After committee review, proposed assessment $981

Director of Finance and Operational Logistics Steve Phillips helps lead a budget review session on Jan 6.

General Manager John Viola on Wednesday said three days of Budget and Finance Committee deliberations kept the proposed fiscal year 2020/2021 assessment lower than the current year, at $981.  

Viola publicly introduced the proposed budget just days earlier, during a Jan. 4 Board meeting.  

At that time, he offered a budget reconciliation, comparing his $978 figure to the 2019 assessment of $986. 

According to Viola, positive numbers from amenities ($26) and other Association departments ($23) would help lower the assessment.  

He subtracted another $30 from the annual charge by waiving the operating deficit recovery begun last year. Instead, he proposed to use the current year budget surplus to help offset part of the remaining deficit. 

Viola said salary adjustments, based on the recent compensation study by New York based firm Sibson Consulting, would add $30 to the assessment, including $7 per homeowner for market adjustments, $9 for mandatory minimum wage increases, $9 for a cost-of-living adjustment, and $5 for merit raises.  

Increased medical costs would add another $9, plus $13 for depreciation and $19 for the restored bulkhead reserve contribution, Viola said.  

Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Dick Keiling presides over a Jan. 7 budget review meeting.

Budget and Finance Committee members on Jan. 6 through Jan. 8 met with Viola and Ocean Pines staff to discuss the proposed fiscal 2020/2021 budget on a department by department basis.  

Over the three days, that included presentations by Director of Finance and Operational Logistics Steve Phillips, Public Relations Coordinator Julie Malinowski, General Manager of Golf Operations and Maintenance John Malinowski, Public Works Director Eddie Wells, Recreation and Parks Manager Debbie Donahue, Marina Manager Ron Fisher, Police Chief David Massey, and Director of Amenities and Operational Logistics Colby Phillips. Additionally, the Ocean Pines Fire Department was represented by President Dave VanGasbeck and Fire Chief Steve Gunewald. 

Committee recommendations affecting the annual charge included an assessment holiday for Ocean Pines Fire Department volunteers and a 401k contribution for Ocean Pines Police officers.  

Viola, in closing out the sessions on Wednesday, said the Association crafted the proposed budget using a “bottom’s up” approach, meaning the Association budgeted for needs first, and then calculated the assessment based upon that figure.  

General Manager John Viola on Jan. 8 closes out three days of financial review with the Budget and Finance Committee.

He summarized the three-day meetings with the Budget and Finance Committee. 

“The departments and amenities were represented. Every operating and P&L [profit and loss] account was reviewed, explained [and] analyzed, and we responded to all questions,” he said. “Reserves were detailed. We presented all the work plans and supported our numbers. Capital projects were also presented and supported. 

“We will recalculate the assessment based upon guidance and the reallocations that we have presented and received,” he continued. “At this point, I believe the adjustment will probably add only $2 or $3 on the proposed assessment of $978, leaving us somewhere on a proposed assessment of $981,” representing a $5 decrease from the prior year. 

Viola said Steve Phillips would recalculate the proposed budget based on the recommendations and send the updated draft to both Board and committee members. 

Committee member Jeff Knepper praised the budget process thus far. Knepper has served on the Board twice, both in 2014 and again last year, and is a volunteer on several Ocean Pines committees. 

“I’ve been around this process for a number of years … and this process this year is far and away better,” he said. “It is more productive. The questions we’re asking make sense. We’re not asking the same question seven times, and we’re getting good information. 

“I believe that the department heads’ participation directly in the presentation of this is outstanding,” he continued. “I thought it was a big miss in the past [not to have staff participation], and I have never believed that a department head should get a budget given to him or her – they should prepare it or a substantial part of it, so it doesnt come as a surprise. 

“I want to thank all the participants in this – Board of Directors people, Budget and Finance Committee, department heads, and staff. This has been a process that is absolutely excellent,” Knepper said.  

All three Budget and Finance Committee meetings will rebroadcast on Channel 78 this Saturday and Sunday, starting at 9 a.m.  

Links for specific meeting days and agenda topics are as follows:   


Monday, Jan. 6 


Tuesday, Jan. 7  


Wednesday, Jan. 8 


Board members will host public budget review meetings next week, on Jan. 15-16, followed by publication of Viola’s recommended budget on Jan. 24.  

Key upcoming budget dates include:  

*Feb. 5 – Board conducts hearing on recommended budget  

Feb. 11 – Treasurer and General Manager provides Board with any final recommendations  

Feb. 7-14 – Board provides General Manager with any motions to amend; General Manager calculates any assessment impact  

*Feb. 18 – Board hears final comments on the budget, considers any motions to amend, and then votes to adopt the final budget  

(*denotes opportunity for member comments) 

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