Ocean View Town Council set to approve 2020 budget


The Ocean View Town Council will likely vote on its 2020-fiscal-year budget at its April 9 meeting. The council held a budget workshop on March 26 to review the third draft of the budget.

Finance Director Dawn Parks noted that the draft budget is on the Town’s website, under the “Finance Department” tab, for residents to review.

Parks said that, at the end of the current fiscal year, the Town’s Street Repair & Replacement Trust Fund will hold around $1.7 million in funding, “which leaves us funding all of our projects out there from the paving study,” she said.

“It also does the ADA transition cost for sidewalks that have been budgeted… And it includes the drainage projects, because drainage projects are now able to be paid for from the street reserve,” she said.

“Of course, it already gets 25 percent of transfer tax. Last year, council voted anything in excess also goes to this reserve fund. This year, we’re looking at putting around $450,000 extra in, so we’re going to be sitting nice to fund our streets, which is important.”

She noted that the Capital Replacement Trust Fund was fully-funded for projects in the 2019 fiscal year, and the Town plans to continue to fund it with 12.5 percent of transfer taxes collected.

The Town’s Emergency Reserve Trust Fund, to be used in case of natural disaster, will be fully funded by the end of the fiscal year, said Parks.

“It is the fund that is 20 percent of the current year’s operating budget… This year’s we’re able to fully fund it — 20 percent is $707,000. By April 30, we’ll be fully funded.”

Town Manager Carol Houck asked the council whether, in planning for next year’s budget, with the Town planning to host a number of community events, whether they wanted to set monies aside to purchase a new, artificial tree for the planned holiday event.

“The tree we have is not in the best shape,” she said. “And it’s also not on the right side of the building…”

Houck said there is a circular concrete pad near the water fountain, which was identified as the ideal spot to place the 20-foot tree. She said she got a price from the company that currently stores and puts up the Town’s other holiday lights and decorations, and said the tree could cost $21,300, which could be paid from the Town’s reserve fund.

“I think it would be a focal point seen by more people,” said Houck, noting that groups including the Ocean View Historical Society and the Boy Scouts want to be involved.

“I, for one, think this is a very good idea,” said Mayor Walter Curran. “The other tree is… sad, shall we say.”

Councilman Berton Reynolds asked whether the Town should even consider purchasing a tree after the Town of Rehoboth Beach’s controversy last year over a Nativity display placed by a local church on the Town-owned bandstand, apparently without the Town’s approval. (The display was later moved to private property nearby.)

“I’m referring to it as a holiday tree,” said Houck of Ocean View’s potential purchase. “But it’s understood it’s not the fight we want to be in.”

Curran agreed that the Town should still pursue it.

Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader said the Town would have to advertise to seek bids or request bids from three vendors, due to the price of the tree. He recommended the Town set aside $25,000 for the cost.

Houck also said the Town will be advertising the events in Delaware Beach Life magazine.

“I am impressed you got this together so quickly,” said Councilman Tom Maly. “It’s a lot of work in a short period of time.”

Curran thanked the staff for their work throughout the budget process.

“I just want to thank you on behalf of the entire council,” he said.

“This Town has been firing on all cylinders,” added Twardzik. “But for the past three years that I know of, under Mayor Curran’s leadership, this council has been very conservative, and I think we’re seeing the fruits of being conservative… Personally, I think the council has done a really good job with what we’re doing here.”

Curran said that, with the mistakes of last year’s budget now in the past, the Town is moving in the right direction.

“If you were upset before, ask yourself two questions: One, when was the last time you ever saw a town council admit they made a mistake? And the second is, have you ever seen a town council fix the mistake?

“I don’t know of any in the short time I’ve been on this earth that have ever done that. So I’m very proud of these guys,” he said.

To view the Town’s draft budget, visit http://api11.team-logic.com/downloadPubNewsFile.cfm?i=55&t=159&f=26987.

 

By Maria Counts

Staff Reporter