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Five Things to Know About Thursday's Council Agenda

Smoke-free parks, amended flood-map rules, a push to abolish lifeguard pensions, road improvements and reval for commercial properties.

City Council has a full agenda for its next public meeting 7 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 26) at the Ocean City Free Public Library (1735 Simpson Avenue), but here are five things that might be of special interest. See City Council's agenda packet for the full text of proposed ordinances and resolutions and supporting documentation.

  • Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance: City Council will consider the first reading of an ordinance that combines a flood damage prevention ordinance approved in April and one approved on first reading on Sept. 12. The changes let the city use the less restrictive FEMA flood maps released on Aug. 27 or the "best available flood hazard data" (as newer versions of the flood maps are approved). The maps determine required elevations for new or substantially reconstructed homes in Ocean City. The new ordinance incorporates Ocean City's requirements for residences to be constructed at base flood elevation plus two feet.
  • Smoke-Free Parks and Playgrounds: City Council will consider the second and potentially final reading of an ordinance that would ban the use of tobacco products at outdoor parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities in Ocean City. See some specific locations.
  • Doing Away With Lifeguard Pensions: City Council will vote on a resolution asking the state Assembly and Senate to abolish a requirement for the city to pay into a pension fund for Ocean City Beach Patrol Lifeguards. Currently, 28 retired lifeguards are being paid a collective $160,000 annually (an average $5,714 apiece). Working lifeguards contribute 4 percent of their salaries to the pension fund (an estimated $50,000 this year) and the city pays the rest. Lifeguards who serve 20 years (10 consecutively before retiring) and are at least 45 years old are eligible to receive pensions. The city proposes "grandfathering" existing retirees and lifeguards currently paying into the system.
  • Revaluation for Commercial Properties: City Council will vote to award a $46,134 contract to J. Ravitz Associates of Cape May Court House to revalue and appraise commercial properties in Ocean City. The contract is part of the city's multiyear "compliance plan" to revise assessed values on tax records to make them more in line with market values.
  • Road Improvements: City Council will vote to ask for bids on road and drainage improvements that includes: Stenton Place, Pelham Place, Arkansas Avenue, 1100 block of Simpson Avenue (east side) and 12th Street between Bay and Simpson avenues (south side). City Council also will vote to award a $1 million contract to Landberg Construction of Mays Landing for the following road projects: Asbury Avenue (39th to 42nd streets); 42nd Street (West to Central); 41st Street (paving from the meadows west of West Avenue to Asbury Avenue and drainage to Central Avenue); 40th Street (paving from West Avenue to Asbury Avenue and drainage to Central Avenue); 39th Street (from West Avenue to Central Avenue); 56th Street (from Central Avenue to the beach); 52nd Street (from Central Avenue to the beach); West 17th Street drainage improvements; West/Asbury alley (from 8th to 9th streets) and City Hall parking lot resurfacing.
Eric Sauder September 24, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Keep up the good work Doug. Its great that you publish the agenda packet. Its information we need to know.
Patches O'Houlihan September 25, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. Oh boy, sounds like fun. Listening to people complain about an ordinance(local) that makes people comply with another government hand out program(FEMA) to save themselves from themselves. More government is definitely the answer.
Matthew September 26, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Lifeguard pensions funded by city and guards that will never see it. I paid $40.00 plus every pay period for 28 retired members who were receiving a teachers pension on top of a beach patrol pension? Will I see retroactive pay for 10 years? Fat chance!
Eric Sauder September 26, 2013 at 05:19 AM
It would be interesting to have a discussion on exactly what the role of government should be. As for government liability for flooding FEMA no longer wants to underwrite flood insurance. Its being privatized. That's a win for you I suppose, Patches.
Eric Sauder September 26, 2013 at 05:30 AM
I see your point Matt but it was reported that current employees (and retirees) will be grandfathered in.
Patches O'Houlihan September 26, 2013 at 03:43 PM
If you think you have seen the last of disaster money paying for peoples poor judgement and encouraging more of the same you are mistaken. FEMA or under some other banner the government intervention will continue to encourage poor personal decisions and therefor inefficiencies in the housing and marketplace. Why should I build a responsible structure next to the Atlantic ocean, the government will help me if something happens to my property.
Greg Young September 27, 2013 at 09:19 AM
Why hasn't the sports-lighting been repaired behind the primary school. The youth football program (of which I am a part) has to practice in near darkness every night. The lights were damaged during the Hurricane and almost a year later they still have yet to be repaired. Cant we use some of the disaster money to fix the lights???

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