County, Shorebirds Amend Accord

SALISBURY – An amended lease agreement will allow the Delmarva Shorebirds team to waive the remainder of its amusement tax payment for the 2020 season.

Last week, the Wicomico County Council voted unanimously to amend a concessions agreement between the county and Delmarva Shorebirds team for the use of the Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury.

The amendment will waive the team’s $100,000 commitment for amusement tax payment for the 2020 season, and instead, have the county accept the $55,239 it had already collected for the year. The county will also reduce its $100,000 minimum to $44,761 in the 2021 season.

“The new minimum would become the difference of the $100,000 and the $55,239 that was already paid to Wicomico County,” Delmarva Shorebirds General Manager Chris Bitters told the council last month.

In return for the amended agreement, the Shorebirds team will waive its 2020 electric savings agreement and extend its concessions agreement with the county an additional year.

A vote on the concessions agreement comes less than a month after Bitters came before the council with the proposed amendment. He noted many Minor League teams were reevaluating their lease agreements with municipalities after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the 2020 season.

“Our goal is to make this request and still make the agreement whole essentially over a period of time,” he said.

After a public hearing last week, the council voted 7-0 to amend the concessions agreement.

The council last week also agreed to a five-year lease extension between the county and the Eastside Youth Sports Complex in Willards.

The lease, which began in 1999, expired last year. Recreation, Parks and Tourism Director Steve Miller told the council late last month the county was interested in renewing the contract another five years.

“From the county’s perspective, we hold a number of leases with volunteer groups and the Eastside is at the top of the list as far as the care and responsibility they take in the facility …,” he said at the time. “We feel they do an excellent job.”

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.