(Jan. 10, 2020) The Ocean City Council gave its final approval Monday for a general obligation municipal purpose and refunding bonds of 2020 not to exceed $17.3 million, as well as the refinancing of two outstanding debts.
The ordinance allows the city to issue and sell bonds for water and wastewater projects, specifically a $4.25 million secondary water filter project, a $1.95 million four-pronged water treatment facility project and a $1.1 million purchase of the Sandpiper property on 67th Street.
The $4.25 million water clarifier project at the 64th Street wastewater facility has been five years in the making, Ocean City wastewater superintendent Randy Bradford said.
“They [water tanks] were originally built in 1981 and they’re on the verge of needing some pretty costly repairs as far as painting and replacement some of the inlet and return sludge piping,” Bradford said. “We decided to go ahead and upgrade the tanks to make them last a few more years.”
Currently, the 64th Street tanks use a square design and parts of the tanks, such as the swing arms, are malfunctioning. The department will replace the squares with more modern circular tanks, which are more streamlined and free of unnecessary attachments, Bradford said.
Outdated and obsolete technology seems to be the theme for the water and wastewater facilties, as seen by the allocation of $1.95 million for technology replacement at the Gorman Avenue, 44th Street and 14th Street water treatment facilities.
On Dec. 16, Public Works Director Hal Adkins brought the project before the council, and explained how the facilities were built in the 1960s and 1970s, and had not been updated since.
Because of how old the technology was, Adkins said his department could not find the necessary components for repairs, and would completely replace the technology.
As for the $1.1 million Sandpiper property, it, alongside the 67th Street gym and the old VFW building, are what Adkins called puzzle pieces the city has put in place for the development of a new water treatment facility, which will replace the 44th Street plant.
The 44th Street water plant will be turned into a municipal parking lot.
Per the recommendations of city financial advisors, Wye River, the city will also refinance two of its debts.
The first involves the $1.28 million the city borrowed to buy Jeeps and trams. Refinancing this debt will save the city $12,500 annually, and $125,000 total by 2029.
The second loan to be refinanced is a general obligation bond from 2010 at $8.05 million. This move will save the city $71,000 annually, and almost $1 million over the next 12 years.