OC Council News In Brief

OCEAN CITY – There were some notable occurrences in local government this week and here’s a snapshot of some of those that may have otherwise fallen under the radar from the week’s top stories.

Small Wind Turbines Voted To Become City Ordinance

After months of talking and tweaking, residents and business owners will be permitted to install small wind turbines on their properties, after the City Council voted unanimously to allow them for accessory usage in Ocean City on Tuesday. The issue will now go to the required first reading to make it a city ordinance.

Though the energy saving turbines will be allowed in Ocean City, there may only be a small percentage of people that will be able to attain the numerous rules and setback regulations that the town has instilled. Free-standing turbines must be placed 1.1 times the total height of the turbine back from the property line, and must be kept in the manufacturer’s default color, and not exceed kilowattage power of 100 per hour. Price could also be a factor, despite the proven savings in utility costs. It has been estimated that small wind turbine owners would see their initial investment for installation “paid back” within five to seven years, and could save roughly a third of their utility bill each month. The initial cost however, according to Finn McCabe, representative of the Delaware-based alternative energy company Flexera, could roughly total $35,000.

More than likely, rooftop turbines are what will be seen in Ocean City, due to the urbanized setting of the Ocean City grid.

“I encourage anyone that can do this, to do it. The time is now to utilize this new technology to save on energy costs,” said Councilman Lloyd Martin.

The decision could affect things in government as well, as City Manager Dennis Dare cited that wind turbines would be looked into as one of the city’s cost cutting measures in the future.

Resort Looking To Lock

In Low Energy Price

City Engineer Terry McGean said that usually he would not ask this far in advance to re-bid the current contract for electrical supply in Ocean City, but asked the council for the leeway to do so, citing the low market price for energy as the main reason to renegotiate the current electrical supply contract with Direct Energy, which runs until June of 2010.

McGean said that Direct Energy would be used to monitor a web-based “reverse auction” of sorts, which would enable the town to monitor the fluctuating prices of energy and lock in at a low price for the future.

Mayor Rick Meehan praised McGean’s work on this issue, citing the “hundreds of thousands of dollars” that this process will save and has saved the town in the past.

“You’ve done a great job on this Terry, and this is like eBay in reverse,” said Meehan.

McGean expects energy prices to stay low for at least the next 45 days and hopes to secure a low-fixed price for energy and bring the proposal back to the Mayor and City Council in the near future.

The council quickly and unanimously approved McGean’s plea.

Rewards Program Started

To Jumpstart Golf Business

At a recent Recreation and Parks meeting, plans were laid out to provide a potential “shot in the arm” to the lagging golf rounds played at the city-owned and operated Eagle’s Landing golf course.

The Local Rewards Program will be available to residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Sussex, and Somerset counties and participants would be given a card that would accrue points with every round played. The program, according to Eagle’s Landing Golf Pro Bob Croll, could bring in $90,000 in revenue and increase rounds played at the course by over 2,000.

Croll also proposed a $2,500 advertising based program called the Golden Eagle Partner Program, which will replace the deleted golf car coupon- advertising program.

Town, Golf Company

Unable To Come To Terms

Ocean City Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster was granted permission in December by Mayor and City Council to contact Pam’s Asset Acquisition (formerly known as Pam’s Golf LLC) for a possible partnership for 2009.

Pam’s Golf LLC, as it was formerly known, had a longstanding agreement with the town of Ocean City to book rounds at the Eagle’s Landing Golf Course, but the relationship was terminated in 2007 due to the company going bankrupt. After the company was purchased by River Run Golf Course owner Lew Meltzer shortly after the previous owners filed for bankruptcy, he renamed the company, and Shuster sought out to renew the agreement between the town and the company as a way to jumpstart lagging golf rounds played at the course.

However, it was reported by Shuster at the Recreation and Parks meeting that, “Hunt Crosby of Pam’s Asset Acquistion responded to the town’s request for participation proposal for 2009, but the proposal was not acceptable to the town or Eagle’s Landing Golf Course at this time.”

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