Rehoboth Beach commissioners closed out 2020 with a brisk, hour-long meeting Dec. 18, during which they approved an ordinance changing city code related to public urination and also confirmed the beach concession contract for the next six years.
Beginning with the change in code, commissioners unanimously agreed to add a section specifically prohibiting urinating or defecating in public. As approved, this is a civil offense and violators will be fined $100.
Police Chief Keith Banks introduced the proposed ordinance during a commissioner workshop Dec. 7. At the time, he said people caught urinating or defecating in public were charged with disorderly conduct.
In an email Dec. 8, Banks said in the past three years there had been 27 disorderly conduct citations specifically related to public urination and defecation. He said a significant portion of the reason for the change is efficiency.
“The offender would not acquire a criminal charge, nor would they have to come back for court,” said Banks. “The offender would still have the right to request a trial if so desired. It would take the officer less time to process the complaint.”
Commissioners also agreed to change city code related to minors being caught with, or having consumed, alcohol. As changed, it’s now a civil violation with a $100 fine, instead of a criminal violation.
During the workshop, Banks said these fines aren’t meant to be revenue generators for the city. Instead, he said, they’re meant to be a wake-up call for the offender.
As for the beach concession issue, commissioners unanimously agreed to renew the city’s contract with Russell Catts Beach Service and Lynam Beach Service.
The new 6-year contract with Catts and Lynam, who have been providing the service to the city for years, begins in the 2021 season and runs for six years, through the 2026 season. The time period of each season has been defined as May 1 through Sept. 30.
The city will be paid roughly $192,000 the first year of the contract. There is a 2.5 percent increase every additional year of the contract, which means by 2026, Catts and Lynam will paying the city a little more than $217,000 annually for the service. Catts and Lynam have the option to terminate the contract at the end of the 2022 and 2024 seasons.
Under the contract, Catts and Lynam agreed to have 18 beach shacks, up from 16, with no advertising allowed on the side of the shacks. The contract calls for beach equipment be available for rent 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.
The Dec. 18 meeting was the last for Rehoboth commissioners in 2020.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Catts and Lynam will be paying the city.