Dennis Dare

(Aug. 10, 2018) Hoping to be fiscally savvy, the Ocean City Council will reconsider the inclusion of three Ford Crown Victoria’s and a bus on the list of surplus property proposed for online auction at GovDeals.com.

City Attorney Heather Stansbury told the council on Monday the city has previously sold surplus vehicles and equipment at auction through govdeals.com, but Councilman Dennis Dare questioned the inclusion of a 2003 bus donated to the city from the Maryland Transportation Authority.

“That might be the one we got from the MTA with the understanding ... it doesn’t have the grant conditions on it,” he said. “We were able to use for it, for example, to take the police department to the firing range in Newark.”

Dare said the MTA usually includes stipulations to limit competition with private sector transportation when granting a bus to a municipality. 

“When we acquired bus, it was with the understanding that we would be able to … take city personnel someplace,” he said. “Do we have another vehicle we will be able to do that with?”

City Manager Doug Miller said a replacement bus is not on hand, which caused Dare to inquire why the motor coach was being put on the auction block.

Council President Lloyd Martin pointed out that the bus odometer has registered more than 420,000 miles.

“It’s twice as much as other buses we’re getting rid of,” he said.

In lieu of retaining the bus, Dare asked if alternative plans existed.

“If keeping this was an option, then we needed to do it,” he said. “If it’s got a transmission out that’s going to cost more than the bus is worth, then I understand that.”

Martin proposed adding the discussion to the Transportation Committee meeting next week.

“Having a bus was a great asset,” he said. “We need to try and figure out what a plan B would be.”

Dare also asked about using the Ford Crown Victorias for other purposes, including the “Choose Your Ride,” public safety campaign.

“[Councilman]Hartman brought up the concept of using a police car with a cab,” he said. “Would one of those three vehicles be one we would use to do that?”

Miller said an alternative source is being considered.

“We have several Crown Victoria’s being used for dummy cars in neighborhoods,” he said. “It was my thought one of those would be transformed into the Choose Your Ride vehicle.”

Councilman Tony DeLuca restated Martin’s earlier sentiment about further reviewing the vehicles being discussed.

“Can we pull the questionable ones off list and let the Transportation Committee review next Tuesday and they’ll either stay on the list or we keep them?” he said.

Miller said the bus and trio of cars would be examined in more detail before heading to the auction block.

Hartman said although the returns for items sold on the GovDeals website was substantial at first, many recent sales amounts seem below par.

“At some point we need to check and make sure we’re still doing the right thing,” he said. “There may be some equipment that would do better here locally.”

Martin said Procurement Manager Catrice Parsons would delve into the matter and return with financial estimates.  

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