• MARGATE – For the fourth year in a row, the tax rate for real property in Margate will remain unchanged. The Board of Commissioners introduced its 2015 municipal budget Feb. 19 with no increase in taxes.

    The $31.5 million budget calls for a tax rate of 60.1 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, the same as last year. The average homeowner with a house assessed at $516,007 will pay $3,101.20 in municipal taxes this year.

    Salaries, pensions and debt service are up slightly, but overall spending is down $124,843, according to Chief Financial Officer Lisa McLaughlin.

  • Lt. Frank CulmoneLONGPORT – At its Feb. 25 regular meeting, the Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to support Mayor Nicholas Russo’s recommendation of Lt. Frank Culmone as the next chief of police.

    Culmone will replace Police Chief Vincent Pacentrilli, who will retire April 1 after 29 years on the police force.

    Russo said Culmone has the two most important traits for a police officer – morals and ethics.

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday, Feb. 24 cancelled its bid solicitation to build sand dunes on the beaches of Margate and Longport.

    “Today, we notified the bidders that we are cancelling the solicitation,” said Steve Rochette, public affairs officer of the Army Corps Philadelphia District.

    The Army Corps had received two extensions to finalize the contract from two bidders vying for the job. The latest deadline to award the contract was Wednesday, Feb. 25.

  • MARGATE – A building boom in Margate should all but eliminate an increase in taxes this year, Chief Financial Officer Lisa McLaughlin reported at the Board of Commissioners work session on Feb. 5.

    It’s still under review, but a draft budget is complete and “I anticipate getting very close to a zero increase,” McLaughlin said.

    In her unaudited finance update, McLaughlin noted that the city increased ratables by more than $14 million, which brings the net taxable value of real estate in the city to $3,560,607,377.

  • VENTNOR – Ventnor Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association President Joe Iannuzzelli, backed by a dozen firefighters, attended the Board of Commissioners work session Wednesday, Feb. 11 at the Ventnor Educational Community Complex to ask whether a rumor he heard that the Ventnor and Atlantic City fire departments would merge is true.

    Mayor Michael Bagnell responded to his questions by saying that he is “just doing research” into the feasibility of merging the two departments.

  • Donna M. Peterson of Ventnor is the city’s new emergency management coordinator.VENTNOR – Since she was appointed Dec. 1 to lead the Office of Emergency Management, Donna M. Peterson has checked several items off her to-do list.She prioritized emergency responders as foremost for adequately protecting the city during the next big emergency event, improved technology and communication for first responding agencies and is working to finalize FEMA reimbursements from the last eight declared storms.

    “We’ve been very busy in a lot of different areas. I am trying to catch up on things, not just for myself, but for Ventnor City,” she said during an interview Friday, Feb. 6 at her office in City Hall.

  • MARGATE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has obtained a second extension of the deadline to award a contract to build sand dunes in Margate and Longport.

    According to Edward C. Voight, chief of Public and Legislative Affairs for the Philadelphia office of the Army Corps of Engineers, the bidders have agreed to extend their bid offerings for one month. The new deadline is Feb. 25.

    Additionally, The Downbeach Current has learned that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has not filed eminent domain proceedings in state court to obtain the easements needed to build sand dunes in Margate.

Parrotheads welcome Buffett to Atlantic City [slideshow]

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  Members of the Jersey Shore Parrot Head Club got a good spot for the show. From left are Kate Newcomer of Brigantine, Steve Petrozza of Glassboro, Lynne Dubler of Stone Harbor, Lisa Westog of Ocean City, Lance and Kathy Landgraf of Ventnor and Beth Zoller of Ocean City. Members of the Jersey Shore Parrot Head Club got a good spot for the show. From left are Kate Newcomer of Brigantine, Steve Petrozza of Glassboro, Lynne Dubler of Stone Harbor, Lisa Westog of Ocean City, Lance and Kathy Landgraf of Ventnor and Beth Zoller of Ocean City.

ATLANTIC CITY - "Build it and I will come," Jimmy Buffett told the 75,000 people who flocked to the beach for a free concert hosted by Resorts Casino Hotel Saturday, June 15.

Andy Grammar opened Salt & Sand Fest at 1 p.m on LandShark Beach at North Carolina Avenue while the crowd stretched to Steel Pier from the boardwalk to the ocean and beyond, where boats were anchored in the surf.

Inspired by Buffett's music and lifestyle, Resorts recently opened the Margaritaville themed casino and restaurant. Buffett could clearly see patrons of LandShark Bar & Grill on the beach from the stage.

"I have found a home," Buffett said.

Buffett joined Coral Reefer Band member Mac McAnally for the second act at 4 p.m. Headlining act, Wilson Phillips, played at 7 p.m. Many devoted fans, dubbed "Parrotheads," were camped out early so their beach chairs could be dug in close to the stage.

Among them were members of the Jersey Shore Parrot Head Club including Kate Newcomer of Brigantine, Steve Petrozza of Glassboro, Lynne Dubler of Stone Harbor Ocean City residents Lisa Westog and Beth Zoller and Lance and Kathy Landgraf of Ventnor.

Since 1999, the group has raised more than $60,000 for local charities and organizations. "Partying with a purpose," Landgraf said.

Two old friends from the Claridge, Jill Alexander of Egg Harbor Township and Patti DeFrancisco of Hammonton got a spot near LandShark Bar for the concert.

"It's nice being out on the beach," Alexander said. "We just wanted to come out and have fun."

McAnally said he was happy to see the Jersey Shore recover after Hurricane Sandy. Being from Mississippi, he said he understands the recovery process before playing, "When the Coast is Clear," a song he co-wrote with Buffett.

"Mississippi and New Jersey aren't that far apart," McAnally told the crowd. "Our hearts go out to you. It brings the whole country back together."

Buffett, who was announced as a special guest performer, joined McAnally during "Back Where I Come From." Between songs he told the crowd how much he was enjoying the show.

"We'll have to do this more often," Buffett said. "I like this latitude," he said before launching into "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes."

Buffett dubbed his bandmates; McAnally, Jim Mayer on bass, Peter Mayer on guitar and Roger Guth on drums; all members of his touring Coral Reefer Band, as his "Beatles Band."

Mixed throughout songs and while talking to the crowd, Buffett referenced Atlantic City, Philadelphia and even Brigantine. On stage, McAnally wore a T-shirt from the Windrift Hotel in Avalon.

They played a set of fan favorites including "Margaritaville," "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," "Grapefruit, Juicy Fruit," "Volcano," "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "A Pirate Looks at 40," "Southern Cross" and "Fins." He played two cover songs that the crowd knew well: "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Under the Boardwalk."

For an encore, Buffett played a third cover, "Another Saturday Night" and a solo acoustic version of "Come Monday."

"We'll be back in Camden before you know it," Buffett said.

Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band will play 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 25 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden. See margaritaville.com for information. 

Photos by Shaun Smith


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