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


County grant formula should be tied to CPI

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan has a point, when he says the Worcester County Commissioners should tie their annual grants to the towns to the Consumer Price Index.

Not only would all the towns and the Ocean Pines Association benefit from this more logical grant structure, the annual “beg-a-thon,” as these bended-knee appeals for money have been called, would become a much cleaner process.

As it is, representatives of the municipalities of Ocean City, Berlin, Snow Hill and Pocomoke, along with the property owners association that runs Ocean Pines, must go before the commissioners this time of year and ask, ever so politely, for what are known as unrestricted grants.

The “unrestricted” means the grant recipients can spend the money however they want, which is appropriate because these communities are really asking for the return of a sliver of the tax revenue their property owners paid to the county.

Considering that the amount of money taxpayers send to the county (and their own governments) seldom recedes, there’s no good reason why that rising tide of income to the county shouldn’t float all boats.

The best way to do that, as Meehan said, is by creating a formula that incorporates base amounts, the Consumer Price Index and increases, if any, in a district’s contribution to the county.

As it is, mayors, council members and managers must do their best to guess what they are likely to receive and go before the commissioners with their packets of justifications for why they should receive more.

That’s what is happening this year, as each entity has requested more than received last year, while hoping the commissioners will see things their way and make a more or less subjective call in their favor.

It’s time to do away with these productions and presentations and issue these unrestricted grants based on math instead of opinions of what’s fair and what isn’t.

Then, if a town feels it must have more, that would be the time to take the beg-a-thon approach.