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Slots -- More Good News

commentary by Joe Reynolds

Contrary to publicly expressed opinions of some present and past members of the Ocean Pines Board of Directors, most notably current OPA Treasurer Pete Gomsak, regarding the Local Development Council (LDC) created under the slots legislation, the LDC's role is purely advisory. In other words, the LDC has no regulatory authority to tell Worcester County, Ocean City, Berlin or OPA how it must spend any slots impact funds.

This information comes directly from County Attorney and LDC attorney Sonny Bloxom. More importantly, in a telephone conversation today, Bloxom also said the LDC has no purview over OPA under the slots legislation and OPA does not have to submit a spending plan to the LDC for review as do Worcester County, Ocean City and Berlin. "The law regarding the LDC's review role mentions only municipalities and governments, and OPA is neither," Bloxom said.

The long and short of this is OPA is only obligated to spend the slots impact money on "public infrastructure," per the language in the legislation. Bloxom also indicated the definition of "public infrastructure" under the legislation is probably much broader than the average layman might believe.

OPA's public roads and bridges would certainly be public infrastructure. However, under a broader definition those funds could be spent on things like fire and police protection, not to mention OPA facilities open to the general public. Such facilities might include parks and pools.

Beyond the "more good news" aspect, this is yet another example of why the Board of Directors should have counsel present at OPA Board meetings.

OPA's slots impact funds are currently about $17,000 per month, and the monthly income could easily be $50,000 or more during the area's busy tourist season. Yearly income could top $400,000.

Keep track of the income via a link on the home page to Maryland's reporting site. OPA receives 10% of the local impact funds shown for the Casino Ocean Downs operation.

Discuss all this in the forum via the link below:

Slots - More Good News
Aside from the amount of money coming to OPA, there is more good news.

Uploaded: 3/11/2011