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Five Things to Know From Thursday's Council Meeting

Delays on municipal budget and zoning ordinance, appointments, Music Pier investment and a divide on split rails.

City Council had a full agenda for its public meeting 7 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 23) at the Ocean City Free Public Library. But here are five things from the meeting that might be of special interest.

  • 2014 MUNICIPAL BUDGET INTRODUCTION DELAYED: A planned introduction of the draft 2014 municipal budget was postponed by two weeks. Mayor Jay Gillian's administration had hoped to bring the budget to City Council earlier than usual this year, but Finance Director Frank Donato is still waiting on numbers. The city's response to this week's snowstorm also took time away from final preparations, Mayor Jay Gillian said. The introduction is the first step in a process that leads to the final approval of a budget in the spring.
  • ZONING RELIEF POSTPONED: City Council also was scheduled to consider another in a series of revised zoning ordinances designed to make it easier for residents to build and rebuild after Superstorm Sandy. See the City Council Agenda Packet for more detail on all the proposed revisions. But the introduction of this ordinance was postponed with City Council members waiting on answers to various questions about what is being proposed.
  • MUSIC PIER HEATING AND COOLING: City Council approved a $183,000 contract with Air Control Technology of West Berlin to replace the HVAC system on the Ocean City Music Pier. Because outdoor units are subject to salt air, they have a shorter life span. But a special treatment is expected to give them a longer life.
  • APPOINTMENTS: City Council voted to appoint Holly Buck and Rosalyn Lifshin to the Tourist Development Commission; Dustin Peters and Constance Pritchard to the Library Board of Trustees; and to reappoint Jack Brooks to the Ocean City Lifeguard Pension Commission. In public comment, Sharon Capizzi-Walsh of the Pavilion Motor Lodge asked council in the future to consider appointing somebody from the hospitality industry to the Tourist Development Commission. (Pat Gallelli of the Tahiti Inn no longer serves.) She said all sectors of the tourist economy should be represented (Realtors, boardwalk merchants, downtown merchants, etc.). Ocean City Business Administrator Mike Dattilo later responded that the city is trying to formalize the process for all appointments, interview all applicants, and choose the candidates who provide the best fit at the time. "In terms of groups having representation, they all have five representatives," Dattilo said of the five-member commission.
  • DREDGING AND DUNE FENCES: Councilman Antwan McClellan reminded the administration that he had requested an update on the status of bayside dredging projects. Dattilo said one will be provided at the next meeting. On a separate topic in public comment, Ocean City resident Julie Baumgardner asked the administration to consider using standard dune fencing instead of the new split-rail fences now used at some beach entrances. She said the standard fences capture more sand to help rebuild dunes and prevent people from climbing onto the dunes. She also noted that the split rails can (and have) become projectiles in storms.
Julie Baumgardner January 24, 2014 at 10:41 AM
Thanks Doug for covering my brief public comment. As you know, I feel strongly about the protection and growth of the dunes. Let's hope it gains some traction.
vic January 24, 2014 at 03:24 PM
Julie, your comment makes total sense and see no reason why it should not be implemented. with the vision of the damage done by hurricane sandy still in my head, I cringe every time I see kids running on top of the dunes, and we should do everything possible to prevent this.

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