Letter: What is happening to Ventnor?

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Letter: What is happening to Ventnor? Letter: What is happening to Ventnor? To the editor:

Ventnor residents were recently made aware of a substantial increase in water and sewer rates. A directive from the governor states that municipalities cannot get around the 2 percent cap by increasing municipal services user fees such as water and sewer.   

Another issue is the health care coverage provided to city employees through AmeriHealth.  The contract expires March 1. Switching to a state plan with several options seems to be the mayor's choice. The premiums are lower, but the coverage is not as extensive. Any proposed new health coverage must be equal to or better than the previous one. Whose money is going to step into this financial gap?  Ours.

At the last Ventnor public meeting, the mayor wanted to hire an insurance broker without any advertising or competitive bidding. Since the state health plan doesn’t negotiate premiums, what would this broker do to earn his (unknown) compensation? The city solicitor advised the mayor that he had better table this resolution.

The projected cost for replacing City Hall's heating system has escalated since Superstorm Sandy. Thousands of dollars were spent on the temporary duct system last winter and thousands more for a temporary boiler this winter.  Almost $90,000 was spent on the design of a new system. FEMA has reimbursed the city for only some of that total expense. 

In December the mayor signed a contract for the HVAC replacement project for $1,971,600. A recent story in a local newspaper quoted the mayor as saying that there was an ordinance passed approving a $6 million callable bond for flood mitigation infrastructure.  I believe this information is incorrect.

What is happening to our city?  So many homes are up for sale with few takers.  Our businesses are closing or moving, sometimes just a short hop over to Margate.  Snow removal from Ventnor's streets compared unfavorably to the bare blacktop of Margate's streets. Why?

Interested residents, voters and taxpayers are encouraged to visit the Ventnor NJ Community Forum on Facebook.  There you can exchange information and raise questions.  

This is not the city's official Facebook page.  Not too long after his election, the mayor imposed restrictions, which ended any two-way exchange of information.          

Linda Kaplan


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