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


‘5-year’ plan feels slushy

The Ocean Pines board should reconsider its stance on continuing the so-called 5-year funding plan until a proposal for those monies is in place and put to referendum.  
The special assessment was instituted about six years ago and billed as a short-term increase that would be dissolved after that timeframe. The intent was to bolster reserves, with a number of the association’s facilities having been neglected and in-need of replacement or significant repair.
Despite protests that implementing such a plan would cause future boards to hope members had short-term memories and be continued into eternity, the board was emphatic that this would not be the case.
It was also promised in short order that a working plan for use of the added reserve funding would be put together. This was sometimes referred to as a “rack-and-stack” of expected projects. To date no real plan has been put forth and the bulk, if not the entire amount, has been used for the new Yacht Club.  
Just two short years ago, we took the board to task when it approved extending the 5-year plan into a sixth in order to cover a one-time IRS penalty. Shortly after that, we received a personal visit from members of the board to protest the unfairness of that coverage.
In their view it was a smart decision, allowing them to avoid raising the regular dues and insisted it was a special one-time occurrence.  
Fast-forward and exactly what was feared initially has happened.  Just two years after the board insisted that the one-year extension was only due to an unusual and unordinary circumstance, it has again decided to extend the funding.
Even worse, it was suggested that the plan be renamed. One can assume that’s for no other reason than to keep the heat off future board members who will to have to contend with resident ire every year they vote to keep the funding in place.
As with the Yacht Club, a plan for projected use of these funds should be established, a referendum put forth, and, if it passes, then re-institute funding. Collecting the money before this happens is simply creating a slush fund with no guarantee it won’t be used for projects that fall under the referendum radar.