$18M Bond Sale Eyed For Resort Infrastructure Projects

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City officials considered jumping back into the bond market this week, approving on first reading an $18 million bond sale for a handful of significant infrastructure improvements and upgrades.

The Mayor and Council on Monday approved on first reading an ordinance authorizing the sale of $18 million in general obligation municipal bonds. The intent is to utilize the $18 million bond sale to fund several major infrastructure projects over the long term, taking advantage of the resort’s solid bond rating and low interest rates.

Among the projects proposed for funding from the bond sale is $5.2 million for the construction of a new water tower at 1st Street, a project that broke ground just a few weeks ago. The plan is to eventually eliminate existing elevated water towers at 15th and Worcester streets and replace them with the single new water tower at 1st Street and St. Louis Ave.

Another project slated to be funded by the bond sale is a fourth secondary clarifier for the town’s wastewater department at an estimated cost of $5.4 million. The bond sale proceeds would also be used to fund the replacement of aging wastewater mains throughout the town, a project expected to cost around $6.1 million. Finally, some of the bond sale proceeds would be used to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant’s electrical system.

Mayor and Acting City Manager Rick Meehan said investing in the town’s infrastructure was responsible and selling municipal bonds at this time to fund the projects was appropriate.

“By maintaining our infrastructure, we’ve been able to maintain the quality of what we have,” he said. “That is why we have that solid bond rating and that came long before us when those who sat in these seats made those investments.”

Councilman Dennis Dare said there was an environmental element to most of the infrastructure upgrades and improvements anticipated to be paid for with the $18 million in general obligation bonds.

“That fourth clarifier for the wastewater department gives us a safety factor,” he said. “Just about everything in the wastewater department has a backup and we learned the lessons from Sandy. If these things don’t work, the outfall is in the ocean.”

In terms of replacing two downtown water towers with a new one at 1st Street, Dare said the project will actually improve capacity and efficiency.

“We’re being responsible in addressing these issues,” he said. “As for the water tower, we’re replacing two with one and it will reduce maintenance costs by half in the long run.”