OCEAN CITY — In the brief this week, Councilman Joe Hall wants to create a new program for area kids, one of the town’s wastewater clarfiers gets the nod for repair and the permit fees for special and private run events in the town of Ocean City might be getting a bit pricier.
Hall Pitches New Kids Crabbing Program
At Tuesday’s Recreation and Parks Committee meeting at Northside Park, Councilman Joe Hall made a guest appearance to pitch a crabbing program for area youths.
“I remember being a young kid and going crabbing near the Route 90 bridge, and it was a great childhood memory for me,” said Hall. “I would like to utilize part of the pier at Northside Park, and create an underwater corral and fill that corral with crabs at certain times during the year so kids can go crabbing with their families.”
Hall’s idea was met with concurrence from everyone in attendance, but making that idea become a reality is going to take several steps and some careful planning.
“I’m just not sure if we can maintain and stock it at all times,” said Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster, “I think that perhaps doing it on a small scale like a fishing camp would be the way to go at the beginning.”
Hall says he’s “extremely excited” that his idea was met with open ears and he hopes to help build “loyal customers to Ocean City” by instilling this program.
“When I take my 3 and 6-year-olds out crabbing, they have short attention spans, and with a program like this, you could catch a few crabs and have a good day without spending the entire day doing it,” said Hall. “If we could find an easier way for kids to get a memorable experience, I think we should try it, and I believe that doing programs like this creates lifetime visitors of Ocean City.”
Clarifier Repairs Approved
The City Council granted Wastewater Superintendent Jim Parsons’ request for $100,000 to repair the city’s secondary wastewater clarifier on Tuesday, ensuring that the large and vital piece of the wastewater clarification process will be up and running by next season.
“We knew when we took it off line after the summer that when we inspected it in October that we were going to find a few issues that needed attention,” said Parsons. “Unfortunately, we didn’t expect to find the major problems that we did find.”
The estimated cost to fix the clarifier is $82,000 but Parsons asked for $100,000 to be allotted from the town’s wastewater fund balance to cover crane rentals and other additional charges that often come up during projects like this.
“It will take 16 weeks to get this thing done, and if we start in November, we will have more than enough time to get the thing online by April 1,” he said.
Permit Fees Expected To Jump
Ocean City seems to be following suit with a growing number of municipalities around the country who are trying to ease the sting of the grim economy and recoup as many of its expenses as possible.
The Mayor and City Council will soon be seeing a recommendation from the Recreation and Parks Committee calling for substantial permit fee raises for both special and private events held in the town of Ocean City.
“There are well over 100 private events held in the town of Ocean City each year, from everything to walking dogs on the Boardwalk to the Ocean City Air Show, and the town spent $325,000 in support of those events last year, while only recouping $40,000 in revenue,” Special Events Director John Sullivan said.
It will be recommended to the Mayor and City Council that for-profit permit fees by raised from $35 per day to $100 and non-profits be raised from $15 to $25.
In addition, the town may also charge for any last-minute changes and also for date holds for future events.
The town often must contribute stages, bleachers, chairs, tables and other items to events, and there are costs associated with providing those materials that the town is currently not getting back, according to Sullivan.
“Right now, we are recouping none of it, and we think that this would be a way to recoup some of our expenses …” he said.