Council Approves Bid For New Inlet Parking Lot System

OCEAN CITY – The city is moving forward with repairs to the Inlet and bayside boardwalk as well as a new and more efficient control system for the Inlet Parking Lot.

There are a number of upcoming projects planned in Ocean City. This week City Engineer Terry McGean returned with bid award recommendations for the Inlet and bayside boardwalk repairs and lumber and the Inlet Parking Lot controls.

According to McGean, the Boardwalk at the Inlet and Chicago Avenue were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The city received separate bids for labor and materials to repair the boardwalks. The estimated total cost that was not budgeted is $300,000 but the city is expecting 75 percent to be reimbursed from federal storm relief funds.

That would leave the city responsible for less than $100,000. Earlier in this week’s meeting during a discussion on proposed decorative lighting along St. Louis Ave., McGean explained the Boardwalk’s current reconstruction that was funded through a bond is currently under budget by $1.65 million, leaving money to repair the damage.

McGean recommended to award the low bidders for labor to Rehak Contracting in the amount of $229,000. Rehak is the contractor currently reconstructing the major Boardwalk. McGean recommended the bid for materials to Long Life Treated Wood in the amount of about $52,500. The Mayor and City Council accepted the recommendation in a unanimous vote.

Next McGean explained the Inlet Parking Lot control system needs to be replaced as ticket booths are badly corroded. The system is no longer supported by the manufacturer.

McGean submitted $400,000 will be appropriated from the fund balance for the new booths and four electric vehicle charging stations, which he has received numerous requests for in the past. A possible minor loss in revenue could occur in the early spring due to the delayed opening as well as from the loss of four parking spaces as those charging stations will only be available for electric cars to use.

McGean recommended awarding the project to the sole bidder, CTR Systems Parking, including the electric vehicle charging stations in the amount of $399,000. If the council were to eliminate the electric vehicle charging stations, it would result in a savings of $30,000. The city could also add a Roving cashier system to allow for pay-on-entrance type parking for special events at the cost of almost $5,000, according to McGean.

Mayor Rick Meehan, who has never received a request for vehicle charging stations, felt the council was getting ahead of itself in moving to approve the stations. He added that could be an opportunity left open for private enterprise to provide, such as hotels and restaurants, and that the Roving cashier system is more important at this time.

“I am not sure we have advanced to that stage yet and that is something that we can put in anywhere at any time,” he said. “There may be some other spaces available that are not as valuable as the Inlet Parking Lot.”

Councilman Dennis Dare agreed with the mayor in not dedicating charging stations at the Inlet that would result in reducing parking revenue. However, he felt that it is service that should be provided to visitors and that other parking locations should be reviewed, such as the 4th Street parking lot that is currently being improved for an expansion.

Councilman Joe Mitrecic made a motion to approve the bidder for the parking controls but to eliminate the electric vehicle charging stations and include the Roving cashier system. He asked for a future recommendation in alternative locations to install the stations and a rate to charge for the service. The council voted unanimously on the motion.