Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY — In “the Brief” this week, Bob Melvin recants an earlier request concerning ADA fundraising and a vital sewer pipe underneath Coastal Highway could soon be receiving some serious attention.

Melvin Miffed With Council, Recants Request

Bob Melvin may have won a battle in helping to ensure that Ocean City’s handicapped and elderly residents receive door-to-door Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) bus service, but his hopes of getting the town to help raise funds for the users of this service, don’t seem to be going anywhere.

Melvin said that he tried to hand Council President Joe Mitrecic money as a way to start a fund for ADA users to get help if they need it to pay for the $5 each way fare to medical appointments in Berlin, but Mitrecic said that the town couldn’t accept such a donation.

“They are very cold to the idea of helping the ADA passengers who need help paying for their fares,” said Melvin. “Don’t get me wrong, they gave a lot by working with me to change the service, but now it seems they are telling me that they’ve got nothing left to give.”

Mitrecic, on the other hand, said that it’s not a case of whether or not the council wants to help Melvin. The council president says the town can’t, according to its charter.

“I talked to the city solicitor [Guy Ayres] two weeks ago and he told me that it’s not in the town’s charter to operate its own non-profit organization within the city,” said Mitrecic. “I told Mr. Melvin that he needs to go to another established non-profit group like the American Legion or the Elks Lodge and see if they would get on board.”

Mitrecic added that the town would not want to “get in the business of deciding who is needy and who isn’t”, referring to Melvin’s hopes of establishing a fund in which ADA riders who experience financial hardship could get some relief.

“I think he’s oversimplified all that would have to go into making this a reality,” said Mitrecic. “There would be costs to the town to handle the money raised and distribute the money raised and essentially that would take away from money used for the service itself.”

Melvin recanted a request on Monday night that he made in March to set up a funding source for ADA bus riders, perhaps realizing that if a fund were to be established to help ease the sting of $10 round-trip ADA bus service, it would more than likely be set up somewhere other than City Hall.

“I’m 90 years old, and I’m going to have to find help on this one, and I’ve been in contact with some other places here in town,” he said. “I can’t take on this whole thing myself and maybe I’m going to just stop with one win if I can’t get anyone on board to help.”

Mitrecic pointed out that the new ADA service is now $10 for roundtrip service as opposed to $12 for the old service.

$600K Needed To Fix

Underground Pipeline

Bypassing a pipeline is rarely easy, but it appears that the town is going to have to divert all of its 14 million gallons of daily wastewater while it conducts approximately $600,000 worth of repairs to the main intake pipe.

City Manager Dennis Dare outlined a number of upcoming projects that need to start the bidding process to the Mayor and City Council on Monday night, including an $80,000 overhaul to the North Surf Park in the Caine Woods community using grant money and a $25,000 repaving of Tuna Lane, but ears around City Hall perked up when he described the repairs needed for the 48-inch pipe that sits beneath Coastal Highway and feeds directly into the wastewater treatment facility at 64th Street.

In an interdepartmental memo from Senior Project Manager Dean Dashiell to Dare, he noted that the town’s entire sewer flow needs to be diverted so that the sole 48-inch concrete influent pipe can be cleaned and “subsequently lined.”

The town is working with consultant Whitman, Requardt, and Associates to come up with a “scope of services” for the design and bidding of this project, according to Dashiell’s memo.

According to City Hall, $600,000 was allocated in the town’s budget for this project.