City Council Starts Work on $72 Million Ocean City Budget

first_imgCity Hall in Ocean CityCity Council got an in-depth look Thursday at the $72,017,647 draft budget announced last week by Mayor Jay Gillian.Ocean City proposes an overall 1.32 percent tax rate increase, amounting to an additional $26.40 in municipal taxes for a home assessed at $500,000 in 2015.Ocean City Finance Director Frank Donato made a presentation on details of the proposed budget during a public workshop Feb. 19 at  City Hall.Among the largest appropriations are:Salaries and wages: $29,562,600, covering 258 full-time employees — two more than Ocean City employed in 2014. This figure represents a $914,000 increase over 2014, mostly due to scheduled increases within contracts.Debt service: $10.5 million, up $661,543 over 2014, to pay back loans for various capital improvement projects on roads, drainage, dredging, beaches, the boardwalk and other public facilities.Other expenses: $22,417,512 for various operating expenses, including $4,153,334 in pensions, an increase of  $349,652 due to the current employee base and the number of retirees in the system.For the first time since 2011, however, these costs will be offset by an increase in Ocean City’s ratable base — the total combined value of taxable real estate on the island.__________See complete presentation on appropriations and revenues.__________According to the draft budget, that figure has climbed 1.03 percent to $11.3 billion, which Donato largely attributed to stabilization in the real estate and construction markets as well as a recently completed in-house reassessment of 17,000 Ocean City properties.“It’s a great number,” Donato said.Because Ocean City has more real estate value to tax than other nearby municipalities and because it brings in substantial revenue from sources such as beach tag and parking fees, it is able to keep its municipal tax rate comparatively low.Ocean City will collect $45,894,838 from local taxpayers under the draft budget — $1,101,635 million, or 2.46, percent, more than it collected in 2014. Its general tax rate of 0.867 in 2014 was less than the general tax rates in neighboring Somers Point (2.7) and Upper Township (1.408), but greater than the general tax rates collected in coastal communities such as Sea Isle City (0.584) and Avalon (0.535), according to figures provided by the state.Other projected sources of revenue identified Thursday include:Local revenues: $15,364,830, reflecting — among other items — projected beach tag revenue of $4 million, parking fees of $2,785,000 and $1,035,000 from the Aquatic and Fitness Center, which exceeded expectations in 2014 by $23,472. “They just keep outdoing themselves from one year to the next,” Donato said.Library tax levy: $3,837,662, a $20,877 increase over what was collected in 2014. The library tax is set by state law and based on a small percentage of a town’s ratable base.In addition, Ocean City’s fund balance has reached an all-time high of $6,283,131, Donato said. Ocean City will contribute $3,350,000 of that amount to offset municipal taxes, while keeping the remaining 46.68 percent — or $2,933,131 — in reserves. Citing Ocean City’s vulnerability to big storms and dependency on tourism, Gillian said he agreed with the decision.“If we get a hurricane, or have a bad year with weather … you just don’t know,” Gillian added.Councilman Keith Hartzell praised the Mayor’s budget as “very lean” and “responsible,” as well as for its apparent transparency over previous administrations.“It’s important to be up front and honest for every item and every line that’s in this budget,” Gillian said.A final version of the budget will be voted on by City Council this spring.last_img read more

Mild H5 flu virus found in Montana ducks

first_img In cooperation with the Nigerian agriculture ministry, the FAO will study the incidence, spread, and impact of H5N1 avian flu in the hope of eradicating it in Nigeria, according to the report. Low-pathogenic flu viruses are common in wild birds and typically cause only minor illness or none. Federal officials reported finding the mild “North American strain” of H5N1 in some Maryland ducks and Michigan swans in August. Montana wildlife officials said the samples were collected Sep 15 at Benton Lake, near Great Falls, during routine research on the movements of migratory birds, according to an Associated Press report. In other avian flu news, the World Bank today announced a $13 million grant to minimize the threat to humans from avian flu in the West Bank and Gaza strip. The disease struck poultry at eight sites in Gaza last April. “These grants will assist the PA [Palestinian Authority] to improve their readiness and protect their citizens from a potentially devastating outbreak as the [bird] migration season is around the corner,” Arif Zulfiqar of the World Bank said in a news release. Confirmatory testing in Ames will identify the virus subtypes and their level of pathogenicity, the agencies said. The testing should be completed in 2 to 3 weeks. He said the United States also is training first responders in how to use protective equipment, collect and ship samples, detect disease, and provide emergency response. The money includes $3 million from the World Bank’s Avian and Human Influenza Facility, a multidonor financing mechanism, and $10 million from the bank’s own resources, officials said. Viruses containing H5 and N1 surface proteins (hemagglutinin and neuraminidase) were found in samples from healthy northern pintail ducks in west-central Montana’s Cascade County, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Interior said in a news release. Sep 22, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Wild ducks in Montana were found to be carrying what may be an H5N1 avian influenza virus, but not the lethal Asian strain of H5N1, US officials announced yesterday. USAID has sent 93,000 personal protective equipment kits to 66 countries this year and is building a stockpile of 1.5 million protective kits, 100 lab kits, and $15,000 decontamination kits for use by surveillance and outbreak-response workers, Tobias said.center_img “Initial tests confirm that these samples do not contain the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has spread through birds in Asia, Europe and Africa,” the statement said. A Colorado State University laboratory tested 66 samples taken from the ducks and sent 16 samples on to the USDA’s national laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for further testing. One of 16 samples tested positive for both H5 and N1, but that doesn’t necessarily mean an H5N1 virus is present, officials said. It could point to two different viruses, one containing H5 and another containing N1. Sep 22 World Bank announcement USDA-DOI news release on avian flu in Montana ducks Avian flu first cropped up in Nigeria last February and has since been found in about 13 states and the capital city, the story said. The FAO study will cost $667,000 and will be funded by the EU. In other developments, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have launched a study of avian flu in Nigeria, according to an Agence France-Presse report yesterday. See also: Also yesterday, Randall L. Tobias, head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said the US has provided a total of $191 million in foreign aid to combat avian flu. Northern pintail ducks are among hunted species, but there is no known health risk to hunters or hunting dogs from contact with low-pathogenic avian flu viruses, federal officials said.last_img read more

GB let lead slip against Ireland

first_img But from that point GB lost the initiative and after Jackson’s penalty corner flick rebounded off the post, Kyle Good diverted in a cross from Mitch Darling. Ireland’s physicality threw their opponents off their stride and Jackson deservedly equalised in the 36th minute after continuing his run to the byline to volley home a loose ball. GB goalkeeper George Pinner was by far the busiest in the final two quarters, producing one brilliant save to tip a penalty corner onto the post before blocking the rebound and also palming over Conor Harte’s shot in the last minute. “It’s frustrating because in both games we’ve been ahead and they’ve come back and got draws,” said Middleton in his post-match interview. “We have a lot of games left to achieve what we want to do here. “We started well and when we went 2-0 up we just had to do a few more things a bit better. We weren’t quite as good as we can be.” GB face the tournament’s lowest-ranked side China on Thursday, while Ireland take on Malaysia in their second fixture. “Overall we’re happy with the result,” said Ireland coach Craig Fulton. “We were a bit nervous in the first quarter but settled in the second quarter and got on the scoreboard. “The second half was pleasing, we created some good phases of play which was more like us.” As in their opener against the host nation, GB let an advantage slip to leave them with two points from as many games in Antwerp, where the tournament is doubling as an Olympic qualifier. Captain Barry Middleton opened the scoring after just five minutes when his cross was deflected in by Ireland’s John Jackson before a cross-shot from Mark Gleghorn, facing brother Paul in the Irish team, was expertly deflected in by Chris Griffiths. Great Britain squandered an early two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Ireland at the World League Semi-final in Belgium. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

JUDGES NEED TO BE GIVEN SENTENCING GUIDELINES – MacLOCHLAINN

first_imgSINN FEIN TD Padraig MacLochlainn has said judges need to be given sentencing guidelines for rapists and violent criminals.The party’s justice spokesman made the call today at his party’s Ard Fheis in Castlebar.He was speaking amid growing public disquiet at ‘soft’ sentences handed down by many judges in the country. Deputy MacLochlainn also called for a reversal of cuts to Gardai and Garda stations.The Donegal Deputy also signed up to the ‘Turn Off The Red Light’ campaign.His speech in full is below:As you would expect, the motions touch on our party’s objective for an All-Ireland policing service and our determination that in the interim, the PSNI and An Garda Síochána are fully accountable to the communities they serve through the Policing Board and the Policing and Community Safety Partnerships in the Six Counties and the Joint Policing Partnerships in the 26 Counties. 139 garda stations, mainly in rural areas, have been closed in the last 18 months in the face of much opposition from the communities they have served.For the last number of years, gardaí have endured the loss of hundreds of their experienced colleagues with no new recruits to replace them. They are often asked to protect our communities, driving clapped out vehicles that are not replaced due to cutbacks. They have witnessed the closure of garda stations across our cities and villages and cringed when Minister Alan Shatter explains that this is all about “smart policing” and “efficiencies”.The government must examine the re-opening of Garda stations which have been closed and the restoration of full service in these stations.They must provide for the lifting of the embargo to start recruitment of trainee gardaí to replace those retiring over the next number of years.They must halt reductions in Garda numbers, ensure that gardaí have the required number of vehicles and ensure greater emphasis on community policing with resources dedicated to the promotion and support of community alert and neighbourhood watch schemes. EQUALITYEquality is at the heart of everything that our party stands for. Equality is the cornerstone of Irish Republicanism.Sinn Féin stands in solidarity with those across this Island who fight for their rights every day. This last while, we have been truly inspired by the women of the Magdalene Laundries. They must have proper redress with compensation and their full pensions granted.We stand with disability rights campaigners. They inspired us too with their dignity as they protested outside Leinster House in the bitter cold. There are a number of motions on the Clár, soon to be debated, advocating travellers’ rights and marriage equality. I urge you to support them.MOTIONSI also urge you to support the amendments from the Oireachtas Group on motions 159 and 160. While I understand the sentiment behind the motions, I believe that the amendments better outline Sinn Féin’s approach to justice and penal reform.We need a Sentencing Council and new Sentencing Guidelines for the judiciary to ensure accountability and consistency in sentencing, particularly for violent crimes and sexual assaults.We also need to ensure that any remission granted to persons convicted of sexual offences is based on participation in the Prison Service’s Sex Offenders Treatment Programmes and genuine rehabilitation.Finally, I would like to speak in support of motion 162 asking this Ard Fhéis to endorse the “Turn off The Red Light” campaign supported by trade unions and a wide range of civic society organisations.There are as many as 1,000 women and girls for sale for sex in Ireland today. Prostitution is not a real choice for the vast majority of these women.In countries, like Sweden, where the purchase of sex is illegal, there has been a massive decline in prostitution and a significant reduction in sex trafficking and organised crime.The “Turn off The Red Light” campaign argues that the most effective solution is to tackle the demand for paid sex that fuels prostitution and trafficking.There is no perfect panacea to this challenge but I believe that putting the onus of responsibility on the user rather than the woman or sometimes man prostituted is a more humanitarian and I would argue Republican approach. We also need to ensure that those in prostitution are supported to exit this life and make a fresh start by a range of government services working together in an integrated fashion.JUDGES NEED TO BE GIVEN SENTENCING GUIDELINES – MacLOCHLAINN was last modified: April 14th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:JUDGES NEED TO BE GIVEN SENTENCING GUIDELINES – MacLOCHLAINNlast_img read more