OCEAN CITY – The town of Ocean City is starting to feel the heat as this summer approaches with a crammed schedule of events.
Last week several private event requests were scheduled under the Mayor and City Council’s legislative consent agenda when most of them were removed to discuss in further detail.
Up first, Chris Prybylo of Alli Sports requested approval of the 2013 Dew Tour. The Dew Tour’s stop in Ocean City this summer is June 20-23 when professional BMX, skateboarders and surfers will compete for a title. The event takes place downtown on the beach between the Inlet and North Division Street.
Ocean City and Alli Sports have formed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) following discussions regarding the impact to the town and the expectations of both the town and Alli Sports.
Last year’s event expenses were about $97,000 from the town. However, the Dew Tour returns the favor by creative a positive economic impact from lodging, food beverage, recreation and other incidental expenditures related to the event.
Private Event Coordinator Lisa Mitchell recommended the event be approved upon the acceptance of the MoU since the event requires substantial support and coordination from city staff.
Concerned over clarity, Councilwoman Margaret Pillas questioned several clauses within the MoU. She pointed out the council has discussed obtaining performance bonds to be included in MoU’s in the past and questioned why it is not being done with the Dew Tour.
“We have two years of experience working with the Dew Tour and this suggests that they are going to perform as they say they are,” City Manager David Recor said.
Council President Lloyd Martin explained the town has moved forward in having performance bonds with certain problem events in the past but there was no reason to implement a performance bond for all private events.
“I want to be fair to those who are doing the right thing already,” he said.
Recor reminded the council there is not one event-free weekend this upcoming June and this summer will answer many unknowns when it comes to performance bonds.
“It is going to take a tremendous amount of coordination among staff with set up and break down … so if we see based on the level of activity this summer that a performance bond may be a good idea, certainly we can revisit that,” he said.
Councilman Joe Mitrecic reminded the Mayor and City Council how expensive performance bonds can be.
“If we want these events to continue to come and be here to bring people to the Town of Ocean City with heads in beds, in the restaurants, and on the Boardwalk, I would caution the council to consider a performance bond … they are very expensive to do and a lot of non-profits and smaller groups will not be able to secure them,” he said.
Next, Donna Greenwood of the Ocean City Drug and Alcohol Awareness Prevention Committee (DAAPC) requested an approval for 2013 Play It Safe events.
Play It Safe is put on annually by the DAARC that provide activities for high school graduates to encourage making good choices and have responsible fun in Ocean City without the use of alcohol and drugs. A list of activities was provided to take place throughout the month of June in a variety of locations from on the beach downtown to Northside Park in uptown Ocean City.
Pillas acknowledged Play It Safe activities will be taking place in or near the same locations as other events, such as the OC Air Show and Dew Tour. She was specifically concerned about the amount of work the public works department will have to prepare, maintain and clean up.
“This seems to be a public works department nightmare,” she said.
Recor reminded the council staff had brought forward an events calendar months ago that identified the challenge the town will be facing.
“Everybody that is devoted to providing an in-kind service that is necessary to support these events means something else isn’t getting done,” Recor said. “It takes away from their everyday responsibility. Be that as it may, you are right, it is a challenge and so far staff has risen to the occasion, and I don’t expect anything different at this point.”