Councilman Prepared for Saturday Forum on Roads Referendum
Keith Hartzell will make a presentation July 28 on a proposed nonbinding referendum asking voters if they want to pay for expedited road improvements.
Councilman Keith Hartzell gave City Council a preview Thursday night of the presentation he'll make Saturday morning on a proposed roads referendum.
The Ocean City Community Association will host a forum 9:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, July 28, at the Ocean City Free Public Library to seek feedback on how Ocean City can accelerate its capital projects schedule for drainage and road improvements.
Hartzell suggested at the July 12 City the city should consider a nonbinding referendum asking voters if they'd be willing to pay a special assessment to expedite road improvements.
Hartzell's suggestion is based on the following premises (see attached PDF for his supporting detail):
- Property owners in town agree that Ocean City's roads are in dire need drainage and pavement improvements.
- "There's no way we can accelerate this in our current budget," Hartzell said.
- The city will estimate what it would cost to fix every road in town, and draft a proposed fee, tax or assessment (a temporary one) to help accelerate the repair schedule.
- "This is an open discussion," Hartzell said. "It's only going to be decided by the people."
The additional income could help double what the city could spend on its infrastructure and cut in half the time it would take in completing work to improve drainage, reduce flooding, and to reconstruct and repave Ocean City's streets.
In a brief remarks on the proposal at Thursday's meeting, council members were unanimous in supporting the concept of a public discussion and public decision on the issue.
The City would have to decide by early August to ask the county election officials to place such referendum on this November's ballot.
Association members and potential members are invited. Membership to the group is $10 for any property owner in Ocean City.