OCEAN CITY — Resort officials this week doubled down on the lowest bid for canal dredging since the inception of the program and approved funding for two years of projects.
Last year, the Mayor and Council approved funding for the resort’s ongoing residential canal dredging program when the smallest bid came in at the lowest per-cubic-yard cost since the beginning of the program. The bids for three canals last year, which included one south of Teal Drive in the 14th Street area, another near Peach Tree Street and 136th Street and a third near Laurel Road and 141st Street, came in at a unit price of just $35 per cubic yard.
The low bid allowed the Mayor and Council to approve the three proposed canal projects well under the budgeted cost of $300,000 for last fiscal year and opened the possibility of piggybacking other canal projects on the low-cost bid.
However, City Engineer Terry McGean, who oversees the canal dredging program, told the Mayor and Council this week the three projects in last year’s phase did not get done because of a permitting snafu. Instead, McGean was back during Tuesday’s work session seeking approval to add three new canal dredging projects to last year’s list to be completed in the current fiscal year under the same low-bid contract.
“The successful bidder came in with the lowest cubic yard price in history,” he said. “The bad news is, we were unable to do any of those projects last year because we ran into some permitting issues. The good news is, the contractor has agreed to hold that price, so we’re asking to do two years of dredging in one year.”
The three canals proposed for dredging this year include two in the Jamestown Road area and a third in the area of 139th Street and Loop Road, bringing the total number slated for this year to six. Even at six canals in a single year, the total cost of the project comes in at $296,5000, or under the budgeted $300,000 for a single year.
Sweetening the windfall further, McGean explained the $296,500 cost of the project includes both public and private canals. The town is responsible for maintaining the depth of the canals in public areas, but private property owners are allowed to piggyback on the contractor’s price to do their own canal work at their own cost.
As a result, the actual cost of the public portion of the current contract funded by the town is around $212,000 or well under the $300,000 that was budgeted. The remaining balance will be reimbursed by the private property owners participating in the current phase. The permits are now in place and the six canals are expected to be completed by next April.