Message from the Mayor
STATE OF THE TOWN
April 25, 2017
Mayor Walter F. Curran
Ocean View is a small, quaint town. This is a natural progression of the years and population growth. That it is a nice place to live, and even more so in the last six years, is because elected officials have worked hard to ensure that the Town remains fiscally responsible, that we listen to what the residents want but we make our decisions based on what is best for the long term good of the Town and avoid knee-jerk reactions to hot topics. We have tried to make it more business friendly, but small businesses, ones that fit into the pattern of the town and don’t overwhelm it.
It has been three years since I assumed the office of Mayor of Ocean View and I am now starting my second term. They have been busy years.
Ocean View is in good financial shape and this years’ budget reflects the sensible and realistic outlook of the Town staff and the Town Council. Our Town however is effected by the state budget in items such as Real Estate Transfer Tax and Municipal Street Aid. We started the process of weaning the Town off of the Transfer Taxes used as Operating Funds since it is not sustainable, long term. This is a start but more drastic measures are necessary going forward in order to be able to maintain the streets and property in future years.
As buildable acreage becomes utilized in the Town, the future income from this source will continue to shrink. At some point, property taxes will have to increase. As the state’s fiscal problems grow, the trickle-down effect through the County and to the Town is inevitable. We must base our operating budget on a realistic property tax and set aside revenue from Transfer Taxes for capital improvement projects such as road, sidewalk and building maintenance.
Our Town employees are part of the State program for Health Benefits and, while we rely on state level decisions for overall costs of the health care program, decisions on individual deductibles and contributions remains in the hands of the Town Council.
The Town continues to support the Millville Volunteer Fire Company which is a fair trade for the wonderful service they provide to our community. However, since the source of those funds is finite, dependent on new-building, we have capped the annual amount transferred in order to have funds for it going forward. The town has agreed to and signed a contract with MVFC to create an annual $35 per improved property fee to support them. These funds are for use by the ambulance service only.
The drainage program has made a lot of progress this year as citizens better understand the necessity for granting easements to the town so that the projects can go forward. With the assistance of local property owners and HOA leaders, we are hopeful this program will continue to make progress.
Looking forward, the continuing issues will be:
- Trying to maintain wages and health care benefits for Town employees at costs levels both the Town and the employees can cope with.
- Drainage in several areas throughout Town.
- Continuing to comply with the ADA requirements for sidewalks.
- Road maintenance.
We have an excellent Town Council and Town Staff and I look forward to working with them in the next year as we continue to look out for the best interests of the citizens of Ocean View.