Ocean City officials look for solution to tax differential issue with Worcester County

Town of Ocean City leaders are at odds with Worcester County over tax differentials.

The issue has gotten so heated, that the town filed a civil lawsuit against the county.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said, "Tax differential is the difference between the dollar amount that it costs the county for services they provide to the rest of the county, that they don't provide to Ocean City, that we in turn provide for ourselves."

The Town of Ocean City had a study done to determine what that differential number would be, but the results of their study conflicted with a similar study conducted by the county.

Joe Mitrecic, a Worcester County Commissioner said, "So the county's own study said it was around $7 million, whereas the Town of Ocean City's study said it was around $17 million."

Almost every year, Worcester County provides grants to the Town of Ocean City to make up for this differential, but Ocean City officials say, those grants are not enough, which is why they filed a civil law suit against the county.

We're told the goal of the lawsuit is to change Worcester County from a "may" county to a "shall county".

Mayor Meehan explained,"Worcester County is one of only five counties in the state that are may counties, the rest are shall counties, which means the counties and the municipalities will meet and they shall recognize and discuss tax differential. We don't even have that in place."

According to the beach town, this all comes down to protecting Ocean City's taxpayers, but Worcester County wants to protect their taxpayers as well.

Mitrecic said, "The county has a budget that they need this money and if they give more back to Ocean City they have to raise taxes elsewhere to do so."

Mayor Meehan recently asked Joe Mitrecic to approach the county about opening up a serious and constructive conversation about this issue in hopes of finding a solution that is in everyone's best interest.

The town of Ocean City says they want to avoid litigation with the county, but if it is their only alternative, the town will continue moving in that direction.

Categories: Local News, Maryland