Ocean City News In Briefs

OCEAN CITY – During the week that was in Ocean City government, ‘The Briefs” learned about a new issue that Councilman Jim Hall apparently has expertise in, the mayor’s new “thank you” strategy and that plans to use the Ocean City Municipal Airport for commercial flights have once again been grounded.

NY Flight Plan Scrapped

When Florida-based entrepreneur Gabriel Saavedra of Deluge Air came before the Mayor and City Council in November, his idea to run a connecting jet service from the Ocean City Municipal Airport to White Plains, N.Y. seemed like a good one, but what he lacked was any concrete plans for it.

The council advised Saavedra, who hoped to use the town’s airport as a Fixed Based Operation (FBO) for two 19-seat Beechcraft 1900 planes to fly twice a day at $100 per flight, to come back to them when he had a full plan and proposal in place.

Apparently, that proposal or plan will has never come to fruition as Saavedra announced he was changing his mind and would not be seeking Ocean City Airport to use as his FBO.

He gave no reason for recanting his interest, according to airport officials, but Saavedra did hint that he would be seeking out the usage of the Salisbury-Ocean City-Wicomico Airport for an air taxi service that could expand to a scheduled air service.

This is not the first time a proposed commercial service has been grounded at the airport. As recently as 2005, the now defunct Simmons Air tried to use the airport as a hub for $99 connecting flights to BWI.

Mayor Eyes “Strategic ThankYou’s” For Ad Campaign

Mayor Rick Meehan will once again be taking Ocean City’s message on the road this year and doing press junkets and interviews on both radio and television shows in several markets, including Baltimore, Washington, Frederick, Hagerstown, Harrisburg, and York, Pa.

As part of the advertising campaign strategy set in place by MGH, Meehan will be promoting a positive outlook for the summer in Ocean City with hopes to compel people to travel here for the value and close proximity.

“We’ve never gone into a market like Frederick before,” said Meehan, “and I think we should thank them for their past patronage to Ocean City, and welcome them back to enjoy the things that we have to offer this year.”

MGH President Andy Malis said the ad campaign will play up the value aspect of Ocean City this year and will try to show visitors there are things to do in Ocean City at all price-points. “As far as price goes, this is not a one size fits all kind of town,” said Malis.

Meehan’s “road trips” will be coordinated to be around the time of major events in Ocean City and of course, summer holidays.

Complex Language Equates To Better Wastewater Pipes

Any time that a journalist hears the word “vortex”, the notepad comes out and the voice recorder is activated with great haste.

Yet, when Public Works Director Hal Adkins and Assistant Public Works Director James Parsons came before the Mayor and City Council this week to ask for an additional $160,000 to be allotted from the Wastewater Management Fund in addition to the $700,000 that’s already been earmarked for the project, the technical jargon was admittedly overwhelming.

Felin explained that the project concerns aeration improvements to the town’s wastewater treatment plant, and due to the design of the current facility, the upgraded equipment the project was to install was found to create a detrimental “vortex” during the four-day testing process.

“If we don’t counteract this with the installation of subsurface baffles in the reactors, the vortex will greatly reduce the oxygen transfer capacity in the system, thus negating the results of the aerator upgrade, which defeats the purpose of the whole process,” Parsons said.

The council seemed baffled with the jargon as well, but unanimously voted for approval, perhaps because the project uses no money from the general fund, but rather, draws the money from the $3.4 million that remains available in the Wastewater Fund.

Red Light Cameras A Reality On Highway?

Research is currently being done and more will apparently follow, according to Councilman Lloyd Martin, looking into the installation of security cameras on top of stoplights that would issue citations to drivers who run red lights on Coastal Highway.

During his police commission meeting report at Tuesday’s work session, Martin said that though it is a possible revenue stream for the town, there was still some hesitation on the matter.

“We thought it might not be a good idea for someone to come to town, run a red light and then get a citation in the mail a week or two later, especially while they are on their vacation, but we will look at it later on down the road,” Martin said.

The money from the citations would come back to Ocean City, according to Police Chief Bernadette DiPino, and Councilman Jim Hall joked he could give his firsthand accounts on the effectiveness of the cameras.

“I’m an expert on these red light cameras because I’ve had a daughter up at college for the past few years with my car,” he said.