Petition Against Bond for Ocean City Convention Center Project - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Petition Against Bond for Ocean City Convention Center Project

Posted:
(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md.- A petition is creating some debate in Ocean City over the construction of a 1,200-seat, two-story theater at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center on Coastal Highway. The Ocean City Taxpayers for Social Justice is the group which filed the petition. Officials from the group say they are not against the project itself, but are concerned with the decision to borrow approximately $8.5 million to construct it.

The construction will continue as planned, but the petition could mean some significant changes with how it is paid for if the group gets the necessary 1,226 signatures in Ocean City. Currently the project is being paid for by a bond of $8.5 million. Town officials say it will be paid back over the next decade with money from a food and beverage tax which affects tourists more than residents. However if the petition is successful, this money will instead come from the general fund, according to the town solicitor.

Tony Christ is one of the main advocates for the petition and has been leading the charge to get signatures. He said borrowing more money is the last thing the city needs.

"I'm very concerned," he said. "We're eclipsing $100 million in bond debt with this project."

Christ had applied for the petition numerous times, but was denied due to incorrect formatting. After what he said was seven attempts, his petition was accepted by the town of Ocean City. The town said this number was closer to three or four attempts at most.

"There's a very basic right we've had in America," said Christ. "And it's the right to carry a referendum. And that's a time where regular people actually can remind the government who the boss is."

Meanwhile, others who worked hard to plan the project such as Peck Miller said the petition was destructive. He said Christ's thought was in the right place, but that the change would actually mean more of a burden on taxpayers.

"Nothing that Mr. Crist is putting forward makes any sense at all," he said.

He said the center is a crucial part of the town and that the construction project would just make it more essential for residents.

"It's part of our growth," he said referring to the project. It's part of how we're sustained. Every business in town here lives and dies by the convention center during the off-season."

Ocean City Solicitor Guy Ayres accepted the petition on behalf of the town. On a legal basis, he said it was an appropriately formatted petition, but he said it would be destructive if enough signatures were gathered. He said residents would face higher property taxes since the government would be forced to use the general fund to finance the project.

"If you take that out of the bond ordinance," he said referring to the project. "Then the only way for the town to... fulfill their contractual obligations would be to put the burden on our property tax payers, which makes no sense whatsoever."

On top of the $8.5 million paid by the bond, the Maryland Stadium Authority would also contribute to the project. Maryland is paying $5.7 million for the project. Christ has until Nov. 20 to gather the 1,226 signatures.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • DoC: Reinstated Security Practices Turn Up Contraband

    DoC: Reinstated Security Practices Turn Up Contraband

    Thursday, August 17 2017 8:22 PM EDT2017-08-18 00:22:09 GMT
    Thursday, August 17 2017 8:22 PM EDT2017-08-18 00:22:09 GMT
    DOVER, Del. -- Correctional officials say officers at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna confiscated contraband this week, though state officials and union leaders say a sophisticated shank was among the items collected and believe it demonstrateMore
    DOVER, Del. -- Correctional officials say officers at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna confiscated contraband this week, though state officials and union leaders say a sophisticated shank was among the items collected and believe it demonstrateMore
  • Dumser's Dairyland Faces Demolition

    Dumser's Dairyland Faces Demolition

    Thursday, August 17 2017 8:16 PM EDT2017-08-18 00:16:10 GMT
    Thursday, August 17 2017 8:16 PM EDT2017-08-18 00:16:10 GMT
    Legal battles are causing a major shakeup on Ocean City's boardwalk. The landlord of the building which leases to Dumser's, had an agreement with the town of Ocean City to occupy the space. Now, Ocean City wants that property back.More
    Legal battles are causing a major shakeup on Ocean City's boardwalk. The landlord of the building which leases to Dumser's, had an agreement with the town of Ocean City to occupy the space. Now, Ocean City wants that property back.More
  • Some Delaware School Districts Say They Are Facing a Bus Driver Shortage

    Some Delaware School Districts Say They Are Facing a Bus Driver Shortage

    Thursday, August 17 2017 7:44 PM EDT2017-08-17 23:44:11 GMT
    Thursday, August 17 2017 7:44 PM EDT2017-08-17 23:44:11 GMT
    DOVER, Del. -- Some Delaware School Districts say they are facing a shortage of bus drivers, less than two weeks away from the start of the school year for many students.Sharon Almondo, transportation manager for the Smyrna School District, said a shortaMore
    DOVER, Del. -- Some Delaware School Districts say they are facing a shortage of bus drivers, less than two weeks away from the start of the school year for many students.Sharon Almondo, transportation manager for the Smyrna School District, said a shortaMore
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Woman Files Federal Lawsuit Over Punkin Chunkin Accident

    Woman Files Federal Lawsuit Over Punkin Chunkin Accident

    08/17/2017 07:44:00 -04:002017-08-17 11:44:00 GMT
    Thursday, August 17 2017 12:33 PM EDT2017-08-17 16:33:35 GMT
    A woman who was critically injured when an air cannon exploded during last year's Punkin Chunkin event in Bridgeville, DE has filed a federal lawsuit against event organizers and participants, state officials and Discovery Communications.More
    A woman who was critically injured when an air cannon exploded during last year's Punkin Chunkin event in Bridgeville, Del. has filed a federal lawsuit against event organizers and participants, state officials and Discovery Communications.More
  • Updated: NAACP Branch Seeks Removal of Delaware Confederate Monument, Lawmakers React

    NAACP Branch Seeks Removal of Delaware Confederate Monument

    08/17/2017 09:41:00 -04:002017-08-17 13:41:00 GMT
    Thursday, August 17 2017 5:39 PM EDT2017-08-17 21:39:50 GMT
    The Confederate monument on the grounds of the Georgetown Historical Society. (Photo: WBOC)The Confederate monument on the grounds of the Georgetown Historical Society. (Photo: WBOC)
    The Lowers Sussex County NAACP wants officials to cut off state funding for the Georgetown Historical Society to force the removal of a Confederate monument on its grounds.More
    The Lowers Sussex County NAACP wants officials to cut off state funding for the Georgetown Historical Society to force the removal of a Confederate monument on its grounds.More
  • Kent County Property Closed as Criminal Nuisance

    Kent County Property Closed as Criminal Nuisance

    08/17/2017 16:12:00 -04:002017-08-17 20:12:00 GMT
    Thursday, August 17 2017 4:13 PM EDT2017-08-17 20:13:47 GMT
    Unity Lane homeUnity Lane home
    KENT COUNTY, Del.- A Kent County house was recently shut down after the court declared it a "criminal nuisance property", according to the Delaware Department of Justice.Officials said the property on Unity Lane near Greenwood is known as "The Hole." PolMore
    A Kent County house was recently shut down after the court declared it a "criminal nuisance property", according to the Delaware Department of Justice.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices