Ocean City Today

Beach equipment rentals bring bigger haul

By Greg Ellison | Jan 18, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison Ocean City raised more than $128,000 for beach equipment franchise rights at 13 locations in mid-town during an auction last month.

(Jan. 19, 2018) Renting umbrellas for summer shade remains profitable, judging by the more than $128,000 Ocean City government raised from auctioning off beach equipment franchise rights last month for 13 spots between 34th-78th streets. That represents a 25 percent increase over previous contracts.

City Clerk Diana Chavis said the winning bidders are awarded three-year contracts, which can be renewed one time for an annul fee 10 percent greater than the initial contract.

During the City Council meeting Tuesday, Chavis said the award of 18 beach rental spots between 28th-84th streets, which included a handful of contract renewals, raised more than $227,000 in annual fees.

There was one location, between 72nd-74th streets that failed to solicit a bid during the Dec. 6 auction, Chavis said.

The following week, Chavis sent an email to the four successful bidders requesting sealed bids for the remaining location, which she said yielded one response, from Patrick McLaughlin, who submitted a bid of $917.

“This would put him above 50 percent of all the spots, which is not allowed by [city] charter,” she said.

Councilman John Gehrig asked Chavis why the limitation existed.

“To give other people a chance,” she said. “They come up for renewal every three years.”

City Solicitor Guy Ayres said McLaughlin’s bid could be accepted once the code was amended.

“You can award the other ones tonight,” he said.

Following a motion by Gehrig, 12 of 13 first-term contracts were awarded, with the last spot contingent on the charter amendment.

Councilman Wayne Hartman said since the sealed bid submitted by McLaughlin was revealed, it should be given preference.

“If we do amend, it goes to that bidder,” he said.

Council President Lloyd Martin said the increased revenue is a sound fiscal indicator.

“It shows our beaches are still worth something,” he said.

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