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Board “talks” about slots money

Commentary by Joe Reynolds  12/17/2007 ……… video link below


At the Saturday 12/15/2007 OPA Board meeting there was a discussion generally revolving about the board's role in politics outside the Pines on matters that might impact this community. Board member Bill Rakow asked, "What is our role in politics?" While the original question was general in nature, it quickly resolved into whether to the OPA Board should attempt to obtain a fixed share of slots income coming to the County.


After about an hour of discussion the answer was not forthcoming. If anything, the discussion showed that some board members believe the OPA Board of Directors should have little or no involvement in anything political, or even ask for a share of the windfall.


OPA President Bill Zawacki said the board should not be concerned with anything happening outside the boundaries of the Ocean Pines subdivision. Director Marty Clarke, Mr. Do-what-is-best-for-8400-lot-owners, essentially washed his hands of any attempt to obtain funds for Ocean Pines. Not his job. Board member Dave Stevens, agreeing with General Manager Tom Olson, said it isn't appropriate to get involved. Later remarks by Stevens left his position less clear.


Such sentiment coming from board members and the General Manger seems incomprehensible. One would have to have one's head firmly and deeply planted in the sand to not understand what transpires in the areas immediately around Ocean Pines can have a profound and detrimental impact on property values, quality of life, and myriad other issues that impact lot owners of Ocean Pines. We are not an island. To suggest that our County Commissioners and state legislators are the ones to look out for our interests is foolhardy in the extreme, but that's exactly what Tom Olson suggested.


Ray Unger seemed to feel there was no rush since any income from slots to the county was years away. Now that's forward thinking at its worst.


When the discussion ended, the board decided to hear and vote on a motion from director Reid Sterrett during a meeting on Wednesday -- 6:30 PM at the Country Club 12/19/2007. On this issue Reid Sterrett was looking out for the best interests of Ocean Pines, and it appeared he at least had the support of Bill Rakow.


The odds of Worcester County giving Ocean Pines 10% of the slots revenue without state legislation mandating same are slim, maybe non-existent, short of some miracle. Our odds are somewhat better at the state level. The legislature can do pretty much what it chooses in that regard. If you don't think so, consider the Trimper Properties in Ocean City. It appears Mathias will introduce legislation to establish some special taxing district to reduce Trimper's taxes. If the legislature can assist a single private property owner, it can surely assist 8400 private property owners if it so desires.


What is needed is an OPA Board of Directors consensus to try and obtain the money. Then a single board member, hopefully one who fully supports and is enthusiastic about the issue, would contact our local state legislators with a specific request for legislation.


Perhaps something along the lines of:


The State of Maryland authorizes and designates 10% of the amount paid to Worcester County to be distributed to Home Owner Associations, based on the number of individually owned lots. The 10% will be divided equally among all HOAs that qualify. To qualify, an HOA must have a minimum of 7500 individually owned lots and be located within five miles of the slots location at Ocean Downs.


This is not an issue of the OPA Board of Directors being pro or con on slots. The issue is Ocean Pines receiving a fair share of the proceeds if slots do come.


Make your views known by sending an email to, or call 410.641.7717, X-3002. What's hanging in the balance is a possible $1 million or so per year, essentially in-perpetuity. Tell the board it should at least try and obtain the money. We are late coming to the table, but our votes are more important to politicians like Jim Mathias than to county commissioners in areas like West Ocean City, Snow Hill, Pocomoke, Ocean City, and Berlin.


Time is of the essence.



View the board slots discussion:

Click for Feature



Board on Slots Money
VIDEO - OPA Board of Directors discuss whether to even try and obtain a cut of slots money for Ocean Pines. 12/15/2007.



Uploaded: 12/17/2007