(April 5, 2019) Even though funding measures for the Ocean City convention center expansion project have seen no legislative activity since February, State Sen. Mary Beth Carozza said this week she continues to push for their approval before the April 8 conclusion of this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly.
“I am reinforcing with Senate President (Mike) Miller and my Senate colleagues the strong case that Mayor (Rick) Meehan and we have been making on the significant economic impact that the Ocean City convention center expansion will have on both our local and state economy and jobs,” the 38th District Republican said.
If approved, the bill would authorize $24.5 million in bond revenue from the Maryland Stadium Authority to help Ocean City pay for a major enhancement of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center on 40th Street in Ocean City.
Legislation for the initiative remains in committee in both houses, and has failed to advance beyond that.
The Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee first read SB 177 on Jan. 21, and had a hearing on Feb. 6. Its House counterpart, HB 0178, had a first reading in the House’s Appropriations Committee, and had a hearing on Feb. 28.
Carozza said in March she had “received favorable feedback” following the Senate’s hearing, and Meehan reported he had “a positive meeting” with budget committee Chairwoman Sen. Nancy J. King (D-37).
Nevertheless, the measures appear to have received little consideration since.
The mayor and council approved plans for the 30,000-square-foot renovation in November 2016, and a feasibility study of that found the subsequent increase in business would produce annual tax revenues “from $736,000 to $1 million at the county level,” according to the Maryland Stadium Authority. At the state level, revenue estimates were in the $2.6 million to $3.5 million range.
This is the second year Ocean City is pursuing state financial support of the project. A similar funding measure introduced in the legislature last year failed to make it the floor for a vote.