OCEAN CITY – This week’s Mayor and City Council meeting was minimal, but the council added a few last minute items of note to the list.
Among the items added to the agenda were scoot coupes, issues on Somerset St., removal of street performers from certain areas of the Boardwalk and payroll for new hires. Here’s a review
Bids In Review
The Gorman Ave. Wastewater Treatment Plant is in need for paint and repairs. Five bids were placed and two were chosen for staff review. The apparent low bid for the first section of repairs of $417,068 came from a company in Stanton, Del. and for the second section of repairs the apparent low bid of $70,000 came from Pro Coat LLC, in Salisbury.
Bids were also made to provide chemicals used at the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant. There were no responses from three companies, and 15 bids made from others. The council voted the bids to be reviewed by staff. Councilwoman Margaret Pillas asked if it was possible to use generic brand chemicals to save money, and it was responded that it depends on what works for a certain application but the town is not committed to any specific brand.
Scoot Coupes Allowed On Streets
Scoot Coupes, a scooter modeled to look like a miniature car, is in review to be allowed to ride on city streets until April 15. At that time, the coupes will be placed into a new review. The scooters will be allowed on city streets during the off-season, but not allowed on the highway, as long as a few repairs recommended by the MVA are made, such as elevation of headlights, removal of windshield and light bulbs need to be brightened or dimmed.
Ongoing Somerset Street Issues
A battle continues with business owners on Somerset St. in downtown Ocean City regarding the pedestrian pathway being blocked by merchandise and rentals.
Blaine Smith, zoning administrator for the town, was in attendance to state he has not seen the pathway blocked to the point where it is a problem. He said it a minor issue and there is no need for enforcement, maybe just better supervision.
The business owners have had a harsh exchanging of words on several occasions in public. Mayor Rick Meehan recognized that the same few individuals have the problems and it is time to take action. He also thinks these certain individuals are holding back the future progress of the street. Councilman Jim Hall said before it is time to renew business licenses on the block that each needs to be reviewed before the council.
Removal Of Boardwalk Performers
Pillas brought to discussion the need to remove performers on the Boardwalk from streets with emergency access, especially North Division St. There are only a few streets that have an emergency ramp connecting from the street to the Boardwalk. Pillas has received complaints that performers and their equipment block that access. The matter will be discussed at a future meeting.
Pay Roll Reduction For New Hires
Jim Hall asserted that payroll for the city’s new employees, not present employees, needs to be reviewed quickly. He would like to see the following changes made; decrease starting pay by 20 percent, any pay raises would have to be approved by council, change the defined benefit to 401K matching up to $2,000 a year, which he believes will save the town millions of dollars, and finally health coverage should be offered to new hires only. If they want their wife and kids covered, new employee should contribute to that, Hall said.