Ocean City Council voted Thursday night on an ordinance to lease property to the American Legion so it can build a bigger building. The property, which is located on the corner of West Ave. and 46th Street, will cost the American Legion $1 per year.
A second reading will take place during the July 24 meeting.
“There are many, many things that this American Legion Post does,” said Ocean City Councilman Keith Hartzell said, who was out of town, but joined the meeting by phone. “They need a place to call their own to continue to do the work they do for the people who serve, for the people whose family serves, as well people currently in.”
“Council and the Mayor are doing the right thing for veterans in this city,” said Post Commander Bob Marzulli. “It’s just going to give us the ability to do more and more things for veterans. We are involved in a lot of city projects.”
Marzulli and the rest of the American Legion members are excited about the prospect of having their own building. As of now, they lease a building from the county on Bay Ave. Marzulli said that he would like to see a new building up and ready to use by next summer if approval, design and construction are done in a timely manner.
Ocean City Councilman Peter Guinosso, a veteran and a member of the American Legion, recused himself from the vote and discussion at Thursday’s meeting.
Three other members of council are members of Sons of the American Legion, but still voted on the issue after getting a green light from Ocean City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson.
McCrosson said that there was no actual conflict of interest, and only an appearance of a conflict of interest.
“You have the opportunity to help those who (served) and keep the memory of your father alive,” said Hartzell, who is a member of the Sons of the American Legion. “That’s the key for me, to keep the memory of my father alive in the organization.”
Council also discussed the awarding of a contract for the reconstruction of the 29th Street Firehouse-Station #2. Originally part of the consent agenda, Guinosso removed the resolution in order to discuss the issue.
Guinosso questioned why the company with the lowest bid was not awarded the contract. Czar Construction won the bid despite being more costly.
Although more costly, Czar Construction was awarded the contract because it registered higher marks in the evaluation process. A group grades potential companies on five criteria.
All but Guinosso voted in favor of the resolution.
The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 24.