Demolition and new construction is most cost-effective option

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To the editor:

In an overwhelming vote taken at its Sept. 24 meeting, the Margate Concerned Citizens Group took a position in favor of the building department referendum that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. A yes vote on the referendum authorizes Margate to issue $570,000 of municipal bonds and notes and spend $600,000 to demolish the former Margate Historical Society and construct a building department-construction code office.


At the August meeting, members urged the executive board, of which I am a member, to get trustworthy figures on the costs and benefits of five options for the building department that have been considered over many years. The following information was obtained from city officials and from documents acquired through the Open Public Records Act. It is presented here in the spirit of informing all residents before they vote.

Option 1 – Move the Building Department to the vacant UnionAvenueSchool: It would cost about $612,000 to retrofit just 2,500 square feet of the 38,000-square-foot building and to operate and maintain it the first year. Thereafter it would cost $110,000 per year. What do you do with the remaining 35,500 square feet of an old building with multiple problems?

Option 2 – Renew the lease at Washington and Winchester avenues: Renewing the lease will cost about $62,455 a year for rent, utilities and fees to maintain the common areas of the property. Every three years, rent would almost certainly be increased. Years later, you have nothing to show for spending all those taxpayer dollars.

Option 3 – Put a second floor on the old HistoricalSocietyBuilding: The foundation has been found to be too weak to support a second floor. Without a second floor, the building is too small for the city’s needs. It is in poor condition, and meeting code requirements is in question. 

Option 4 – Retrofit the public works garage at Benson and Monmouth avenues and put the building department on top. This would cost approximately $1.89 million. No breakdown was given.

Option 5 – Demolish the building adjacent to City Hall and construct a new office: Including everything but furniture, the project as stated in the referendum would cost $600,000. With payments of $63,800 a year, including maintenance and utilities, it will be paid off in 12 years; then it’s ours free and clear; we own a valuable piece of property. This is the most cost-effective option for the long term. Projections show it would save taxpayers $523,205 over 20 years.

The Margate Concerned Citizens Group urges you to vote yes Nov 6.   

If you have any questions call Anne at (609) 823-0738 or Joan at (609) 823-7113.

Joan Naden


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