GM report talks about racket, disc golf and T-dock upgrades

Photo courtesy of Ocean Pines Association
Returned for additional boat slips at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club for non-rentals to visitors. The docks, originally proposed nearly two years ago, were completed last month and are awaiting some minor parts before they are ready for use.

By Jack Chavez, Editor-in-Chief

New business, including racquet sports upgrades, disc golf and new mailboxes, was covered in General Manager John Viola’s report to the Ocean Pines Board of Directors on May 25.

“In racquet sports, there’s a lot going on there,” Viola said.

He said there is a checklist on maintenance and other items that will be covered.

The pickleball courts were completed “in-house on budget,” Viola said.

The Bainbridge Park 10-hole disc golf course is still on trial and has cost the Ocean Pines Association nothing so far, Viola said. In the future, if the course is taken, there will be “minimal or no cost”.

The association held a town hall for community input on the course on May 21, which Viola described as “well represented.”

“I will assess over time, as will (Director of Recreation and Parks) Debbie (Donahue) and we will have feedback,” he said. “Berlin did it on a trial basis for a year, they made some adjustments, some we’re already making, like where we’re going to position these wire baskets and we’ll go from there.”

A presentation of the course was scheduled last week for owners.

Viola also reported that Public Works recently installed floating planters on both sides of North Gate Pond.

Planters help with nutrient and algae control, Viola said. It is also a resting place for turtles and a shelter for fish.

Viola said the $1,000 planters will be installed in other ponds “if all goes well.”

Viola said he hopes the drainage projects will be completed by the end of June.

“Over a year ago we got the grant and did the pond filtration,” he said. “Everything is over, everything is positive all around. However, the pipelines on the three main roads have not been completed. We have to work in conjunction with the county, and with covid, supplies and contractors, there have been delays.

“Our whole maintenance plan is to fix these pipes that haven’t been fixed for 20, 30 or 40 years. Pipe coatings, the way they go up to work, a dollar amount is way cheaper. Instead of maintaining them, once we have them in place, I won’t have to maintain them. It comes out of the reserve for drainage, so that’s a change we’ll have to make in the future.

At the Swim and Racquet Club, the roof needs to be replaced and the exterior was repainted last week. The makeover work will be evaluated at the end of the summer.

T-shaped docks have been built and Viola said the association expects floats that go under the docks. It should take six weeks. The construction cost is $65,000.

Docks A and D will be used for the new water taxi that transports people from Ocean Pines to Ocean City.

Fifty-five mailbox sites were evaluated, Viola said.

“I’m going to have the favor,” he said. “Part of that favor or a nice part of it are the mailboxes that I thought were loaded by the board that I would have maintained over the last few months or the last period.”

Viola will present offers to council for the replacement of mailboxes and pedestals. The concrete will be processed and produced in-house.

Regarding the recommended surplus allocation, Viola prefaced the fact that $650,000 was removed from the “realized favor” for FY21.

“We are in the same position now,” he said.

The association was $1.6 million “in the hole” in fiscal 2018, which was “well publicized,” Viola said.

“Where we are now, what I’m saying at the end of this FY22 – obviously the books aren’t closed (yet) – but we’ll be at ($3.1m. We were at $1.6m dollars) unfavorable before we all started.

“So ($3.1 million estimated for FY22), what we did last year there, the one-time valuation, I needed $650,000 on the favor of the year last to get that rating (896) We put that in there and the board approved that we would have that plus-minus count so that if we had a preference we could lower the rating.

If the association’s revenue remains unfavorable, the board and Viola will have to decide how to hedge and increase the valuation over time or a one-time deal, Viola said.

“I certainly don’t foresee that in the near future,” he said.

“If you look at where we are today, if you want to invest another $350,000 in roads – and that’s on top of the $300,000 that we normally invest in assessment to do the three miles – that $350,000 $ plus the $350,000 that will be in there now, we have about $700,000 of that cushion or surplus that everyone asked me to do,” Viola said.

Viola pointed out that the pickleball courts were not in the budget and they could have used the maintenance funds for that, but it was recommended that the board remove those funds from the surplus.

“Everything is planned. Everything is transparent. It’s just a matter of timing,” Viola said. “We are still forecasting a surplus of $900,000.

This story appears in the print version of the Bayside Gazette on May 26, 2022.

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