Ocean City Council News Briefs

OCEAN CITY – At a work session of the Mayor and City Council
this week, a variety of issues were discussed. The following is a brief look at
some of the happenings at City Hall this week.

Request For Purchase Of

Gas Monitoring Equipment

The Ocean City Volunteer
Fire Company (OCVFC) appeared before the Mayor and Council this week with a
request for the sole source purchase of gas monitoring equipment.

OCVFC President James
Jester made the request for 12 industrial scientific MX6 gas monitors for a
total cost of $31,474.77. The equipment will replace the fire department’s
current Q-RAE four-gas monitoring equipment. Jester also requested the sole
source purchase of the equipment from National Safety Supply, Inc.

Fire Inspector Cliff
Christello explained the town’s current four-gas monitoring equipment is used
to detect oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide and combustible gas. The
six-gas monitors would expand their capabilities to include monitoring of
chlorine and hydrogen cyanide.

According to Christello,
chlorine readings are important with the abundance of pools in the town as well
as through monitoring wastewater. Hydrogen cyanide monitoring has increased in
importance over the past few years as studies have suggested that hydrogen
cyanide, a bi-product of construction, could cause cancer and other medical
issues for workers and firefighters. Christello noted that hydrogen cyanide
monitoring could become a requirement by 2010. “We went ahead of the curve a
little bit by trying to do that,” he said.

The equipment will also
include calibration and field monitoring equipment, which, according to
Christello, will bring a new level of efficiency to the fire department. The
equipment will allow Christello to download readings for investigation and
return the equipment, rather than keep the equipment for the duration of the

Christello requested a
sole source purchase, explaining that National Supply, Inc. is a local Maryland company and is
currently the only vendor supplying the monitor equipment.

The council unanimously
approved the request, with Councilman Jim Hall absent.

Bomb Squad Request

Fire Marshal Sam Villani
made the request for the sole source purchase of Hook and Line sets under the
Homeland Security Grant this week in an effort to enhance the preparedness of Ocean City’s
bomb squad.

The sole source purchase
will include four sets at a price of $4,488 each, totaling $17,952. “These
compact kits allow us to get more for our money,” Villani said.

In a letter to the Mayor
and Council, Villani wrote, “To enhance our preparedness plan and strategy for
the Bomb Squad/Bio Chemical Response Unit, a hook and line rigging kit will be
placed in each response vehicle. It is designed to remotely handle all
scenarios in which hook and line is appropriate for safely moving improvised
explosive devices and military ordnance to a safe location for render safe or

The City Council voted
unanimously, with Hall absent, to approve the request.

Council Approves Request

To Purchase, Bid Vehicles

The City Council
unanimously approved the request to purchase vehicles under the State of Maryland contract this
week and also to bid two vehicles that were not awarded by the state contract.

Purchasing Director Joe
Sobczak presented the Mayor and Council with the list of contract approved
vehicles this week, explaining that two vehicles could not be purchased under
the state contract.

With the purchase of the
vehicles under the contract, a savings of $17,310 will be realized.

Vehicles for a variety
of departments were included in the list including vehicles for the Fire
Marshal, Recreation and Parks Maintenance and Special Events, Public Works
Construction and Maintenance, Wastewater, and Water.

Sobczak explained that
the two vehicles not included in the contract were unique to their purpose, and
recommended the town bid the vehicles.

Budget Amendments For FY08

Budget Manager Jennie
Knapp presented budget amendment #1 for FY08 to the Mayor and City Council this
week, providing a six-month update on the FY08 budget.

“At this point, after
the first six months, most of the departments are within budget,” Knapp said.

Knapp presented the
Mayor and Council with an update on all departments, presenting savings, such
as with the recent bond issuance, and departments that are currently under and
over budget.

The council voted
unanimously, with Hall absent, to move the budget amendments to first reading.

January Recognized As National Stalking Awareness

Mayor Rick Meehan
proclaimed January 2008 to be in recognition of National Stalking Awareness
this week in an effort to bring awareness of a nationwide issue to Ocean City.
National Stalking Awareness Month is part of the Violence Against Women Act of
1994. In recognition of that act, four months will be dedicated to awareness in
2008; beginning with National Stalking Awareness Month is January.