Racing event in West Ocean City sparks debate over funding among councilmembers

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Two requests to approve Tourism Advisory Board recommendations turned into a 90 minute discussion primarily on whether to fund a racing event in West Ocean City which is technically in unincorporated Worcester County.

The primary issue was how much Ocean City would actually financially benefit with the consensus that the event would fill up hotel rooms and spur activity in West OC and not in OC.

The point was also made that the council represents the municipality and not the county.

While Councilman John Gehrig ultimately voted with the council to approve the funding for the “Inflatable Race” only if it was able to be moved into OC, Gehrig was adamant that the City needs to change their attitude toward the county despite their long standing ‘Tax Differential’ fight and work with the county as partners not adversaries. He also went on to say that either the city is serious about sports tourism to help bring in more tax dollars or its not.

The Council also voted 5-0 to approve $18,000 for the rental of basketball courts for a tournament that will be held at the Convention Center. The Tournament will bring in an estimated 1400 persons. The event will now be consolidated to Ocean City as last year part of it was held in Snow Hill.

The Ocean City Council by a vote of 5-0 also approved out of their Fund Balance, a little over $600,000 to replace four underground fuel storage tanks which failed recently when tested. The Maryland Department of Environment has ordered them to be removed and replaced.

The failure was discovered as construction on the fuel depot is currently taking place as a part of a bigger improvement project to the Public Works area on 65th Street.