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Jolly Roger wants tax deal like Trimper's

Delmarva Daily Times

Original Article »

February 19, 2008

SNOW HILL -- The Worcester County Commissioners helped one Ocean City amusement park to legislate its tax relief, and now the other amusement park in town wants equal treatment.

The commissioners will discuss today how to handle tax breaks for Buddy Jenkins, owner of Jolly Roger Amusement Park, after already having backed pending tax relief legislation for Trimper Rides and Amusements. If passed, the bill would give the county and town of Ocean City the power to give tax credits to Trimper's as they see fit.

After their property values skyrocketed $50 million from 2004 to 2007, the Trimper family petitioned for months to get a break on its $900,000 property tax bill. Without tax relief, they said, the 121-year-old park might close permanently.

Tailor-made for the Trimpers but never mentioning the park by name, the draft legislation describes property "continuously owned by the same family" in the same location for more than 100 years as being eligible for tax breaks -- language that effectively excludes Jolly Roger.

Ocean City council had petitioned state legislators to write Jolly Roger into any bill giving tax relief to amusement parks, but so far that hasn't happened.

Jenkins initially made his pitch for equal tax consideration to the County Commissioners on Jan. 15, where he claimed his insurance, energy costs and property taxes all have risen at least 40 percent.

"We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on taxes," he told the Commissioners. "The biggest single cost increase is property taxation."

With locations at 2901 Coastal Highway and the Boardwalk, Jenkins said he spends $250,000 to $1.5 million for new rides. He also said he carries a $3.3 million payroll and employs 400 seasonal employees who "live, work and spend their money in (Worcester) County."

"It's a 12-month a year business. It's not something you drop down on the blacktop" like a touring carnival, he said.

Other items on the agenda for today's meeting include a staff report on the Ocean City Property Tax Differential Request and an evaluation of the wastewater treatment plant for Mystic Harbour.

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