Jul 29, 2014

Council Analyzes Revenue as Budget Process Continues

Revenues have remained mostly steady the last few years.

Council Analyzes Revenue as Budget Process Continues
The Ocean City Police Department saw nine-year lows in eight categories in 2013, according to a report submitted by Financial Management Director Frank Donato to City Council on Thursday night at the library.

The report was submitted in response to requests from council members for various pieces of information during last week’s Municipal Budget workshops.

The police department saw lows in EMS calls (2,190), accidents (473), DWIs (46), indictable incidents (217), disorderly incidents (407), prisoners (354), city ordinance violations (964) and parking tickets (8,948).

They didn’t hit a nine-year high in any of the 13 categories by which it was measured in 2013.

Councilman Keith Hartzell highlighted the number of accidents, which is down to 473 from a high of 733 in 2005. Councilman Michael DeVlieger said it was particularly impressive with the number of traffic tickets also down to 4,312 from 5,121 in 2012.

The low was 3,462 in 2005, and the high was 6,516 in 2009.

“We have a lot more signals and more four-way stops,” Donato said. “It’s a safer town to drive in.”

Grant funding remained steady, outside a $2.6 million FAA grant in 2009 that boosted the city’s total to $3,479,850.16. Totals have tended to hover at or just below $1 million.

However, the city brought in just $284,603.07 last year, in part due to the absence of an FAA grant due to an ongoing land dispute. There has been no FAA grant for Ocean City since 2010.

“It’s hard to explain all the things (financial management) did for us the last few years,” Mayor Jay Gillian said. “They’re doing a great job finding us grants. It’s free money.”

Revenues from the golf course hit $165,641 in 2008, but had fallen by nearly $30,000 by 2010. The course made $121,758 in 2011, and has steadily increased, up to $148,559 last year.

Councilman Scott Ping questioned if there was a change in management following 2008. There was no change in management, but Business Administrator Michael Dattilo said he thought the presence of other courses in Upper Township was negatively impacting interest in the Ocean City Municipal Golf Course.

“Our course drains worse and worse every year,” Dattilo said. He added plans for a nine-hole course have been discussed for about a decade.

The amount of fuel the airport sold has fluctuated since 2008, but reached a low of 16,994.50 gallons last year, at a cost of $103,732.05. In 2008, it sold 24,199.80, at a cost of $122,326.29. Parking at the airport has remained steady.

The revenue from beach tag sales has not fluctuated. It has only increased as the price of tags has increased over the last 30 years.

In 1984, a beach tag purchased before Memorial Day cost $5 and one purchased after cost $7. Those prices were up to $20 and $25, respectively, last year.

The number of tags sold has fluctuated over that time. In 2013, 366,795 were sold.

The city made $3,901,460 in beach tag revenue last year, up from $1,237,429 in 1984.

The Construction Office collected $1,096,911 in total fees last year. That number has increased each year for the last three years, from $697,700 in 2011. The number of total new residential units (259), new one-family units (101) and new two-family units (156) were all three-year highs. The number of units lost was 295, also a three-year high.

Donato is also preparing additional statistics to present to council relating to the budget.

Two weeks ago, Gillian introduced a $72 million budget that would carry a tax rate increase of 2.89 percent. The final budget must be passed by May.

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