Ocean View gets creative with five-year finances

It’s no secret the town, county, state and nation are facing financial downfalls, but in Ocean View creativity could help get the town through the next five years.

Town Manager Conway Gregory announced on Tuesday, Aug. 12, slight changes in the town’s five-year fiscal plan that could help alleviate shortfalls from falling transfer tax revenue.

The town will be losing about $2 million to falling transfer taxes over the next five years, said Gregory. In order to make ends meet, he said the town will delay hiring, keep health insurance on a modest slope and try to cut corners wherever possible.

Just these small adjustments will save the town about $449,000, he said.

The budget still has a $762,000 deficit, but Gregory has a plan. The town will borrow $415,000 from its emergency funds. That still leaves a deficit of $347,000. But Gregory said that, over the five years, the town could make that up. And, a report in September could further clear up shortfalls.

“I do believe with the amount of time we have available, we can find a solution for this shortfall in the out years,” Gregory said in his recommendation to approve the five-year fiscal and capital expenditures plans.

Councilman Roy Thomas suggested taking some money from the drainage budget, which amounts to about $400,000. “Some of that money could be used for roads,” said Thomas.

But, Councilman Richard Nippes said most of the problems with the roads stems from drainage issues.

Mayor Gordon Wood had his own suggestion for saving money — delay construction of the planned Public Works building. The building has been budgeted with $350,000 but, in Wood’s opinion, that money could be better used elsewhere in the town.

“I want to see what the need is that we’re meeting by building that,” said Wood. “We’ve survived this long without a public works building. It must meet a specification that reflects a need.”

Gregory pointed out that the original building plan would have cost the town more than $1 million and is now only estimated at $350,000, but Wood said that was “meaningless history.”

Wood’s proposed amendment to stall plans for the public works building was rejected, with four councilmen voting in opposition. The ordinance to approve the financial plans as presented was approved, with only Councilman Bill Wichmann in opposition.

“All capital expenditures have to come back to town council for approval,” said Thomas. “We don’t want to make that judgment today before the committee makes its report.”

In other Ocean View news:

• The town council passed a resolution stating that all actions to be performed by the town manager will first be approved by the town council with a majority vote.

• Upcoming meetings:

The town of Ocean View will hold a Board of Adjustment public hearing at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 21, to discuss a variance requested by William R. McCreary to permit the operation of two businesses at 14 Atlantic Avenue. The property, consisting of 17,137-square-feet, is owned by James Kyger.

The application and related material may be examined by interested parties at the Town Hall between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

All interested parties are welcome to attend and present their views. If anyone is unable to attend the public hearing, written comments will be accepted but must be received prior to the hearing.

For additional information, contact Town Administrative Official Charles McMullen at (302) 539-9797, ext. 2.

• Junior Wilson will be performing at Ocean View’s next Concert in the Park, to be held on Friday, Aug. 22, beginning at 6 p.m. Free ice cream will be served. Those attending can also bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets.

• The Town of Ocean View will hold a public hearing during its next town workshop meeting to discuss services provided by Mediacom cable television company. David Kane, regional vice president for Mediacom will give a presentation and be available to answer questions during the public hearing, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at town hall. For more information, contact the town manager at (302) 539-9797, ext. 1.