City in Final Preparations to Introduce 2014 Budget

Frank Donato hopes to introduce the budget to the public at the next council meeting.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
Ocean City Chief Financial Officer Frank Donato is gathering data on final budget requests from council members and expects to be able to introduce the final draft of the budget to the public at the March 27 council meeting.

He believes the city can have its public hearing and adopt the budget during the second meeting in April.

“That would put us consistent with where we’ve been the last few years,” Donato told council during its meeting Thursday night at the library.

The proposed $72 million budget includes a 2.89 percent increase, which translates to a proposed $44.9 million increase for taxpayers.

Councilman Peter Guinosso is still waiting for answers to some of his questions concerning the golf course, and Councilman Keith Hartzell requested goals for each department.

He also wondered if the fund balance could be reduced by $250,000, with that money being put into roads and drainage systems.

The city used $2.5  million of its fund balance last year, and is already using $300,000 more than that for the recovery process from Superstorm Sandy.

Donato pointed out that the extra money would have to be available every year. The extra money’s available every year if the city meets its revenue goals.

“I’ve been here eight years and we’ve always made it. We had a disaster, and we’ve always made it.”

Council President Anthony Wilson wondered how the city’s Community Operations staff would manage the additional work.

“We could look into if we are able to farm that work out,” Donato said.

“I think it would be good to see what the cost of farming it out would be,” Hartzell said.

Hartzell made it clear he wasn’t saying council should necessarily set this money aside.

“I just want to make sure we pursue every avenue for roads and drainage,” Hartzell said.

According to Business Administrator Mike Dattilo, it would cost $50,000 to repave the average block, bare bones, i.e. no drainage or concrete. Improvements to the average alley cost about $30,000.

Donato is also looking at overtime for Community Operations.

“It’s running a little heavy” because of all the snow this winter, Donato said. “We could be adding a few thousand dollars here and there to Capital Improvement.”

The budget for salt usually totals $25,000.

“We just ordered an additional $50,000,” Donato said. “We’re lucky we didn’t run out like other municipalities.”

The city unofficially owes the state $4,140,000 in pension payments, including $2,825,000 for police and fire and $1,315,000 for public employees. Final numbers may come out next week and payment must be made by April 1.

Sandy March 14, 2014 at 08:10 PM
I am giving the new Patch a try, but I am not so sure I like it. (I realize this comment doesn't pertain to the article, but I wasn't sure where to post it.)


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