The Ocean City Council on Monday awarded a dredging contact for the 64th Street boat ramp, approved financing details for the Boardwalk access control project and transferred funds within the Water Fund to pay for repairs.
The council awarded a dredging contract for the 64th Street Boat Ramp channel to Brittingham Construction & Landscape for $138,950. The project was budgeted not to exceed $200,000
City Engineer Terry McGean said three bids were received on Jan. 15, with Brittingham’s the lowest, for a project to be paid for by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
“The channel, while it serves the boat ramp, it actually is located off the canal between 66th and 67th Street,” he said. “What it does is go from … the mouth of that canal through the bay to open water.”
Previous efforts to dredge the boat ramp channel at 64th Street resulted in less than ideal results, McGean said.
“It gets you to what I’ll call a ‘deep hole,’ right offshore in the bay, but there’s no way then to get from that hole out to open water,” he said.
McGean said due to the existence of a marked channel that had filled in with sediment over the years, state dredging restrictions were lifted.
“Typically, you can’t get approval to dredge open bay like that, but because we had proof that channel was marked, we were able to get money from DNR and concurrence from MDE to dredge that channel,” he said.
The council approved proposed financing from Bank of America for the final phase of the Boardwalk Access Control Project, with the public safety initiative estimated to cost $2.5 million.
Finance Director Chuck Bireley said Wye River, the city’s financial advisors, solicited financing proposals from 14 banking institutions, received four bids, with Bank of America offering the lowest rate at 2.8261 percent.
“That is an excellent rate,” he said. “It was lower than I expected [and] it was lower than they expected.”
Bireley also said the Bank of America recommended structuring the financing as a lease transaction.
Councilman John Gehrig questioned the inclusion of details in the financing terms and conditions which states Bank of America reserves the right to modify pricing in the event of material changes in financial markets.
Bireley characterized the terminology as “bank speak,” and said contingent on council approval the terms would be locked.
“They’ve already agreed that as long as this motion passes tonight I can sign the paperwork and send it in tomorrow and we’re locked in at this rate,” he said. “So, there will be no changes.”
The council approved a request from City Manager Doug Miller and Public Works Director Hal Adkins to transfer $100,000 within the water fund for repairs at the Gorman Avenue Water Treatment Plant.
Miller told the council the unbudgeted expense would address a dozen vertical pressure filters that have aged and need to be replaced.
The parts are no longer manufactured, Miller said, which necessitates replacing the valves with more modern electrically actuated filter valves.
The project’s scope also includes replacing piping, pressure equipment, flow monitoring equipment, and control panels, which will ultimately allow connectivity between the Gorman Plant and 15th Street Plant.