Our elected officials recently completed the 2020 Ocean City budget review.
I chuckle how the majority of the Council patted themselves on the back for doing such a great job of spending millions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money.
They all talked about their efforts to keep property taxes low at 46 cents for each $100 of assessed property value while providing the level of services needed to operate the Town of Ocean City.
Did they do a good job? Let’s take a look back at how they did with the 2019 budget. The Council approved the 2019 budget of $129.9 million in May 2018.
But the final 2019 budget will be $141 million, about 10 percent higher, because the Council added a March 2019 budget amendment to increase spending by $11.3 million. (This figure is shown on page 112 of the Council’s March 4, 2019 meeting information packet.)
This means that the Council’s 2019 budget brought in excess revenues of $11.3 million dollars that the Council subsequently spent by approving the March 2019 budget amendment.
Council Member Dennis Dare, who has been involved with Ocean City budgets for 32 years, recently reported that one penny on the tax rate brings in revenue of $899,063.
Using Council Member Dares $899,063 figure, this $11.3 million increase was equal to about eight cents of a property tax rate. If the Council had not spent the $11.3 million, the 2019 budget year would have ended with a significant surplus that could have been used to lower the 2020 property tax rate from 46 cents to 38 cents.