Ocean View begins work on 2014 fiscal budget

The Ocean View Town Council has begun to work on the town’s budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

Town Manager Dianne Vogel said department heads met last month to discuss their goals for the town, as well as their own departments. The goals included developing and completing a thorough drainage project plan, begin Phase II of the town’s sidewalk program and allocate no more than $500,000 in transfer taxes toward balancing the annual operating budget in the 2014 fiscal year.

“You should feel very comfortable that the finances in our town … are in good hands,” said Mayor Gordon Wood, adding that residents will have many opportunities to give their own input. “More than that, a timeline has been set up, and the town should be familiar with that timeline. It can be looked at. It can be seen. It can be commented on. It is a public process.”

Vogel noted that, earlier this month, the Town had held its first public hearing to solicit comments for the 2014 budget; however, only one resident was in attendance.

“Mrs. Kathy Vengazo stated that she does not want to see a tax increase next year because the taxes for the Town of Ocean View are becoming close to those for Sussex County, and they used to be a small percentage of the county tax,” explained Vogel. “She was aware there are salary increases planned for the upcoming year; however, she would like to see some cost-cutting measures and a balanced budget.”

Resident Gary Cordier, president of the Foxwoods Homeowners Association, requested an update on a portion of the town’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), regarding the Archut property. The property and a three other adjacent properties were not included in the Town’s updated map, approved back in April, as the Town chose not to rezone the properties from residential to commercial zoning.

“We haven’t seen anything in eight months and one day, and we were hoping to see where the process stands,” he said.

Public Works Director Charlie McMullen stated that the process has taken longer than expected due to some issues updating the map.

“There have been a couple of problems getting them updated, because the date was changed on them to reflect the current time, in order to ensure the map reflected current changes in our annexation areas and so on and so forth. We didn’t want to present something that said, ‘Updated August 2012’ and not show those annexed areas as being part of Ocean View,” McMullen explained.

He said that, if all goes well, an ordinance making the updates could be introduced at the January council meeting.