Fenwick To Pursue Lifeguard Service Extension For State Line Beach

FENWICK ISLAND – Officials in Fenwick Island last week agreed to renew a contract to provide lifeguard services on State Line Beach.

Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to pursue an extension to its contract with the state for lifeguard services on a portion of beach from Atlantic Street to the Maryland-Delaware line.

“Our contract with the state of Delaware is expiring at the end of this year, and it’s up for revision and extension,” said Town Manager Terry Tieman. “We contacted the department. They are interested in extending it, and we’re also interested in extending it.”

Tieman told the council the town received $45,000 from the state, $15,000 from the county and money from other state contracts to offer lifeguard services at the unincorporated beach as part of the contract.

“That, in conjunction with other state contracts we receive revenue for, we get a total of $75,712,” she said. “Fortunately, that covers all but $8,473 in expenses.”

Tieman added that the contract would allow the town to be compensated for services it would provide anyway.

“A lot of the time when the beach wasn’t covered prior to us covering the beach, our guards would have to go down there anyway,” she said, “and we were spending lots of money to do that.”

Tieman said it would benefit the town to possibly renegotiate and renew the contract. Members of the town council agreed.

“Also, we do have residents that use that beach …,” Mayor Gene Langan said. “Even if we didn’t, you would still have to go down there. You wouldn’t let somebody drown.”

Councilwoman Vicki Carmean added that the contract ultimately benefitted taxpayers.

“Moneywise, for years we operated at a deficit,” she said. “Everybody kept saying ‘oh no, it’s not worth it.’ But it was a deficit and it came out of Fenwick Island residents’ pockets. With this arrangement, we can at least offset some of the costs.”

Carmean added that she would also like to see the town receive more money from the county.

“I think they should be approached also,” she said. “The population along Route 54 has increased tremendously over the years, and those people come up to those beaches … I think they should cough up a little bit more.”

Langan agreed, saying, “We are going to try, definitely.”

The council last Friday also agreed to revise a contract with Go Melvo to allow for a five-year extension. As part of the contract, the town will continue to receive $12,500 a year from the company to operate concessions at State Line Beach.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.