Roads are key in Ocean City's $10M capital plan

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Ocean City Council heard from the administration on its proposed 2013-2017 capital plan Thursday, Dec. 6. Ocean City Council heard from the administration on its proposed 2013-2017 capital plan Thursday, Dec. 6.

OCEAN CITY – Beach replenishment, boardwalk replacement, roads and drainage, and a new public safety building were just some of the big ticket items mentioned when City Council heard from the administration Thursday, Dec. 6 on proposed capital projects for 2013.

This was the second capital workshop, with the first occurring in October and focusing on roads and drainage.

City director of finance Frank Donato said that the administration looks five years out in its capital plan to keep the city focused on goals.

“It keeps us pointed in the right direction,” he said.

“We have some big ticket items that are going to impact this plan and the plan for the next several years,” Donato said, referring to projects like roads and drainage, and the boardwalk.

Repairing city buildings damaged from Hurricane Sandy will also affect the budget, he said.

“Those are buildings that may or may not have been on the radar as far as the capital plan, but they certainly are on the radar now,” he said.

Georgia Arnold, director of the city’s Office of Community Development, and city business administrator Mike Dattilo went into project specifics.

Dattilo said that capital projects are based on public input. The total capital budget for 2013 is about $10 million, he said.

“We think that’s responsible and we think that’s about where we need to be moving forward over the next five years,” Dattilo said.

The city’s scheduled beach fill in the north end is still expected to begin in the spring.* Dattilo said that the quantity of sand in the contract was pre-storm, but should change. He said the city had a meeting with US Army Corps Wednesday, Dec. 5, and the Army Corps is still waiting on an assessment for a post-storm sand quantity.

The proposed capital plan includes Americans with Disabilities Act beach paths at $15,000 a year for 2013-2017, and dune fencing at $15,000 a year for 2014-12017, both related to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The plan also includes $750,000 in 2013 and $1.75 million in 2015 for a beach fill in the south end, as well as $100,000 in contingency for 2014 and 2017, and $150,000 for 2015.

Money is also being set aside for dredging of Glen Cove and Snug Harbor lagoons in 2013, at $250,000.

A large portion of the capital plan is paving, drainage and bulkheads, with funding of $5 million for 2013-2014.

Paving projects include: the alley between Simpson and Haven avenues from Second to Seventh streets, the alley between Central and Wesley avenues between Second and Third streets, Second Street between West and Atlantic avenues, Third Street between West and Central avenues and Wesley and Atlantic avenues, Haven Avenue between Second and Fourth streets, Moore Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets, Pleasure Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets, Bayonne Place between Bay and Pleasure avenues, Haven Avenue between 16th and 17th streets, 16th Street between Bay and West avenues, Sunset Place between Pleasure and Bay avenues, Pleasure Avenue between 14th and 16th streets, the alley between Bay and Simpson avenues between 16th and 17th streets, 14th and 15th streets between the bay and Bay Avenue, the alley between Bayview and 14th Street from Bay to Prospect avenues, Prospect Avenues from 14th to 15th streets, Asbury Avenue between 39th and 42nd streets, drainage pipes at 39th, 40th and 41st streets, 40th Street from West to Asbury avenues, and 42nd Street from West to Central avenues.

Dattilo said that these projects were based on the city’s road rating system and are being combined with projects already underway.

There are also New Jersey American Water- and South Jersey Gas-associated improvements at Pelham Place from Atlantic to Wayne avenues (SJG) and Simpson Avenue from 11th to 12th streets (NJAW).

Bulkheads improvements include Seventh and 16th streets, Battersea Road and Tonga Harbor.

Since the city has not spent its 2012 appropriation for boardwalk reconstruction, there is no new funding in 2013. Isolated replacements on the boardwalk are estimated at $75,000 per year in 2013-2017; and reconstruction averages $1.7 million per year in 2014-2017.

Arnold said the city has budgeted for a new public safety building, with design costs at $550,000 a year in 2013 and in 2014 and construction at $2 million a year in 2015-2019, for a total of $11 million.

“One of the administration’s projects that we would like to start moving on is a new public safety building and court at Sixth Street,” Arnold said.

The police and court have been operating out of a century-old, former high school on Central Avenue since the 1960s. Earlier this year, Mayor Jay Gillian said that the building had reached the end of its useful life, and the city was considering the Sixth Street location.

“We’ve reached a conclusion: It’s just ludicrous to keep pouring the amount of money into a circa-1900 building that were working out off there,” Dattilo said. “We wanted to look longer term and something that makes more sense long term for the city.”

Dattilo said the concept is to build off of the existing Sixth Street firehouse, which was built to accommodate a second floor, and build out on the north side.

“The concept doesn’t eliminate a drastic amount of parking,” he said. “That facility was built for a second floor.”

A new public safety building would bring all the city’s public safety personnel into one building, as well as house a new court, leaving the city options for the old building.

“Obviously, then that site becomes vacant. It could be disposed of. It could be used for parking. Another concept that’s been thrown on the table is senior housing,” Dattilo said. “This is a long term multifaceted discussion.”

Gillian said he had sticker shock upon hearing about a $10 million price tag on a new public safety building, but asked the public not to be alarmed.

“It’s a plan. Most of it’s technology,” he said. “It’s just like the old high school.

“It just is amazing what it costs for a municipality to build something.”

Gillian said the city needs a new plan for public safety, whether it’s a new building or not.

“We just can’t keep throwing money into the old police station; and the court is the big number in that whole thing,” he said.

He said that Sea Isle City was looking into a new court and the city could look into a shared services agreement.

“I just think we have to keep all our options open,” he said.

Other public building projects would include $200,000 a year in 2014 and 2015 for the Fourth Street Life Saving Station interior; $300,000 in 2013 for Music Pier fire suppression, downspouts and painting; $220,000 in 2013 for City Hall ground floor renovations related to Sandy damage; $75,000 in 2013 for HVAC improvements; $75,000 in 2013 for the Sixth Street firehouse; $510,000 in 2013 for the 29th Street firehouse related to Sandy damage; $200,000 in 2013 for public works fleet maintenance related to Sandy damage; $100,000 in 2014 and $150,000 in 2015 for storage facilities; and $100,000 a year in 2013-2017 for general repairs. Yearly totals are $2 million in 2013, $1.25 million in 2014, $2.75 million in 2015, $2.1 million in 2016 and $2.1 million in 2017.

The administration would like to spend $225,000 in 2013 on recreation facilities, and $1 million in 2014. The 2014 figure is mostly comprised of $750,000 for Fenton Carey field.

The plan includes $560,000 in 2013 for parking and traffic, including $300,000 for a connector street between Eighth and Moorlyn Terrace. Dattilo added that the parking lots would be reconfigured to achieve more parking.

Funding for departmental equipment is planned at $95,000 in 2013, $70,000 in 2014, $125,000 in 2015, $160,000 in 2016 and $60,000 in 2017. Large equipment, trucks and rehab spending is planned at $1 million in 2013, most of which is a pumper replacement.

If funding goes as planned, in five years, the city will have spent $24 million in road repairs and $7.17 million in boardwalk reconstruction.

Councilman Keith Hartzell said that after 10 years, if road repairs continue at this level, almost all roads rated 70 and below would be completed. Arnold pointed out that, at that point, some new roads may be in need of repair.

“What we would like to do next is continue to work on the phasing of the roads and drainage components,” Dattilo said.

He said he would like to have a workshop in January just on roads and drainage, so that the city can adopt a capital plan and bond ordinance in January.

Councilman Antwan McClellan asked if there were any plans for the pocket park at the old annex site. Gillian said that everyone likes the park the way it is, so the city is considering adding more bathrooms in City Hall.

“Right now, if anything, we just got to get some lights on that park,” he said.

*Correction: The article previously stated that the city’s share of the beach fill in the north end was $167,970. That figure represents the city’s share for the outfall upgrades as part of the beach replenishment project. As of August, the city’s share of the beach fill project was $1.1 million.


Ocean City proposed 2013-2017 capital plan

Ocean City proposed 2013-2017 capital plan breakdown

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