Council Sticks To Rules On Beer Truck Rotation

OCEAN CITY – An available opportunity in the rotation for nonprofit organizations to sell beer during the town’s annual Springfest and Sunfest events caused some havoc at this week’s Mayor and City Council meeting.

According to the Town of Ocean City’s Policy and Procedure Manual, the Mayor and City Council allow non-profit organizations based in Ocean City to operate four concessions to sell beer at Springfest and four concessions to sell beer at Sunfest. The organizations were determined by a lottery conducted at the Mayor and City Council meeting in February of 1996. The position of the organizations was determined at this meeting and rotation through the list will proceed with four organizations per event.

Currently, the list of nonprofit organizations to run a concession to sell beer at Springfest and Sunfest is up to 47 and the rotation is scheduled up until Springfest of 2020.

Due to a drop out, two organizations requested to be added to the rotation for the lottery this week. The organizations were the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Youth Foundation and the Cricket Center.

The Cricket Center is located in Snow Hill, and the city’s policy says it must be located in the seventh election district to be included.

Councilman Lloyd Martin said that he wanted the council to consider both of the foundations and made a motion to do so.

During discussion, City Clerk Kathy Mathias explained that in 1983 the council grandfathered the rotation including the organizations that were already included. Therefore, if an organization was located within the election district at that time, it’s grandfathered in, regardless of its current location.

City Solicitor Guy Ayres said that the Cricket Center’s location does not meet the criteria of the Ocean City policy but it does provide services within the city.

“It would be up to you [council] to include them because of the services they are providing,” Ayres said.

Mathias pointed out that she has had to turn away organizations in the past because they were not located within in Ocean City, but if the council were to amend the policy it would create more flexible criteria with organizations having the opportunity to apply.

“You’re opening up a can of worms,” Councilman Joe Hall said. “If you open it [lottery] up, you have to open it up and let everyone try again.”

Martin said that the nonprofit organizations that sell beer during the events benefit Ocean City.

“I see that happening with Cricket Center,” he said. “As long as their performing services for the Town of Ocean City, that’s what it is all about.”

The council was divided. Some thought accepting the Cricket Center by changing the policy would be unfair to the organizations whose locations are outside of the election district and have been turned down in the past.

The council voted 3-4 to amend the policy to allow organizations outside of Ocean City but provide services to the town to apply for the beer truck rotation. The motion failed with Joe Hall, Brent Ashley, Jim Hall, and Margaret Pillas in opposition.

In discussing whether or not the council should accept the Optimist Youth Foundation, the council decided it may be best to freeze the rotation especially with the number of organizations already on the list and the wait extending until 2020.

“I think there are enough people on there,” Joe Hall said.

He made a motion to freeze the rotation and it passed in a vote of 5-2 with Doug Cymek and Lloyd Martin in opposition.