act but the Budget and Finance Committee understands it, the treasurer understands it, the finance lead understands it, I think we’re in good hands at this point.”