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Pines committee begins work on setting budget

First look at what group wants to keep next year

By Greg Ellison

(Nov. 4, 2021) The Ocean Pines Budget and Finance Committee examined a number of initiatives last week as work gets underway to estimate revenues and expenses for fiscal 2022/2023.

General Manager John Viola and Director of Finance and Operational Logistics Steve Phillips reviewed current and pending capital projects for FY22/23 during the Budget Committee meeting last Wednesday.

Speaking this week, Viola said the committee is scheduled to review the proposed FY22/23 budget during a series of meetings held from Jan. 4-7.

“They gave us their list of expectations for the budget process,” he said. Among them is “They want the Matt Ortt Companies there.”

Among capital expenditures discussed last week were replacing mailbox clusters long in need of repairs

“There are some people on there that want to get that done,” he said.

Last November, the Ocean Pines Budget and Finance Committee decided a proposal to rehabilitate three mailbox sites for between $60,000-$70,000 was too expensive, but agreed that repairs were needed.

Last year, association officials estimated costs for pedestals at $35,000, with roughly $20,000 for mailboxes and about $10,000 in concrete work per cluster.

“We did do a test sample of a cluster,” he said.

The committee also looked at payment details to install a pair of T-docks at Mumford’s Marina.

“They also asked how I was looking to pay for the T-docks,” he said.

Viola said when the marina addition was first broached earlier this year, revenue that exceeded the budgeted figure was considered for funding.

“We had the favorability, but we had not realized it yet,” he said. “We held off on how we could pay for the T-docks.”

At this point budget year, budget-beating revenue has been confirmed as sufficient to cover the $70,000-$80,000 outlay.

“We’re asking to request the board do a transfer from the surplus last year,” he said.

Committee members were also updated on the permit process for an expansion of pickleball courts at the Ocean Pines Racquet Sports Center.

“We told them we were close,” he said.

Viola said state officials had one minor permit question with no issues anticipated.

“The pickleball courts we have as new capital in the budget,” he said.

Other topics covered by the committee included the in-progress DMA reserve study.

“We’ve already gone over this with Budget and Finance,” he said.

In 2015, the OPA board paid Design Management $31,800 to ascertain the level of reserves it should maintain based on assets.

The current update follows an earlier revision completed in 2018

Viola described the latest reserve study as “DMA Lite,” with costs of roughly $16,000, or about half of the initial investment in 2015.

“The DMA study is a main tool for analyzing the budget,” he said.

Viola said association office manager Linda Martin was assigned lead on the project.

Martin has worked on the reserve study update with Viola, Phillips, Accounting Manager Julia Johnson and the Budget Committee.

Martin will continue heading the effort during a related work session scheduled on Nov. 10 with DMA officials.

“It will be set up like a budget review where I’ll have every department head in to discuss any questions,” he said. “It’s for the community if they have any questions.”

Viola said the reserve study would be presented to the board during its November meeting.