City Council will vote Thursday on a resolution to award a contract for a private company to operate a marina on public property at Second Street and Bay Avenue.
The vote will come just three days after an information session was held to answers questions and solicit feedback from neighbors and the public.
City Council's vote is scheduled during a 7 p.m. at on June 28. It is listed as part of the "consent agenda" for routine items that are considered in a batch, but it likely will be pulled for a separate discussion and vote.
The public information session was held Monday evening at the , and included Ocean City Community Services Director Jim Mallon and Ocean City Marina LLC principal Sean Scarborough answering questions about the proposal.
In recent (June 6) and (June 14), the city administration said the proposal is part of a plan to give the public more ways to use an underutilized public space overlooking the bay in Ocean City.
The city twice solicited bids for outside contractors willing to pay for capital improvements in exchange for the right to operate a marina. Ocean City Marina, LLC, was the only bidder each time.
Monday's information session outlined what the city would receive at no cost:
- A floating pier with a 60-foot ramp for disabled access.
- The pier would have a launch area for kayaks and paddleboards.
- The end of the pier would have an 8-by-38-foot floater for use as a public fishing pier day and night.
- The pier would include slips with disabled access and slips for personal watercraft.
- A restroom would be constructed on the upland portion of the property.
The private benefits would be:
- Two fixed piers (gated) that would accommodate 27 boat slips each equipped with a mechanical lift.
What Monday's session did not include was a copy of any proposed lease or contract between the City of Ocean City and Ocean City Marina, LLC.
Scarborough said the marina would rent slips for $4,200 to $6,300 per year. He said the lease would be structured so that revenue would go first to pay for the operation of the marina, then to pay for any of the city's annual costs associated with the property until the city breaks even. Any revenue beyond that would go to Ocean City Marina, LLC, according to Scarborough.
Scarborough would pay for all improvements to the property, including the public facilities.
Scarborough estimated the marina could bring in $70,000 in the first year and as much as $135,000 a few years later.
Scarborough and Mallon said a final lease does not exist. It remained unclear on Monday night what terms are in the "contract" City Council will consider on Thursday. Councilman Keith Hartzell said a copy was in the packet that council members had received earlier on Monday but that he had not had a chance to review it.
The city purchased the marina site in 2009 for $3 million with the help of $738,000 in state Green Acres preservation grants. The city then sold the property to Cape May County for $2,261,225 — in essence paying off the balance of the purchase price for the property.
The county made the purchase as part of its open space program, and the city leases the land from the county for $1 per year. The deal with Ocean City Marina, LLC, would in essence be a sublease.
Because Ocean City Marina, LLC would own no property, there would be no property taxes involved.