One of the time-tested ploys of politicians is to set up a task force or committee to “study” an issue that may be unpopular with taxpayers.
The politicians appoint a majority of the committee who support the politicians’ agenda and then select “experts” to advise the committee. The committee then issues a report recommending actions that agree with the politician’s agenda.
It would seem to me that the Ocean City parking task force may be such a subterfuge. The City Council and mayor appointed the taskforce members, City Engineer Terry McGean, suggested the expert and the mayor said that “until we have a recommendation from this committee, there will be no action taken.”
Three members of the City Council, Mary Knight, John Gehrig and Dennis Dare (the Knight bloc), have already expressed concern that the taxpayers are subsidizing parking spots for visitors. The Mary Knight bloc has made it very clear that something must be done to reduce the taxpayers’ cost resulting from day-trippers coming to Ocean City.
The Knight bloc has a noble goal of looking out for the pocket book of the taxpayers.
However, if they were really were concerned about the taxpayers costs resulting from day-trippers visiting Ocean City, they would pass a law establishing a beach tax for anyone who wants to use the Ocean City beach.
Councilman Dennis Dare is correct when he said, “Where can you go to the beach for free and have your trash picked up and have a lifeguard watching over you every block? There are very few places like that anymore, but there is a cost associated with that.”
A beach fee will offset that cost. I failed to see why the Knight bloc persists in toying with the nickel and dime parking revenue when the establishment of a beach tax would bring in millions of dollars more than parking meters.
Of course, to obtain the support of local residents such a fee should legally exempt anyone who permanently resides in Ocean City or is a property owner.
Joseph H. Potter