OCEAN CITY – With a warning up front about what should be a tight budget year, the Ocean City Mayor and Council this week opened bids for millions of dollars in expenditures from new police department uniforms and sewer main replacements to a new fire truck and renovation of the Ocean City Lifesaving Station Museum.
Council work sessions typically include a number of bid opening for various projects and expenditures in the resort and this Tuesday was no different. What was remarkably different, however, was the wide range of expenditures for which bids were opened and the high dollar price tag on many of them.
While all agreed the various projects are necessary and warranted, not everybody was keen on the litany of bids presented for approval this week. Council Secretary Nancy Howard, who opens and reads the various bids to the council, warned her colleagues and the various department heads about curbing unnecessary expenditures.
“Everybody has to tighten their belts,” she said. “This is going to be a tough budget year and we all have to be careful.”
The Mayor and Council list the various projects and purchases in the budget and assign an estimated amount for them based on the predictions of the department heads. The projects and purchases are then put out for bid and several companies typically submit closed bids. In most cases, the low bid comes in under what was budgeted for, as was the case on Tuesday, but the sheer volume of the combined expenditures was somewhat eye opening.
For example, one of the bid openings was for new police and fire department uniforms to the tune of around $360,000. Next up was the purchase of a new fire engine for the fire department, the low bid for which came in at around $469,000.
Several others were related to public works projects. For example, the council approved a bid for a replacement of 2,200 linear feet of sewer main along Jamestown Rd. at an estimated $342,600. The largest expenditure for which bids were opened on Tuesday was for the installation of a water main along Wight Street from 135th Street to 145th Street for a around $722,000. Currently, a number of blocks in the section have water mains of just two inches and the project will make all of the eight inches in diameter.
Another significant expenditure included 10 locations for bay crossings for utilities. Public Works director Hal Adkins explained 10 were done last year and another 10 are expected to be done this year. The low bid came in at around $378,000.
Bids were also opened for the installation of brick pavers at 94th Street at around $33,000. In addition, bids were opened for the restoration of the Ocean City Life Saving Museum, the lowest of which came in at just over $62,000.