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Ocean Pines continues positive budget trends

Ocean Pines Association General Manager John Viola reported last Saturday that the OPA ended the fiscal year on April 30, with a $166,000 favorable variance to the budget for the month, among other updates.

OPA-May 18

Ocean Pines homeowners are pictured at the latest Ocean Pines Association Board meeting.
Tara Fischer / Bayside Gazette

By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer 

Ocean Pines Association General Manager John Viola updated residents on the community’s favorable financial situation, beautification efforts, Ocean City Beach Club and racquet center maintenance, amenity updates, and more at the Saturday, May 18 Board of Directors meeting. 

Viola, who was named the temporary general manager in April 2019 and signed a full-time agreement in June 2019, said that OPA ended the fiscal year on April 30, with a $166,000 favorable variance to the budget for the month. 

“We are favorable,” he said. “That does not mean it is a surplus; much of this money is earmarked. The favorability mostly comes from revenues, and a lot of it is driven by golf.” 

The fiscal year unaudited, or flash, numbers estimate a $1.2 million favorability to budget. OPA Public Relations and Marketing Director Josh Davis said the 2024 marks four straight years with favorable variances over $1 million and six consecutive years with a positive variance.

The official audited numbers will be finalized at the beginning of July. 

Viola mentioned the favorable and unfavorable factors expected to impact the community in the next fiscal year. The promising aspects, what the general manager calls tailwinds, include positive conditions of Ocean Pines amenities and a motivated staff. The general manager maintained the pools, the golf course, and the marina were ready for the summer season. 

Additionally, Viola credited the reserve study as a favorable factor for the upcoming year. 

“This Association, the team, the Budget and Finance [Committee] … back in 2017-18, we initiated a reserve study, which put us ahead of the curve with everybody else,” he said. “We are positioned better than we were back then, and the numbers show that.”

Work on the new reserve study will begin at the end of 2024.

Negative elements, or headwinds, include the increased costs to maintain the infrastructure and amenities, unknowns for the planned reserve study, a raise in the minimum wage, and the requirement for competitive salaries. 

Viola also updated meeting attendants on projects and initiatives planned throughout the community. 

Viola said beautification efforts are ongoing, and new flowers and plantings have been added throughout Ocean Pines, including palm trees at the Yacht Club, racquet center, North Gate, and Ocean City Beach Club. 

Public Works has also addressed the accumulation of algae in the North Gate Pond. The pond was treated on May 6, and service to the fountains, which did not work because of the overgrowth, was restored on May 9. 

“We had a lot of algae,” Viola said. “It was excessive this year and kept clogging the fountains…we brought an outside company in to treat the algae, which took about a week or two, and the fountains are back and better than ever.” 

OPA prioritizes maintenance. Viola said the racquet center has undergone repairs, including resurfacing clay courts, and a contractor is slated to assess cracks in the platform tennis and pickleball play areas in June. 

Additionally, segments of the deck at the beach club were replaced and painted, and damaged spots on the railings were restored. The facility is set to reopen on Memorial Day Weekend. 

For the aquatics department, OPA Senior Executive Office Manager Linda Martin said that pool operations will resume May 25, and lifeguard orientation is scheduled for June. OPA is still looking for front-desk employees. For more information on job openings, contact  

The center will unveil new summer classes, including water cycling, trampoline workouts, and water volleyball. The pools have been cleaned, and furniture has been set for the Memorial Day Weekend opening. 

Martin said summer events like “School’s Out Splash Party” are scheduled for June 15, and “Family Splash Nights” are slated for July 6, Aug. 3, and Aug. 31. 

Martin said that new programs are being offered at recreation and parks, including yoga, chair yoga, injury prevention classes, body book camp, and girl’s flag football. 

The office manager added that per request, OPA is updating signs at the racquet center and community gardens, and non-verbal communication markings will be installed at Bainbridge, Manklin, and White Horse Park. 

QR codes with Ocean Pines trail maps and information will be placed on the bulletin boards at Swim, Racquet, and Bainbridge. 

“What will happen is you scan, and it will take you to the website and give you information of what is going on in Ocean Pines, and also provide a trail map so you have where you can walk in Ocean Pines,” Martin said. 

Paving on roughly three miles of roads, including Battersea Road, Canal Road, Deerfield Court, Driftwood Lane, Moonraker Road, St. Martins Lane, Waters Edge Court, and Wharf Court, was completed for a total cost of $356,618.20. Martin said that Asphalt Maintenance LLC completed the project. 

Martin said phase one of the mailbox replacement initiative is still underway. Public Works repaired a few of the mailboxes rather than replace them. Currently, 12 mailboxes and 23 pedestals are still awaiting service.

Martin said the Compliance, Permit, and Inspection (CPI) Department issued 246 new violations in April. Maintenance issues accounted for 65 notices; four were distributed for leaf placement, 19 were due to a lack of permits, and 86 were sign-related. The remaining 72 were for miscellaneous reasons.

The next Board of Directors Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, at 9 a.m. in the Clubhouse Meeting Room at 100 Clubhouse Drive. 

This story appears in the May 23, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.