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Perryville commissioners approve proposal for boat ramp snack bar

Perryville town commissioners rejected a request from TowerCo for the right of refusal if a third party wants to buy the company's lease on town-owned property.
Perryville town commissioners rejected a request from TowerCo for the right of refusal if a third party wants to buy the company's lease on town-owned property. (Nicole Munchel | Record Staff, Homestead Publishing)

Local business owner Nelson Malbone's proposal to run a snack bar at the Perryville-owned boat ramp was approved by town commissioners during Tuesday's town hall meeting.

Malbone had proposed his idea, which was unsolicited, during December's commissioners work session, saying he would like to lease the property owned by the town at its boat ramp facility for a snack bar.

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The business would be open only on weekends from May until September and would be geared toward boaters.

If Malbone and the town sign an agreement, it would only be for a one-year trial and would pay $300 a month to rent the facility. Details of the agreement would be worked out between Malbone's and the town's attorneys.

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Commissioner Barbara Brown said this one-year trial would give the town information on whether it would be worth publicly bidding out the space to other business people. She added that many boaters have often wondered why a snack bar hasn't opened at that location, especially since the town already built the space at the boat ramp specifically for a concession stand-type business.

Commissioner Michael Dawson, who expressed his opposition to the proposal during the December work session, again called Malbone's proposal "a bad idea."

He asked the other commissioners and Mayor Jim Eberhardt if the space had been advertised to other businesses for leasing purposes.

Eberhardt reiterated that Malbone's proposal was unsolicited. He added that as he understands it, this is just for one year and is a good source to provide data on whether it would be worth it to for the town to bid out, if it chooses to do so.

There are a number of concession stands that operate out of park and public environments, he said.

"It's been done before," Eberhardt added.

"Government has no business getting involved in the free market process," Dawson said. He said the facility should be advertised or be available for use by nonprofit organizations, such as the American Legion or police outreach program.

Commissioner Michelle Linkey reiterated the comments about the information the deal would provide to the town on the facility's viability as a business location.

Rather than the town dedicating time and money into finding out if the boat ramp facility is worth publicly bidding out for business, Linkey said, Malbone's proposal would achieve that.

'It may not fly," she added.

Dawson then asked the commissioners not to support the proposal, calling it an "anti-business vote."

The proposal was approved, anyway, with only Dawson voting against.

TowerCo offer

The commissioners rejected an offer from communications company TowerCo, concerning town property.

The company owns a communications tower at 1232 Cedar Corner Road, a property it leases from the town.

TowerCo had sent an offer for $1,000, discussed during January's work session, to buy the right of refusal if a third party made an offer to buy that lease from the town.

The commissioners unanimously rejected the offer.

Budget amendment

A budget amendment recognizing the fiscal year 2012 Department of Natural Resources Debris Removal Grant for $8,000 was approved.

Funds had previously been budgeted for fiscal year 2012 — $2,000 — but the related expenses were not budgeted for and should be taken from the mayor and commissioner contingency budget.

Brown clarified that the town applies for the grant every year because of park trees near the river bank falling into the water after big storms. The town is responsible for removing the debris, she said.

Instead of the town covering the entire cost, the grant offsets the cost of debris removal. Brown went on to say that if the town doesn't use the full amount of the grant, it can carry it over to the next year. All the amendment recognizes is last year's "leftovers" of $6,000, she explained.

Another amendment for $2,850 was approved that transfers funds from the sewer fund supplies line item to sewer fund capital outlay to purchase and install a sludge meter.

Other business

The new town personnel manual was approved, with minor amendments that included changing language and bringing it up to date.

The town commissioners also approved a memorandum of understanding that memorializes the agreement between Port Deposit and Perryville to provide services during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 and the flooding that occurred as a result,

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