Ocean View council approves improvements to Melson building

Last month, the Town of Ocean View sought bids to alter the second floor of its Wallace A. Municipal Building. The work would include installing maglocks, card readers and door contacts for two new doors near the reception area, as well as the installation of a high-definition vandal dome camera outside of the elevator.

The Town received three bids, ranging from $64,262 to $81,800. The Town budgeted $40,000 for the project in its 2018-fiscal-year budget.

At the Town’s July 11 council meeting, Town Manager Dianne Vogel said Michael Baiocco of Kercher Engineering had reviewed the bids.

“When I go to the Kent County administration building, I have to go through a metal detector and put my personal belongings through scanners,” said Vogel. “You just don’t walk into a government building and walk around. That’s the way it has been for many, many years. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ — it’s a matter of when a disgruntled homeowner or a disgruntled ex-employee is going to come back…”

Vogel said the Town did not budget enough to complete the project.

“We did request bulletproof glass. The front of the façade of the second floor will look just like the front on the first floor. There will be two workstations with bulletproof glass on the second floor. No one can get beyond the elevator when they exit that second floor.

“That required additional locks, card readers and camera to see activity that occurs as someone comes off the elevator.”

Vogel said that, while the Town is over-budget on the project, she would recommend the council approve the work.

“I feel strongly that it needs to be done for the safety of all the employees.”

She suggested eliminating the budget item for replacing the bandstand in John West Park, noting it has been shored up and refurbished. She said the Town could use the $45,000 allocated for that project to complete the work at the municipal building.

“We need to move on this,” said Councilman Tom Maly.

The council voted unanimously to accept EDiS Company’s $64,262 bid, with the inclusion of Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader’s recommended changes to the bid proposal.

Also on July 11, the council held the first reading of an ordinance amending its Land Use & Development Code, by adding “Wildlife Education Centers” as special exceptions in General Business GB-1 and GB-2 districts.

Only Gabriel Ligon, co-owner of wildlife education center Barn Hill Preserve, spoke regarding the ordinance. Barn Hill has two branches — Delaware and Louisiana — which together educate approximately 800,000 kids each year in public and private schools across the U.S. Ligon said they visit schools at no charge; they make their money through item sales.

“The facility we want to create here will be very low-key,” he said. “We are already licensed by the federal government and the State of Delaware, the USDA APHIS to exhibit animals.”

Councilman Bill Olsen asked Ligon if he knew of any other facilities like Barn Hill in Delaware.

“There’s really not,” he said. “I think this would be something very unique and an asset to the area.”

A second reading of the proposed ordinance is scheduled for the September council meeting.

In other Town news:

• The Town will not hold meetings in the month of August. The next town council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m.

• During public comment, resident Chris Dominic asked what the Town receives, other than money, from its franchise agreement with Mediacom.

Mayor Walter Curran said that money was all the Town received and that the contract is non-exclusive.

“Anybody can come in and put in that type of equipment and run cable networks,” he said, noting that the Town has never restricted anyone from coming in. He pointed out that the cost of installing the infrastructure is likely the reason Mediacom is the only game in town as far as high-speed internet service.

• Councilman Frank Twardzik took a moment to thank Police Chief Ken McLaughlin for his dedication to training his staff. Twardzik’s wife, Colleen, had a medical emergency while the two were driving near the police station, where they then pulled in. Officers Troy Bowden, Brian Casselli, followed by McLaughlin, ran to their vehicle and began giving her medical attention.

“In my mind, [they] brought my wife back to life,” he said. “I’d like to publically thank Chief McLaughlin and Troy and Brian for their efforts, because without you my wife would not be sitting in this audience. So, I just want to say, ‘Thank you.’”