Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY – Due to the holidays, the Mayor and Council enjoyed some time off this week but worked out a number of items last week. The following items were discussed:

Pension Policy Amendment

An unscheduled agenda item was brought up having to do with amending town employee pension policies that were written in 2004. Human Resources Director Wayne Evans explained that there were two ordinances on the table. One addressed each of the two pension plans, public safety and general employees.

“What we had determined has to do with the methodology that is used to calculate sick leave credits, an add-on to the pension benefit,” he said. “At the time someone retires, if they have accrued sick leave credits during the course of their career, this formula was used to apply additional pension dollars to their monthly pension benefits.”

Evans said that it was discovered that the formula was written incorrectly, and that the credit was intended to be 2 percent, not 3.33 percent.

“That has two impacts,” Evans said. “One is that it effects the calculations of the pension benefits, and the second impact is that it affects the evaluation of the pension plan and the contribution that the town is required to make.”

He added that there have been six participants whose benefits were calculated at the higher level but they have been made aware of the over payment.

“We recommend that just stays as it is and it be recalculated moving forward,” Mayor/Acting City Manager Rick Meehan said.

The next ordinance on the table needed to be changed from having two pension formulas included to just one because the way it was worded it allows for both formulas to added together in order to come up with the formula. This mistake has not been applied to any pensions as of yet.

“Those formulas only applied to people who retired under a 1996 pension plan, we just want to go ahead and clean that document up while we have it here, and it’s not really going to affect anybody,” Evans said.

Both ordinances were voted unanimously to be amended, as well as passed as emergency ordinances.

Toys For Tots Month
Mayor Rick Meehan read a proclamation designating the month of December as Toys for Tots Month.

According to the proclamation, the Marine Corps League, First State Detachment, works in Ocean City and Worcester County with dedication and effectiveness to preserve the traditions and interests of the United States Marine Corps. The First State Detachment has a mission of providing good cheer and well-being to local needy children during the holiday season through its Toys for Tots program.

The Toys for Tots program has assured that more than 4,000 children in the area had a toy during this season that they would not have had if not for the efforts of the First State Detachment, Marine Corps League, and the generosity of citizens.

Vehicle Purchases Approved

Public Works Director Hal Adkins came requested the order of three pickup trucks, one 12-passenger van and a two wheel drive SUV for a total estimated expenditure of $125,000.

Adkins explained that fortunately the Equipment Trust Fund currently has adequate funding to purchase the vehicles because while budgeting for 2012 a local match was provided to purchase six transit buses, which are $420,000 each, plus come other grant related items. The MTA only approved three transit buses leaving about $111,000 in the trust fund plus an additional $16,000 in funding through savings totaling a little over $128,000.

The council voted unanimously to approve the request to order the necessary vehicles.

Easier Sale Of Surplus

The council also voted unanimously to approve an ordinance on second reading to authorize the sale of surplus personal property as determined by the city manager and approved by resolution.

The ordinance states, “upon determination by a department head and the city manager that items of personal property have been abandoned, are surplus, or otherwise no longer necessary for public use, the city manager shall prepare an itemized list of such property to the city council for final determination. If the City Council determines the property surplus, than it may be by resolution authorize the sale of such personal property.”

The council chose to allow the sale of surplus to be approved by resolution so that the time period to make a sale will be shortened by eliminating the first and second reading of the ordinance process.

“What this will do is allow us to continue … what our departments have done successfully with selling property as it becomes available instead of waiting for one or two times a year [auctions], and using a website [govdeals.com] that has brought great returns in a limited time, so this is a great management tool for our departments,” Meehan said.