Ocean View discusses draft budget, capital improvements

The Ocean View Town Council met on Dec. 4 to discuss items to be included in the first draft of its 2020-fiscal-year budget and five-year Capital Improvements Program.

“What we want to do tonight is get some input,” said Town Manager Dianne Vogel on Tuesday. “We’ve given you some things to think about. Whatever you want to see move forward, we’ll simply update this agenda… and you can make a formal motion at your council meeting next Tuesday night.”

The council discussed whether or not the 2020 budget should be reliant in some way on transfer tax revenue.

Mayor Walter Curran said that, since the Town’s property assessment process is currently under way, it would be premature to decide one way or another. He said that perhaps the Town would need to supplement its budget using transfer tax, depending on how assessments work out.

In discussing fee schedules, Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader suggested that something be put on the books stating that, if a developer fails to appear before a Town board or commission, they are required to reapply and pay the application fee.

Vogel said the Town is losing money on water-meter installations and asked if that could be added to the fee schedule.

Schrader said the Town couldn’t collect money by way of a lien on the water meters, because the money has to be given up-front for the service.

“We’re losing it on the inspection services,” said Ken Cimino, director of Planning, Zoning & Development.

The Town is collecting $40 per water meter; however, engineering consultants Davis, Bowen & Friedel are charging $80 per meter, plus mileage, for each inspection.

Town Finance Director Dawn Parks said that, for the current fiscal year, the average cost of mileage is $6. Curran suggested building the average mileage cost into the fee.

The first draft of the 2020 budget will also include monies allocated to pay for people to work the front desk at the police department for eight hours per day on weekends, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“When we went through the shuffle, the police department voluntarily stepped up and took cuts,” said Curran. “In this particular case — especially with how this area is growing — I think it would be prudent to add those in for Saturdays and Sundays.”

Police Chief Ken McLaughlin said the eight hours on those two additional days would be sufficient.

“The goal is — we’re very busy, with a lot of folks in town on Saturdays and Sundays. Oftentimes, they’re coming to the police department for really what may be a Town issue. There’s got to be some point of contact there for them. We’re a seasonal resort community. Folks are here on the weekends. So the goal is to have at least the lobby open for eight hours a day.”

In the first draft of the budget, funding allocated for the Holiday in the Park and Concerts in the Park events is being eliminated; however $9,000 would be budgeted for Cops & Goblins and an additional $8,000 for unspecified events.

“It’s a bigger event every year. It was a very substantial event this year. As the event grows, there’s more demand,” said McLaughlin of Cops & Goblins, held each year around Halloween.

“It’s a great event,” said Curran. “It’s such a wonderful relationship between the police department and the community.”

McLaughlin said he was approached by the DJ who donates his time to Cops & Goblins about also hosting Movies in the Park. He said the DJ has run similar events, where the municipality is not charged by the event vendor but the DJ would simply get a percentage of profits from food vendors who also work the event.

“It’s done everywhere,” confirmed Vogel.

Curran said timing would be something the Town would have to look at in order to ensure such an event would be well-attended.

Items discussed at the workshop aren’t set to be formally voted upon until the town’s monthly council meeting, on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m.


By Maria Counts

Staff Reporter