Parkway Curve & More
Paving and Curve
GM Report - Budget
In public comments:
Frank Biancaniello lost his case in court over his unauthorized porch enclosure. He pleads with board not to make him tear it down and offers to pay "fine" or whatever. He had a county building permit, but ECC refused permit. He built anyway.
ECC refused the permit based solely on coverage guidelines not allowing more than a certain percentage of the lot to be covered. The porch was constructed in the same area as a previously approved patio. A neighbor of Biancaniello is the chair of ECC and Biancaniello believes his request was rejected because of his neighbor and points to many similar coverage exceptions allowed by ECC.
Biancaniello presented photos to the board. It is a very nice home and the porch appears to do absolutely no harm. However, he made a major mistake in building without ECC approval. OPA took him to court and won. We all make mistakes from time to time. OK. However, OPA should now show a little compassion and reach some solution short of tearing down the addition.
Bill Zawacki said it was now out of the board's hands. Ridiculous statement. The OPA board writes and approves the Guidelines ECC is enforcing and the members of ECC serve at the pleasure of the board.
In 10-Year Plan:
By a margin of 4-3 with Rakow, Purcell, and Clarke opposed, the board approved spending about $28,000 for the firm of Becker-Morgan to look at OPA facilities and decide which ones need attention, in what order, and what the costs will be over the next 5 to 20 years.
Zawacki, Sterrett, Unger, and Stevens voted to proceed. To this observer it appeared Ray Unger watched Sterrett to see how he voted and then followed suit.
Board members who actually read the contract say the cost is open-ended, essentially an hourly rate, and the total could be much more.
This issue was apparently pushed by Tom Olson and Bill Zawacki. Olson says the board instructed him to get prices and move forward. Apparently some board members, including Clarke, do not believe that was the case.
Regardless, Olson kept making the point, supported by Ray Unger, that OPA needs an expert to provide the cost information needed to plan ahead.
The board apparently does not remember that the last "expert" hired by OPA to come up with cost estimates was unable to predict construction costs with any accuracy even 6 months into the future, yet now we will pay another "expert" to tell us how much things will cost 5 to 15 years from now. One can only wonder when OPA will learn from past mistakes.
Those on the dissenting side argue OPA can save money by utilizing experts in the community and handling each project as it becomes necessary to renovate or repair. Olson seems to favor the "expert" approach as his plan is to keep assessments at a high enough level to collect funds needed over the next 5 to 10 years from association members in advance. He believes if he has the "money in the bank" a project is more likely to pass a referendum.
Clarke and Rakow put together a package for a rehab of the existing Community Hall at a price tag of around $1.1 million, under the referendum trigger, but the board voted to turn that over to Olson. It is a safe bet that Olson's final product may cost considerably more as Olson already said he plans on a referendum on the project.
In paving and curve links:
The OPA Board of Directors addressed the dangerous curve on Ocean Parkway near Cathell Road. Repaving is in the 2008-2009 budget but it could be sometime before the work is accomplished. Meantime someone could be killed or injured but the board could not even bring its collective wisdom together enough to even agree to put a "Danger" sign up at the location, much less immediately roughen the surface.
This problem has been apparent since last summer when the issue was address here and in an editorial appearing in the Bayside Gazette.
Net result of the 4/16/2008 Board meeting on this danger -- The Board decided to continue to play Russian Roulette with the lives of drivers on Ocean Parkway.
In Kiwanis link:
Kiwanis members attended the 4/16/2008 OPA Board meeting. They are upset about OPA refusal to allow the group to hold breakfast and dinner functions in OPA facilities and serve food provided by sources other than the OPA food service management.
After some at times emotional comments from several members of the Kiwanis Club of Ocean City and Ocean Pines the board briefly discussed the issue but nothing was really resolved. Kiwanis members pointed out their contributions to the community.
Director Marty Clarke wondered if OPA allowed exceptions to the OPA policy for Kiwanis would OPA then need to allow exceptions for all other service groups in this area of the county.
The last spaghetti dinner for the Kiwanis was held at DeNovos. Bob Beck of DeNovos donates the food for a number of the affairs at no cost to Kiwanis. Kiwanis wants to hold their events in OPA facilities and serve food prepared by DeNovos or perhaps any other restaurant operation that will donate the food.
GM Report and Budget Review:
The major part of the this video segment is a presentation by Tom Olson about how actual results as of the end of February compare with the budget for the 2007-2008 fiscal year. March and April numbers were not available. OPA's fiscal year starts on May 1.
The presentation was essentially more of the same old, same old. Losses on OPA's major business amenities are approaching $400,000 for the year as compared to "feel good" predictions when the budget was prepared in early 2007. Same thing happens every year. Final numbers could push the difference to $500,000.
One interesting item was a clear admission by Olson and controller Art Carmine that when the board asked last year to have the budgeted losses eliminated it did not happen -- either at an actual level or even at the budget preparation level. Olson and Carmine confirmed they essentially took the losses the board wanted reduced in the budget and simply added these amounts to the Administration and other area budget costs.
Net result is the amenities actually showed the originally projected large losses but Administration costs, for example, are coming in at around $140,000 under the budgeted expenses. This again clearly illustrates that the OPA budget is a yearly charade foisted on Association members.