Ocean City Water Tower To Feature ALOC

OCEAN CITY – During Monday evenings Mayor and City Council legislative session, several items of business were briefly discussed and approved.
Among the topics were the 94th Street water tower being painted with the Art League of Ocean City’s logo, the council’s request for the Seaside 10 to lower costs for the city, parking requirements will be amended for clarification and financial ends are wrapped up with the final approval of a budget amendment and a bond ordinance.

Tower To Feature
Art League Logo
Bids to repair and paint the 94th Street water tower were opened on Oct. 1, and this week staff returned requesting permission to award the project to Utility Service Company, Inc. who tendered the lowest base bid at $198,000 with no logo, $216,000 with Town of Ocean City’s logo or $206,000 with the Art League of Ocean City’s (ALOC) logo.
The funding for the project was budgeted in the FY 2014 Water Distribution Account. The staff estimated for the project to cost $300,000.
Last week, after the bids were open, ALOC Executive Director Rina Thaler pointed out to the Mayor and City Council that while the new arts center on 94th Street has been a success, the facility could still use help in being found as the building is tucked away off Coastal Hwy.
The ALOC officially offered this week to pay the $8,000 to have its logo placed on the tower. The City Council voted unanimously to reward the project to Utility Service Company, Inc. and have the art league’s logo added to the tower in the amount of $206,000.

Seaside 10 Asked
To Examine Costs
Chris Klebe of OC TriRunning requested a three-year private event approval request for the Seaside 10 running event for the date of Oct. 31, 2015. In 2011, Klebe was granted a three-year approval and is currently approved for the event to occur this year and next year.
According to Private Events Coordinator Lisa Mitchell, the Seaside 10 is longstanding running event in Ocean City that consists of 10-mile, 5K and one-mile runs that result in a positive economic impact from lodging, food and beverage, recreation and other incidental expenditures related to the event.
The cost to the Town of Ocean City to support the event is approximately $11,000. About $3,000 of the cost is due to police assistance, but the majority of the costs are due to public works having to set up and remove the traffic pattern throughout an expansive area.
Councilwoman Margaret Pillas asked if Klebe had any ideas to reduce city costs. Klebe responded if the town approves event organizers can set out traffic cones along the course within town limits instead of city staff having to do so. OC TriRunning already receives permission from the State Highway Administration to set out cones from Assateague down Route 611 and up to Ocean City for another event. Another idea was to change the race route to cover a smaller amount of space.
Klebe agreed to further investigate ways to reduce city costs for the Seaside 10 events in the future. The council voted unanimously to grant another three-year event approval.

Parking Regs To Be Amended
The Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on Sept. 4 to consider staff recommendations in amending the Town of Ocean City’s required parking regulations. The commission voted to pass a favorable recommendation to the Mayor and City Council to have the code amended.
This week the Mayor and City Council considered amending Article V of the Code related to Parking Regulations to determine how to calculate required parking in shopping centers, shopping plazas, retail stores, personal service establishments and convenience food stores greater than 5,000 square feet of gross floor area.
According to Zoning Analyst Kay Stroud, by way of clarification, the code amendment specifies that the first 25 percent of the gross square feet occupied by establishments for consumption of food or beverage on or off the premises provide parking at one space per 225 square feet of gross floor area; whereas the same uses would create a higher demand if over 25-percent of total gross square feet and be calculated at one space per 100 square feet of gross floor area, which is the way the current code is written.
The council voted 5-0 with Ashley and Pillas abstained to approve the commission’s finding of facts and move the amendment to first reading.

Budget Amendment OK’d
The second reading of Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Amendment #2 reached the council this week that recognizes additional revenue from Income Tax, Admissions Tax, Room Tax and Cable TV Franchise to reduce the amount needed from fund balance for the fiscal year. In addition, the amendment adjusts other revenue and expense line items for fiscal year FY 13.
According to Budget Manager Jennie Knapp, the amount taken from prior year reserves, or fund balance, decreases $827,570 from $3,809,250 approved in Budget Amendment #1 for FY13. The total amount to be taken from prior year reserves in the budget ordinance is $2,981,680 for FY 13.
The council voted 6-0 with Councilman Dennis Dare out of the room to approve the amendment.

Bond Ordinance Approved
The second reading for the sale of bonds to finance the Convention Center auditorium and other capital projects came before the Mayor and Council this week. The ordinance reflected an amendment the council approved last week to have the bonds amortized over 10 years versus 20 years.
Finance Administrator Martha Bennett explained at that time the convention center portion of the bonds is $8,470,000 million to build a new performing arts center and is being amortized over 10 years.
In Bennett’s and town financial advisor Davenport’s opinion, the $4.23 million for remaining projects of a roof for the Public Safety Building, a roof for the Service Center Building, a new Beach Patrol headquarters, and an effluent disinfection system at the Wastewater Treatment Plant can also be amortized over 10 years.
Davenport estimates rates for years one through 10 of 2 to 4 percent and a rate of 5 percent for years 11 through 20. The total General Fund debt service will remain below the 2014 amount, but change in amortization increases the General Fund annual debt service from $118,000 to $124,000 annually for 10 years. When the bonds are paid off, the debt service is $225,000 less per year. This decreases the total General Fund interest to $1,039,532 and wastewater fund interest decreases to $471,540.
The council voted unanimously to approve the bond ordinance as amended and proceed with the bond sale schedule for financing of construction in conjunction with State of Maryland legislation for the convention center auditorium project.