• 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.

‘Personnel issue’ causes Longport to reorganize commissioner assignments

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LONGPORT – Following a 30-minute executive session Tuesday, April 8, the Board of Commissioners agreed to revise commissioner appointments and duties.

Mayor Nicholas Russo gave a brief statement following three unanimous votes to approve the new assignments and realigned duties.

“Due to personnel issues, which our solicitor has advised me not to make any comments about until they are fully resolved, the commissioners have chosen to realign and redefine their duties and responsibilities,” Russo said.

Russo and borough attorney Pat Agnellini declined discussion on the issue and the employees involved, but both confirmed that the municipality has not received any tort claim notices informing the borough that a legal suit is pending.

Russo will continue to serve as director of public safety and public affairs. He will assume certain duties that were part of the revenue and finance department, including oversight of elections, personnel administration, office management and Borough Hall.

James P. Leeds was moved from public works, parks and public property and appointed to oversee revenue and finance, which includes the offices of the assessor, CFO, tax collector, bookkeeping, beach fee administration, tax lien foreclosures, auditor, and insurance, bonds and contingent funds.

Daniel Lawler was moved from revenue and finance to public works, parks and public property and will assume supervision of the construction code and code enforcement departments in addition to streets, engineer, parks, playgrounds, beaches, jetties, lighting, trash and recycling, water and all public buildings.

Lawler also declined discussing the personnel issue, but agreed the changes were best for the borough.

He said Leeds was very good at managing the public works department, but the commissioners thought it was best to make the changes at this time.

“I have no problem with the change, in fact, I’m looking forward to learning a new department,” he said.

Lawler said public works will require more of his time and that he would miss working with finance department personnel.

“The public works guys are good and know what has to be done,” he said.

Leeds was not available for comment.

 


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