City Hall moved to Union Avenue School indefinitely

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MARGATE – As with many homes on the island, City Hall took on a lot of water Monday, Oct. 29.

“I’ve been there 27 years. We’ve seen some high flood waters, but never like this,” City Clerk Tom Hiltner said Tuesday, Nov. 6.

He said the water level reached 6 inches high inside the building on Washington Avenue.

“It incapacitated us: no elevator, no electric, no heat,” he said.

The city’s phone and Internet service were down, too. It being just a week before Election Day, Hiltner said the city needed to take immediate action.

“We decided on Thursday with the city engineer, construction official and the emergency management official, that we declared City Hall uninhabitable. We decided the obvious and logical choice was Union Avenue School,” Hiltner said.

With the help of a hired contractor, public works employees moved everything to Union Avenue School and had an ad-hocCity Hall up and running on Monday, Nov. 5.

“Between them and public works, it was phenomenal,” Hiltner said.

“We were up and running yesterday without any infrastructure, Internet or phones, and taking tax payments,” Hiltner said.

In addition, voters in District 4 headed to the school Tuesday instead of City Hall, which Hiltner said is closed indefinitely.

“The city engineer and construction official have determined it’s going to take a lot of work. The floor is going to be raised anywhere from 6 inches to a foot,” he said. “We don’t want to go through this again. Some people want to rush to get back to City Hall; we want to get it right.”

To help with the recovery process, 24 large trash containers have been situated throughout town for residents to use; however, no metal should be put in the receptacles. Metal items can be placed curbside for pickup or left outside the container.

“That was a tremendous help to the residents,” said Hiltner.

He said the public works department is nearly finished cleaning up 3 million cubic feet of sand from the city streets.

Hiltner gave kudos to Frank Ricciotti, superintendent of public works, Police Chief David Wolfson and Fire Chief Tony Tobasso for their response during and after the storm. 

The city commissioners have scheduled a work session meeting 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 with a commission meeting to follow at 5 p.m. in the multipurpose room of Union Avenue School. 

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