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Ocean City

(April 16, 2021) The Ocean City Council discussed the following during the April 13 meeting:

Electrician licensing 

Council members unanimously approved of the way new legislation was written that allows electricians coming into Ocean City to work to either have a state or county license.

Previously, electricians were required to have a license from Worcester County, even if one was obtained from the state, to do electrical work in Ocean City.

Councilman Mark Paddack questioned why a trained and a master electrician certified by the state would have to have both licenses, suggesting it was redundant.

The first reading of the amended policy is scheduled to be read during the City Council meeting on Monday.

Residential noise policy

The council was presented with a revised policy that addresses noise violations in residential areas and consequences related to those violations in terms of whether or not a property owner can obtain the ability to rent their building or rooms the following year.

The proposed amendment states if a property is the source of noise pollution that results in three citations within a year, the council will have a hearing on whether to issue a rental license or business license to the property owner the following year.

Councilman Peter Buas asked if commercial properties could be added to the policy in terms of the three strikes, and Paddack questioned some of the language.

“The trouble I have are the three citations,” Paddack said, adding that the term should be changed to incidents because if someone has an incident, they are warned to correct their actions.

The council unanimously approved the revised legislation, which is scheduled for a first official reading during its next meeting on Monday.

Benefits solicitation

Twenty bids in response to an RFP issued by Ocean City, seeking a new provider of certain benefits were accepted during the council work session, and have been handed over to the human resources department staff for review.

The RFP sought a new provider for active and retired medical, pharmacy and vision insurance, health savings account, dependent care, and flexible spending account administration.

After receiving such a good response, council members asked to have other benefits put out to bid over the next year.

Hospital update

Officials from Atlantic General Hospital gave their annual report to council members, after surviving a tumultuous year that was plagued by regulations and concerns related to the covid-19 pandemic.

Hospital President and CEO Michael Franklin told the council that he and his staff are updating the five-year strategic plan, so it focuses on an environment that makes providing equitable access to everyone a top priority.

During the pandemic, he said, the Berlin hospital embraced telemedicine and the new plan will include new solutions for people to be able to call the hospital and its doctors to receive treatment over the phone.

Dr. Sally Dowling, the vice president of medical affairs, told the council that the hospital shifted to telemedicine on the fly because patients were afraid to go to the hospital.

“It’s just been a very, very different and stressful time,” she said.

On a positive note, she added that none of the staff at the hospital contracted covid-19, and that the hospital was one of the first to do convalescent plasma.

“We were able to provide timely, cutting-edge medical care to our patients,” Dowling added.

Hospital officials and staff were thanked by members of city council for taking care of the community, especially during the pandemic.

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