Margate needs a long-term plan

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To the editor:
Commissioner Taube’s and Mayor Becker’s weekly letters in The Current opinion pages are hard to follow. In November 2011, Taube wrote about hiring a business administrator to serve Margate for one year with the goal to then share with Ventnor, saying, “I am excited about this joint venture, because the shared BA will have the unique opportunity to see how our cities can share more services and take advantage of the economies of scale with purchasing, contracts, etc.”

In January 2012, Becker and Taube penned a letter together stating that every decision to spend or borrow money should be weighed heavily and be part of a long-term plan that emphasizes fiscal responsibility. These were the reasons they cited for hiring a BA and advocating for a bond ordinance to increase debt by $600,000 for a new building department. However, what was not in the Taube-Becker plan was a petition that would send the ordinance to referendum and for the BA to recommend that the commission take a year to look into the repurposing of Union Avenue School, no matter the outcome of the referendum.
With no regard for the referendum or the BA’s recommendation, Taube and Becker continued to advocate for the project and authorized the architect to move forward with the plans, which are now 80 percent complete. This has cost taxpayers almost $14,000 for a building that is not going to be built. Talk about throwing money away.
So now in December 2012, the Commission is set to renew the BA’s contract with no mention of any joint venture with Ventnor, no long-term plan that emphasizes fiscal responsibility and no ordinance to charge the $10,000 architectural fees, which means it will be paid out of city operating costs. I am all for renewing Mr. Deaney’s contract, if he is given the directive and the autonomy to develop a sound fiscal plan along with the department heads and the full commission.
This is what Margate desperately needs. What Margate does not need is someone to duplicate services already being performed by our very experienced and competent deputy and city clerks and financial officers.
Sharon Simon

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