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Showdown possible in Ocean Pines as reserve vote looms

(July 30, 2015) Shortly after a July 17 special meeting when three companies made their pitch to perform a reserve study in Ocean Pines, Board President Dave Stevens said a vote was likely during the next regular meeting, on July 30.
While that still seems to be the case, several directors hinted there could be a showdown at the meeting over several aspects of the study.
Parliamentarian Tom Terry was one of only a handful of directors present during the meeting.
“Unfortunately, the meeting was scheduled without checking with board members to see what their calendars looked like,” Terry said. “[Treasurer] Jack [Collins], [President] Dave [Stevens] and myself were the only three board members there to see the presentation, so that was a bit of a glitch.
“There’s going to be a proposal that I understand is going to come to us from the selection team as to who to select and why, which is the normal process around here,” Terry continued. “I have the advantage of being able to attend that meeting, so I have a little more information than others.”
Terry said the process has moved slower than he would have liked, and admitted that a selection would have to be made, sooner than later, for the study to have an impact during the next fiscal-year budget.
“We need to start this process no later than August in order to get it done, because it’s rather intensive work,” he said. “We may vote on Thursday, but four of the board members will not have the level of knowledge that Jack and Dave and myself have.
“We are up against a situation where this reserve study was approved way back in February and it’s taken some time to get to this point,” Terry continued. “We’re a little behind the timeline here in getting this thing done and approved. Hopefully, we will be able to get enough information and be comfortable. If not, we simply regroup and have special meetings after the new board is put in place.”
Terry added that if there isn’t a comfort level with the selection among the current directors, a vote could be postponed until after the Aug. 8 election results, when two new board members take their seats.
A request for proposals was delivered to the vendors on the Monday following the meeting, Terry said, and the proposal will likely be based on the results of the RFP.
Director Bill Cordwell said the results of the RFP would be essential to his vote, along with whether a five-year-plan is involved.
“That’s important to me, as is the [capital improvement plan],” he said. “I didn’t see that in these presentations. The presentations were really just an overview of what they can do.
“I need to see more specifics,” Cordwell continued. “All these presentations just said what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. I don’t see what they’re actually going to study and that’s what I need to know before I can vote on anything.”
Cordwell suggested some members on the board were anxious to push the vote through before the election.
“I’m not voting on that unless we’ve got some specifics,” he said. “If we’re called to vote on it on Thursday, what can I vote on? We’re basically just voting on a company and that’s not right. If I’m spending all this money, it’s got to be done right. I’m not into wasting money.”
Richmond-based Design Management Associates, Miller Dodson Associates, from Annapolis, and Reserve Advisors, the largest reserve study firm in the country, made presentations at the special meeting.  
Stevens, speaking on Tuesday, said he was comfortable with all three vendors.
“Another director said yesterday we can’t go wrong selecting any of the three, and I think that’s pretty close to the truth,” he said. “I thought, given the time they had and everything, they all did a good job and they told us what they had and what they’ll do for us.
“I’m hoping that this kind of process is going to help make a better selection and a better understanding of the selection that we do make,” Stevens continued. “I think it’s important to get as much information out as early as you can so there’s time for questions.”
He added that a vote on Thursday was likely.
“What I think is going to happen is they’re going to make a recommendation to the board, the board is going to vote on it, and I think the board is going to approve it,” he said. “I don’t see why not.”