Boardwalk Petition Suggested

OCEAN CITY – Councilman Joe Hall voted against an all wooden deck for the Boardwalk renovation and is asking residents who agree to consider a petition on the matter.

“I felt that the combination of concrete and Boardwalk was the best choice and even aesthetically pleasing,” Joe Hall said. “It gave some contrast to the Boardwalk, especially if it was a colored concrete put down.”

Hall added the most important part is the economic circumstances. The town would save $2 million in overall costs if a concrete option was chosen.

“Saving $2 million over time, and half of that in the upfront costs, would be the financially responsible thing to do,” Joe Hall said.

He pointed out that in the past when citizens thought there was a poor choice made by the council they have used their right to petition the choice to referendum.

“I want to let the citizens know that there is an option out there if they felt a wrong choice for the town was made,” he said.

According to the town charter, the petitioner has three business days to prepare the petition and present it to City Solicitor Guy Ayres. The petitioner has 40 days from the date of approval to obtain signatures of 40 percent of the number of voters at the most recent general election.

If the approved petition is filed within the prescribed time period and with the appropriate amount of signatures, it will be submitted to a vote of the registered voters of the town for their approval or disapproval. The ordinance requested for referendum will be submitted for a vote at the next regular town election, or in the council’s discretion at a special election occurring before the next regular election.

In the recent past, a proposed major expansion to Northside Park was successfully petitioned by Councilman Vince Gisriel, who reasoned that it was wasteful spending. The town’s registered voters voted to side with the council’s decision to expand the park during a special election.

Gisriel also petitioned a proposed bubble-type enclosure over the Mallard Run tennis courts on 61st Street and a runway expansion project at the town’s airport in West Ocean City.

“It was a very expensive proposal [tennis courts] for a temporary building during the winter just so we had year-round tennis,” Joe Hall said. “It was a good goal but it was very expensive and the citizens at that time felt the council wasn’t using the money best and they advocated if you’re going to spend that money why not build a permanent building somewhere.”

Regarding the Boardwalk, Joe Hall said, “with the $2 million difference between projects, that might be a tool that citizens might want to consider.”