(Jan. 25, 2019) The Ocean City Council approved a $2.5 million revenue bond sale ordinance for the Boardwalk barricade project and roughly $82,00 to rebuild the racquetball court at Gorman Park, 136th Street bayside, during its meeting on Tuesday.
Boardwalk barrier project
The council held a second reading and final passage for a $2.5 million revenue bond sale to complete the second phase of the Boardwalk barricade project.
Last year, temporary measures were erected at the inlet parking lot and at 26 access points along the 2.9-mile Boardwalk.
In total, the work is estimated to cost $2,454,500, with construction slated for completion this May. The bond also includes $45,500 to cover the cost of issuance.
Councilman Mark Paddack, while acknowledging the negotiations occurred prior to his elected term, asked if consideration was given to using reserve funds to reduce the bond debt level. Councilman Tony DeLuca noted Finance Director Chuck Bireley had cautioned against tapping into the unassigned fund balance.
City Manager Doug Miller concurred with DeLuca’s assessment, while noting the town’s strategic plan envisions swelling the reserves.
“The rates are so good right now and we also want to up our reserves,” he said. “The combination of those two factors influenced us to borrow the money.”
The council voted 4-0 to approve the ordinance authorizing the bond sale, with Council President Lloyd Martin, Councilman Dennis Dare and Councilman John Gehrig absent.
Gorman Park racquetball
The council also approved a request from Director of Recreation and Parks Susan Petito to transfer $82,000 from the project fund balance to cover racquetball court rebuilding costs, as part of a renovation project at Gorman Park in North Ocean City.
During a Recreation and Parks Committee meeting last Tuesday, City Engineer Terry McGean provided an update on Gorman Park improvements he said would be financed through grant funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
McGean said after re-bidding the racquetball court project several times, the best quote was considerably above estimates, at roughly $82,000.
Additionally, McGean said other park-related improvements, including the pickleball court, fencing and drainage, also exceeded initial estimates and consumed the remaining grant funding.
Petito told the committee if the town opts against replacing the previous racquetball court, which was already demolished, not fulfilling the grant obligation with natural resources could jeopardize future grant requests.
Furthermore, Petito told the committee there was sufficient unused funding from a project fund balance earmarked for recreation to cover the court construction costs.
The Recreation and Parks Committee agreed to forward the recommendation for City Council approval this week.
On Tuesday, Councilwoman Mary Knight asked Petito what the unused balance was intended to fund.
“It’s leftover funds from a roof project and some of the other projects … earmarked for Recreation and Parks,” she said. “There is a balance in that account of $127,000.”
Councilman Matt James asked if the earlier associated projects had been completed.
Petito said they had, adding there are efforts to reduce the $82,000 price tag for the racquetball court.
“Terry is going to do some redesign to the racquetball court, so there won’t be as much block involved in the construction,” she said.
In response to an inquiry from Councilman Tony DeLuca, Petito noted there is a sense of urgency to commence the court construction.
“We want to get the project completed, certainly before the summer,” she said. “We do have another grant request out with DNR right now that I suspect will be held until we can get this project completed.”
The council voted 4-0 to approve the expenditure, with Council President Lloyd Martin, Councilman Dennis Dare and Councilman John Gehrig absent.