BRIGANTINE — Mayor Phil Guenther swore in officers Kenneth Panas and Julianna Rote to the Police Department at City Council's meeting April 4.

Acting Chief Thomas Rehill spoke about the officers’ careers before they were sworn in.

Panas was first hired as a class one officer in 2009, promoted to class two in 2015 and was hired full time last year.

“He will will be a welcomed addition to the department,” Rehill said.

After graduating from West Chester University with a criminal justice degree, Rote worked as a Brigantine dispatcher. In 2015, she worked as full time officer for the city of Philadelphia and was hired to Brigantine in 2017.

“We are so proud of both of these officers. They’ve already demonstrated a commitment to law enforcement, a commitment to serving others. We’re very confident that both of them will do an extraordinary job here in Brigantine,” Guenther said.

Prior to the ceremony, Councilman Vince Sera asked for a moment of silence for former Brigantine commissioner John Daniels, who died last month. He also observed a moment of silence to remember the 50 years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In other business, council passed resolutions authorizing the purchase of two beach vehicles for the beach patrol and a new loader for the Public Works Department, both through National Joint Powers Alliance.

The city also passed two resolutions requesting the Planning Board determine whether the city can be designated as an “Area in Need of Rehabilitation.”

A consultant for the city, Jim Ruatula, said at the meeting that this designation was previously seen as a “bad word,” but reported that municipalities such as Egg Harbor Township have used the classification to create redevelopment in the community.

Guenther said this would allow the city to give potential businesses tax abatements.

“This would give us a lot more flexibility in terms of trying to have, especially commercial, developments come on to the island,” Guenther said. “It’s just another tool that other communities are doing. They’re offering these incentives, so obviously we need to make sure we’re competitive as well.”

Councilman Rick DeLucry asked if this would also open up the city for more funding opportunities, but Ruatuala reported that the designation allows for five years of tax abatements.

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