Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY – A number of items returned before the Mayor and City Council during Monday evening’s legislative session to be moved forward, including revisions to the Reserve Police Officer Program, an MOU between the city and county regarding Eagles Landing, a budget amendment and changes to private event permit fees and banner fees.

Reserve Police Officer

Program Revised

The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to approve the revision to General Order 100 P-1: Reserve Police Officer Program with Mayor Rick Meehan’s concurrence.

According to Police Chief Ross Buzzuro, General Order 100 P-1 currently outlines the Reserve Police Officer Program. The program was adopted to utilize recently retired Ocean City police officers in a part-time capacity. The program has been successful, allowing full-time police officers to address day-to-day law enforcement activities while the reserve police officers are used as a support staff in Training & Recruiting, Criminal Investigation, Arrest and Detention, and Taxi Cab regulation enforcement.

Buzzuro furthered the department is proposing that the program now include Maryland certified retired police officers in good standing from other Maryland law enforcement agencies. This will allow for the expansion of the program in the future, capitalizing on the vast experience a retired officer would bring to supplement service needs of the department seasonally.

The chief concluded there would be no fiscal impact in FY 2015. Should the department elect to expand the number of reserve police officers in the program, future proposals will be presented via the budget process in FY 2016.

City, Council Accord

On Eagle’s Landing OK’d

The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance in its second and final reading to approve the ratification of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Worcester County Commissioners regarding the Eagle’s Landing Golf Course spray irrigation system and easement grant.

According to City Manager David Recor, the Mayor, City Council and Worcester County Commissioners have reached an agreement, documented in a MOU, to work together on the construction of new spray irrigation system at Eagle’s Landing Golf Course.

This system will allow the treated wastewater effluent from the new Mystic Harbour Wastewater Treatment Facility to be stored and spray irrigated on golf course lands.

The MOU benefits the city by providing a new irrigation system for Eagles Landing Golf Course and benefits the county by providing an environmentally beneficial means for effluent reuse.

The financial impact for the city in capital improvements, credit for equity and future capital charges and compensation for 40 years of EDU charges is a benefit valued over $2 million.

Budget Amendment Passed

The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance to adopt the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) Budget Amendment #2 in its first reading as the fiscal year comes to a close.

According to Budget Manager Jennie Knapp, although not all FY14 revenue and expenditures have been recorded, enough information is available to present Budget Amendment #2.

The amendment recognizes bond funds from the 2013 bond issue funding the beach patrol headquarters, roof replacements at the city garage and Public Safety Building and the Performing Arts Center at the Convention Center.

In addition, grant funds and donations received since Budget Amendment #1 are included. Items funded by the Mayor and Council since Budget Amendment #1, such as replacement of the jail security system at the Public Safety Building, are included as well.

The amount taken from prior year reserves, also known as fund balance, decreases $24,760 from $2,385,417 in Budget Amendment #1 to $2,360,657. Fund balance remains at or above the 15 percent of annual expenditures policy target, and it is anticipated that less than $2,360,657 will be taken from prior year reserves at the fiscal year end.

FY14 Budget Amendment #2 will come before the Mayor and City Council in its second and final reading on Monday, Aug. 18.

Private Event Permit

Fees To Increase

Last week Private Events Superintendent Frank Miller came before the Mayor and City Council to explain the town’s private event fees have been found to be too low in comparison to other resorts, especially since the number of private events has increased exponentially. Primary concern resided around the cost of space usage being low in comparison to field book fees set by the Recreation and Parks Department.

In reviewing costs, it was also noted that many annual private event applications are for nonprofit entities, and the basic fees for those events simply do not have enough value. The desire to “support” local non-profit organizations is viable and a new approach to achieve that objective needs to be formulated.

The resolution states, “Private Event Permit Fees apply to all applicants- for-profit and non-profit; General Private Event Application Fee $100; Late Submission Fee if Application is received within 90 days of event $100; Change Fee $50; Damage/Repair Bond $250; Concession Fee $75; Public Property Usage Fee $250 applies per venue/per block/per day as the premium fee from March 16th through October 31st annually; Public Property Usage Fee $15 applies per venue/per block/per day as the basic fee from November 1st through March 15th annually; and Three‐Year Approval Fee $300.”

It continues, “local non‐profit organizations whom maintain primary offices within Worcester County may be eligible for up to a 75% discount in application and space usage fees upon approval of Mayor and City Council.”

The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

Banner Fee Policy

Unanimously Approved

Also last week, Miller explained the existing banner policy was written for Baltimore Ave. and the Route 90 Bridge. The Baltimore Ave. banner opportunity was removed from the policy leaving the Route 90 location as the sole option. Two new locations, the Route 50 Bridge and Boardwalk poles, have been identified and used for varying lengths of time.

Miller furthered, Boardwalk pole banner locations were originally used by the Air Show in 2008 and are now requested by several entities. Historically, there was no charge for placement or removal but controls need to be considered. Originally identified by Public Works Director Hal Adkins as a usable pole banner location for the White Marlin Open, Route 50 Bridge poles were quickly utilized for the 2013 tall ship visit and the 2014 Air Show. The goal is to cover costs incurred by the Town and allow Public Works to recoup expenses related to the effort.

The resolution states, “the proposed fee structure is to cover primary costs related to banners following receipt of approvals from the Private Event Coordinator and the Mayor and City Council are Rt. 90 at Ocean City Tennis Center $150 per banner per placement with a maximum duration of two weeks; Rt. 50 Bridge $1,150 for placement of 14 banners with a maximum duration of two weeks; and the boardwalk $950 for placement of 36 banners at 18 pole locations with one or two banners per pole, and a maximum duration of one month.”

The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to approve the resolution.