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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Rec. Center to be Solar Powered

SNOW HILL — Solar power may be coming to the Worcester County Recreation Center, thanks to a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) also known as the federal stimulus package.

County engineer Bill Bradshaw and Kim Johnson, county budget accountant on Tuesday presented the commissioners with a request for proposals (RFP) to get the work done. The initial scope of the project would provide 60-kilowatts of electricity production, primarily to run the facility’s boiler.

At the request of Commissioner Virgil Shockley, Bradshaw has already begun investigating whether the grant would pay for more photovoltaic power than it specified. Both men said they believed the size of the grant was well in excess of the 60-kilowat scope of the funding.

“It’s not 100 percent of the building,” Bradshaw said of the proposed upgrade. 

By seeking additional bids in 5-kilowatt increments, Bradshaw said the county may end up with well more energy production than 60-kilowatts, prompting Commissioner Louise Gulyas to suggest the excess generation be routed to the Worcester County Health Department, which is next door to the recreation complex. Something Bradshaw said wouldn’t work.

“They’re connected but they’re not directly connected,” he said of the buildings.

Additionally, Director of Parks and Recreation Sharon DeMar Reilly told the commissioners that since the grant was funneled through Project Open Space, the rules would not allow other state or county buildings to benefit directly.

“Any excess would flow from the rec center heater out,” Bradshaw said. Adding that that outflow would be used to reduce the Recreation Center’s electric bills.

After the commissioners approved the application and RFP, Bradshaw said, design and engineering hurdles aside, the system should be up and operational in 90 days.

In other business, the next phase of the service road slated to connect the Wal-Mart and Home Depot lots through to Seahawk Road was green-lighted, although the commissioners decided not to accept the lowest bid.

Phase 1B will connect the two box store parking lots with the still-under-construction Ocean Landings II retail park and exit to Route 50 from there. It is to be named after and dedicated to Samuel Bowen, a local National Guardsman killed while serving in Iraq.

After some debate about the technical merits, Merrill Lockfaw and Commissioner Jim Bunting convinced their fellow commissioners to vote contrary to Public Works Director John Tustin’s low bid recommendation.

Over the objection of Commissioner Judy Boggs, they elected to select the second lowest bid, Bunting and Murray Construction Company, of Selbyville, Del. over the recommended low bidder Dixie Construction Company of Georgetown, Del. The difference between the two bids was $2,000.

The commissioners on Tuesday also finalized the fee and penalty schedule for the Worcester County Health Department.

The compromise increases all fees that do not cover the cost of processing by 10 percent, reduces the maximum late fees from $500 to $300 and adds a processing cost of $10 to all fees not delivered 15 days before the due date.

The department will also revise its notification procedures, sending out notices 45 days in advance rather than 30.