Fenwick Reviewing Agreements For Guards, Ambulances

Fenwick Reviewing Agreements For Guards, Ambulances

FENWICK ISLAND – Officials say they are reviewing a contract to provide lifeguard services on the unincorporated beaches of Fenwick Island.

During last week’s Fenwick Island Town Council meeting, Councilwoman Natalie Magdeburger announced the town’s plans to renew a professional services agreement with the state of Delaware.

“The state has continued to ask us to take over the unincorporated part of Fenwick Island, so we are working with them,” she said. “The contract that we had had in the past has expired.”

Magdeburger explained the town receives compensation to guard the unincorporated beach each season. She noted, however, that the town was losing money on the service agreement.

“The proposals we have back to the state – we’re in negotiations – did have an increase in the total revenue we are expecting back to break even,” she said. “We’re not looking to make money on it, but certainly we don’t need to put lifeguards on the beach at taxpayers’ expense when that’s not Fenwick beach.”

The contract would also result in a pay increase for Fenwick Island lifeguards, Magdeburger said.

“They also raised their hourly rate for their lifeguards on state beaches to $17.25 …,” she said. “We can’t have some guards taking care of the state beach and other guards being paid less for taking care of our beach, so we have to make sure everything is equitable. We raised the rate to $17.25, which is about a $1 increase per hour.”

Officials last week also discussed plans for renewing an ambulance service agreement with the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company.

“Years ago, the Town of Fenwick Island entered into a contract with Fenwick Island, South Bethany, Bethany and Sea Colony for ambulance service with Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Department,” said Town Manager Pat Schuchman. “It was brought to our attention that the contract would be renewed again in 2024, and they just wanted to start having discussions with all the municipalities and communities about an increase in the ambulance service fee, which is $53. It’s attached to your tax bill and everyone pays it.”

Magdeburger, however, said she wanted the town to consider the current agreement.

“Initially, they really relied on the local towns to financially support them, but I think they are getting more and more Sussex County and state funding. It’s a wider network now …,” she said. “I think times have changed since this was first initiated, and I think we need to get a better handle on it.”

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.