10 Things City Council Decided on Thursday
Hurricane recovery expenses, road improvements and more.
City Council passed a resolution on Thursday opposing the Senate bill that would force towns to pay for post-hurricane beach replenishment projects by providing free beach access to the public.
But here are 10 other actions from Thursday's meeting at the Ocean City Free Public Library that might be of interest (see attached PDF for agenda and supporting documents).
1. SCHILLING ESTATE LOTS
City Council met in executive session to discuss a potential fight against plans to build a luxury home on undeveloped land along the Ocean City Boardwalk between 19th and 20th streets. No word yet on what was discussed.
2. SANDY REPAIRS
Council unanimously authorized $2.4 million in spending and $2.3 million in borrowing for repairs and improvements related to Superstorm Sandy damage— including beach replenishment, boardwalk repairs and public building repairs (Ocean City Music Pier, 46th Street Fire House, Ocean City Beach Patrol zone headquarters and the Ocean City Community Center among them). The city is seeking reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for storm damage.
3. SANDY EXPENSES
City Council voted retroactively to authorize $3,625,000 in extraordinary expenses related to the Superstorm Sandy cleanup. The spending included $1.5 million for an outside contractor to bring in 80 pieces of equipment to assist in debris removal, $600,000 to dispose of the debris at the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority facilities and fees for outside companies to assist in removing sand from the streets. The city expects the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse at least 75 percent of the expenses, but the city will likely borrow to pay for the work before reimbursements are received.
4. WAIVING PERMIT FEES
City Council unanimously approved the final reading of an ordinance that waives permit and zoning fees for repairs related to Sandy. The fees would be waived through May 24, 2013.
5. ROAD IMPROVEMENTS
City Council voted on a resolution to advertise for bids to improve the following roads:
- Seventh Street (from West Avenue to the Boardwalk)
- Eighth Street (from West Avenue to Atlantic Avenue)
- 11th Street (from Central Avenue to the Boardwalk)
- Pennlyn Place (entire length)
- West Avenue (from Eighth Street to Ninth Street).
6. HOUSING AUTHORITY REPAIRS AT PECK'S BEACH VILLAGE
City Council voted to spend $2.2 million in money it has collected (through development fees) for affordable housing to reconstruct and rehabilitate the empty federal Housing Authority units at Peck's Beach Village (damaged by Sandy). Residents have been displaced since the Oct. 29 storm, and "the hope of the mayor is that these people will be returned quickly to their homes," City Solicitor Dottie McCrosson said. Under a threat by the state Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) to use the money or lose it, the city is working with the state to get approval for the plan.
7. BELLEVUE HOTEL PROPERTY
The city administration pulled a resolution that would have asked City Council to agree to put a lien on the vacant property where the Bellevue Hotel stood at Eighth Street and Ocean Avenue. The city hopes to recover the $328,000 it spent to demolish and dispose of the condemned century hotel. The city will seek reimbursement for the costs of fighting a major fire there in a separate insurance claim.
8. COMMITTEE REAPPOINTMENTS
Council approved the following committee reappointments:
- Frederick Marcell to the Ocean City Library Board of Trustees
- Dennis Swan to the Ocean City Lifeguard Pension Commission
- John D. Dower as a member to the Local Assistance Board
- Peter Probasco and Richard Menham to the Shade Tree Committee.
9. COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS
Council met executive session to discuss new appointments to the Ethics Board, Housing Authority, Utility Advisory Commission and Zoning Board. They did not mention any decisions in public session.
10. BEACH TAG MANUFACTURE
City Council approved a contract between the City of Ocean City and the Jersey Cape Diagnostic, Training & Opportunity Center, Inc. for the manufacture and supply of beach tags for 2013.