Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY — In the brief this week, the Boardwalk bicycle hours got a unanimous nod through the first required reading for a coveted extra hour, a new city clerk was appointed at City Hall.

Kathy Mathias To Replace Carol Jacobs As City Clerk

Less than a month ago, City Manager Dennis Dare laid out a “one-time only” offer on the table for 84 eligible town employees via a retirement incentive plan. As a result, a longtime figurehead of City Hall has accepted the incentive, allowing the town to save some money and rearrange some proverbial desks.

City Clerk Carol Jacobs, a 34-year veteran of the town of Ocean City employee ranks, says she was planning her retirement to be sometime toward the end of 2010, but notes that when the retirement incentive plan was put into effect, it gave her the final nudge that was needed.

“It’s been a very tough decision, and I knew that I was going to have to retire sometime, but the incentive plan just gave me, I guess, enough incentive to bump the date up to the end of May,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs, who was appointed to work as the city clerk in September of 1987, will now pass the reigns onto Kathy Mathias, who has been serving as the Assistant to City Manager Dennis Dare since 1989, and has worked for the town since 1983.

Council President Joe Mitrecic announced the change in the so-called guard on Tuesday night at the City Council meeting and admitted afterwards that he needed a moment after making the proclamation that Mathias would be taken over as city clerk.

“To be honest, when I said it, I kind of got choked up because it’s going to be very hard to imagine things at City Hall without Carol Jacobs,” said Mitrecic. “She is truly one of the nicest and most professional people that you will ever meet, and she has done a spectacular job for the town of Ocean City.”

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan added, “Carol Jacobs has served the Town of Ocean City with distinction and we wish her all the best. And while we are all sad to see Carol leave, we are pleased to have Kathy promoted to the City Clerk’s post. She has the knowledge and experience to make this a smooth transition.”

As noted by Dare when he laid out the retirement incentive plan, the savings in payroll could be as much as $1 million by the end of this year, depending on how many of the eligible employees choose to retire.

In this case, the town will recoup Jacobs’ $90,519 salary (as per 2008 town records) by appointing Mathias to city clerk, and by not backfilling the Assistant to the City Manager position.

“I am very honored to accept the appointment as City Clerk,” Mathias said. “I have been fortunate to work with Carol over the years and she will be a tough act to follow, but I am pleased to follow in her footsteps.”

Amended Bike Ordinance Headed To Final Reading

Dandy Don’s bike shop owner Don Enste and his wife sat quietly for the better part of two and a half hours during the final round of debate concerning the new taxi cab ordinance on Tuesday night, patiently awaiting the first reading of an ordinance that would extend the hours that bikes would be allowed on the Boardwalk during the summer months.

For Enste and seemingly other bike proprietors in the resort, the council’s decision proved to be worth the wait.

In comparison, it almost took longer for City Solicitor Guy Ayres to read the ordinance into the record than it did for City Council to unanimously move it through to the second and final reading in two weeks.

The ordinance will extend the hours for bikes to be on the Boardwalk until 11 a.m. seven days a week from June until the end of August, and zero restrictions on bike usage on the Boardwalk from Sept. 1-May 31.

The only exceptions to this rule, if and conceivably when it passes through second reading in two weeks, will be on Springfest and Sunfest weekends (which fall in the technical off-season) when bikes, due to heavy Boardwalk pedestrian and tram traffic, will be asked to be removed at 11 a.m.

OCDC Will Continue Façade Program With Grant Award

The Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) received a $50,000 grant from the State Department of Housing and Community Development to continue it’s very successful and widely recognized façade program throughout the downtown area in Ocean City.

The state announced that it would be awarding a total of $2.1 million to organizations like OCDC or municipalities all over Maryland in hopes of improving aesthetics, helping small businesses, and creating jobs as well.

“Supporting strong, sustainable communities that are smart, green and growing will encourage Maryland’s economic turnaround and ensure a bright future for all Marylanders," said Governor O’Malley.