Council Approves $27M Bond For Future Projects

OCEAN CITY – The ordinance set to authorize the Mayor and Council to issue and sell, upon its full fail and credit, $27.5 million in general obligation bonds was passed unanimously on second reading at the Mayor and Council meeting Monday night.

Earlier this month, the Mayor and Council were presented with a project list and the refinancing of recognized bonds for approval.  After reviewing the proposal, the council made a few changes to the project list and set a ceiling price of $22.5 million. The council also voted unanimously at that time to approve the project list and the refinancing of recognized bonds and to review the proposal in ordinance form.

When the ordinance came before the Mayor and Council for first reading, it appeared with a new ceiling price of $27.5 million. Finance Administrator Martha Bennett explained that the ceiling had been raised from $22.5 million to $27.5 million to account for the possibility of interest rates increases. Bennett explained to the Mayor and Council that although rates have recently been lowered, and although they predict that those rates will stay low through the end of the calendar year, they still must factor in the potential for increased rates. As a result, the new ceiling was set at $27.5 million.

The council voted unanimously to approve the new ceiling price and to pass the ordinance on first reading.

This week, the ordinance came before the Mayor and Council again, this time for second reading. City Solicitor Guy Ayres noted that there was a minor text change to the ordinance, but that the rest was remaining the same. The council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance on second reading.

The items on this years project list in regards to the general fund are the Public Safety Building expansion, the Downtown Recreation Complex, the Northside Park restroom and press box, the support shop facility expansion/generator, St. Louis Ave. reconstruction design, and street improvements and reconstruction.

The projects related to wastewater on the list are secondary influent and pumping station, the Jamestown Road pumping station and the aeration basin. Land acquisition for a well site is also on the list.

Councilman Jim Hall requested that the deed or long-term lease for the Downtown Recreation Complex land between 4th and 3rd streets be sought. The project currently hinges on the agreement with the county over the land and will not proceed without it. Hall explained a decision from the county is necessary before the city proceed with the bond money for the downtown project.