OC Bid Savings Eyed For Fire Hydrant Work

OCEAN CITY — Fire hydrants throughout the resort will be getting a much-needed facelift in the near future after the town’s combined bids for a pair of other water-related projects came in under budget.

The Mayor and Council had before them on Monday multi-faceted bid recommendations for a handful of projects including the repainting of the water tower at 41st Street and improvements to many of the well-houses around the resort. Public Works Director Hal Adkins explained the repainting of the water tower on 41st Street was budgeted for $300,000, but the low bid came in at a little over $166,000.

Conversely, improvements to the many well-houses throughout Ocean City were budgeted for $120,000, but the low bid actually came in closer to $220,000. As a result, with the low bid for the water tower painting coming in much lower than expected, and the well-house improvement coming in considerably higher than what was budgeted for, the total combined bid package for the two related projects came in a little under $32,000 on the plus side.

“We were thrown a little bit of a curveball with the low bids,” said Adkins. “The tower painting was under and the well houses were over, and the result of the two bids combined is $31,882 to the good.”

Adkins suggested the extra funding could be applied to a long-awaited repainting of the hundreds of the fire hydrants throughout Ocean City. The majority of the town’s 850 fire hydrants need to be power-tooled and repainted.

Adkins explained they could all be rehabilitated and repainted for around $36,000, or roughly $6,300 more than the excess funds for the water tower and well-house projects. He said he could find the additional appropriation in the water fund balance.

“Could we maybe leave some of them out?” asked Councilman Wayne Hartman. “Maybe not all of them need to be done. I would like to see us do just the ones that really need it.”

Adkins said it was possible some hydrants needed more attention than others, but choosing which ones to do first could be challenging and it made more sense economically do repaint each of them under the same low bid.

“I guess we could analyze each and see which ones need to be done sooner rather than later,” he said. “It’s a little subjective though.”

Councilmember Mary Knight agreed all of the hydrants should be repainted at the same time.

“I would rather see you do all of them,” she said. “I would hate to see you come back next year and the year after that seeking more money to paint hydrants.”

After some debate, the council voted to approve the low bids for the water tower repainting and the well-house improvements and apply the savings to the hydrants.