Ocean City Today
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County Briefs 05/04/2018

By Brian Gilliland | May 03, 2018

(May 4, 2018) The Worcester County Commissioners also discussed the following issues during their regular meeting on Tuesday in Snow Hill:

USDA funding

Worcester County entered into an agreement for $250,000 with the United States Department of Agriculture to pay for piping connections that would have exhausted all of the contingency funds for the project otherwise.

The money is divided into grant and loan portions, with the county borrowing $163,000 at 3.125 percent interest over 40 years, and the remaining $87,000 in grant funding.

Commissioner Chip Bertino asked if a plan to borrow the additional money from the county’s general fund would be more advantageous with regards to interest, but it was explained that obtaining the loan and grant would be more advantageous to taxpayers.

Bertino and Commissioner Jim Bunting voted against the plan, which carried 5-2.

Shelter grants

Instead of appealing to Worcester County, this year the area’s two homeless shelters — Diakonia in West Ocean City and Samaritan Shelter in Pocomoke City — will go through the Lower Shore Continuum of Care organization in Somerset to obtain grant funding.

The county had previously handled the requests. The Lower Shore Continuum of Care now handled requests from Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties.

To make their annual application, the organizations needed to provide estimated funding amounts to the organization, which hasn’t been determined yet.

The commissioners agreed to provide the shelters’ current funding requests — $55,000 for Diakonia and $30,000 for Samaritan Shelter to the organization.

Jury room renovations

Bids to renovate the restrooms and assembly rooms for Worcester County juries in circuit court were more expensive than anticipated, so the commissioners rejected all the bids and scheduled to revisit the issue in June.

Public Works Director John Tustin said high labor costs in enhanced security areas, courthouse noise restrictions limiting available hours and architect-specified construction materials are to blame for the inflated costs.

Tustin recommended allowing his department to break the tasks into more manageable jobs to possibly get a better deal, which was accepted by the commissioners.

Critical area grant

Applications for a recurring grant that helps defray, but not cover, the costs of running the Atlantic and Coastal Bays critical area programs were approved unanimously by the county on Tuesday, allowing the programs to continue.

The grant amount is $13,000, and represents only a small portion of the costs incurred, Bob Mitchell, director of environmental programs, said.

However, the county has received the grant in the past and uses the money to maintain the critical areas, so the commissioners approved the application.

Public Landing radio

The county approved the installation of a device at Public Landing that would allow the government to seize the citizen’s band frequencies when needed “for air and sea operations.”

When engaged, devices like this one moves commercial users to a different part of the band, and are being installed along the U.S. coastline at 20-25 mile intervals.

The county will receive $1,150 in annual revenue from renting the roof space for the device.

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