Ocean City Council Briefs

OCEAN CITY- The Ocean City Mayor and Council met in a work
session this week and discussed a wide variety of issues from a bid to repaint
the water tower on 15th Street to improvements to the fire company
headquarters to a new health care plan for town employees to new gear for
resort firefighters. The following is a quick look at some of the activity:

Bid Accepted for
Water Tower Rehab

The Council unanimously approved the low bid submitted for
a major repainting and rehabilitation project for the water tower on 15th
Street. Three bids were submitted with the high bid coming in at $843,000 and
the low bid submitted by K&K Painting of Baltimore coming in at $436,760,
which is the bid the council accepted. The staff estimate and the subsequent
budget estimate for the project were set at $400,000.

The project includes painting the tower inside and out as
well as the installation of a new hydro-mixing device similar to the one in use
at the town-owned water tower on 94th Street. Funding for the
project is already in place in the fiscal year 2008 budget. The water tower
rehab is scheduled for an October completion date.

Funds Allocated for
Fire Station Ceiling Replacement

Using funds left over from the recently completed painting
of the resort’s fire headquarters, the council on Tuesday accepted the low bid
for replacing the ceiling at the facility.

The town recently allocated over $75,000 for the painting
of the fire station, but the project came in under budget at about $44,000, and
the fire company has requested the left over funds be used to replace the
ceiling throughout the facility, which has deteriorated in recent years. To
that, town officials solicited bids for the project and received a low bid from
Bradshaw Drywall to do the project for $15,428.

Although the bid exceeds the $10,000 cap on purchase
orders approved by department heads without an okay by the council, the elected
officials agreed to waive the formal bid process so that the ceiling at fire
headquarters can be replaced before the annual Firemen’s Convention in Ocean
City next month.

New Town Employee
Health Care Plan Accepted

The council on Tuesday approved a new health insurance and
life insurance plan for town employees, which is somewhat higher than the plan
that is getting ready to expire but considerably lower than what other
municipalities around the state and the country are paying.

Last year, Ocean City switched from MAMSI to Carefirst-
Blue Cross/Blue Shield for its employee health insurance and life insurance
policy and saw its rate drop around three percent, resulting in a savings of
about $171,000. This year, however, the policy went up 7.6 percent, which is
considerably higher than what the town is, currently paying but much lower than
the national average rate increase, which is around 10 percent.

The new policy will cost the town $414,081, with a
ten-percent contribution from the town at about $41,000, which should result in
significant savings for the town and its employees. The new rates become
effective on July 1. Councilman Jim Hall said the plan was the best the town
could do given the current climate in the health care market.

“This is the best we can do,” he said. “Health care rates
are going up like crazy.”

New Turnout Gear to
be Purchased for Firefighters

After evaluating the needs for the new part-time employees
for the town’s emergency personnel, Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald
recommended the purchase of 10 sets of new turnout gear.

The new gear will be purchased from Total Fire Co., which
submitted the low bid. Theobald said the new gear will be consistent with that
used by the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company. The total purchase price came in
at $17,640 and the funds are already in place in the Emergency Services
department’s budget.

New Hires For Fire
Marshal’s Office Introduced

The council on Tuesday was introduced to three new hires
for the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office including the first woman to work for
the department.

Rancel Evans has been employed as a Fire Safety Inspector
for the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office since 2005, but his currently working
on upgrading his status with the department. During his time with the Ocean
City Fire Marshal’s Office, Evans has been trained as a Hazardous Materials
Technician, Fire/Arson Investigator and Post Blast Investigator. He is
currently rated a Fire Inspector I, but is taking classes this month to become
a Fire Marshal II.

Tim Price, who was introduced on Tuesday as a Deputy Fire
Marshal, has long been associated with the town of Ocean City’s Fire Marshal’s
Office, having joined the outfit in 1989. A 35-year-veteran of the Ocean City
Volunteer Fire Company, Price is a nationally certified Fire Investigator,
Hazardous Materials Technician, Fire Inspector III, Firefighter III and Plans

Miriam Green joined the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office
in 1991 and was recently named a new Administrative Office Associate. After
relocating to Ocean City in 1990, Green was a secretary at the Sheraton in
Ocean City before joining the Fire Marshal’s Office in 1991.