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Board Slashes Assessment
commentary by Joe Reynolds

In a move destined to send shock waves across HOA board rooms around the country, the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors courageously voted to slash an amazing $84,000 from a $10 million operating budget.

A week ago, faced with large scale public protests and sit-ins at the Administration Building in opposition to the proposed budget and assessment increase, four of the seven-member OPA Board of Directors voted to reject a proposed budget of $10,084,000. Last night the board sharpened its collective pencil and slashed the number to $10,000,000, providing association members with an incredible 19 cents per week savings on their assessment.The decision was immediately followed by the deafening cheers of hundreds attending the meeting and, as darkness fell, people began pouring out into the streets in celebration as word spread like wildfire through the community.

The above is, of course, complete satire and/or sarcasm. Former OPA Director Marty Clarke, who sparked the debate over the budget at the very conclusion of the yearly process, had this to say about the board action in approving a $35 assessment increase instead of a $45 increase: "It is clear to me the board has ignored the legitimate concerns expressed by their constituency. Their embarrassing betrayal will not soon be forgotten."

Clarke went on to say, "There are times when I'm embarrassed to say I live in Ocean Pines, and this is one of them."

While Clarke is apparently outraged over the newly passed budget, it is difficult to assess the overall feelings of association members. At the time of this writing, nearly 24 hours after the board passed the budget, not a single member of has even asked what happened at the meeting. I suspect the phone is not ringing off the hook at OPA Administration offices either.

The vote to pass the budget with a $35 assessment increase was 5-2 in favor of a motion made by Director Les Purcell. Purcell, and directors Tom Terry and Pete Gomsak all supported the originally proposed $45 increase. Joining those three in the approval of the final $35 increase were directors Dave Stevens and John McLaughlin. Directors Rick Handelman and Ray Unger voted against the $35 increase. Handelman said he would have voted for a $25 assessment increase. Unger gave no indication of what he would have approved.

While perhaps 40 or 50 actual association member votes out of 8400 attended last week's meeting, the board's final decision Thursday night was made in front of about 10. Not one association member took advantage of the public comments period to say the assessment increase was too little or too much.

Anyway, life goes on, and life is good in Ocean Pines, notwithstanding healthy debates over the budget and other political issues.

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Board Slashes Assessment
OPA Board treats association members to $35 increase instead of $45.

Uploaded: 2/25/2011