Franchise ownership engenders questions
During recent discussions regarding the latest pier franchise agreement, the question of true ownership of the pier came up.
One scenario is that the Synepuxent Pier and Improvement Company owns it. If this is accurate, then there is no need for a franchise agreement. Case closed.
If it is determined that the state of Maryland owns the pier and underlying beach, then state officials should be the ones to negotiate the franchise agreement.
However, if the Town of Ocean City is the owner of the property, then the recent ordinance granting a 25-year extension, and amending the terms of the remaining 10 years should be repealed and renegotiated.
At the very least, a title search of the property should be initiated.
The latest ordinance does not reflect the true value of the pier. The compensation to be paid to the town over the next 10 years is too low.
The Mayor & City Council (M&CC) have undervalued the franchise. Upon repeal of the new ordinance, there should be an independent audit and appraisal to determine the real value of the franchise, and a new agreement should be negotiated and adopted.
The M&CC have not done their due diligence. They have not exercised their fiduciary responsibility.
They continue to make unwise financial decisions that impact all taxpayers and property owners of the Town of Ocean City.
Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Jr.