Petition to block beach utility ordinance

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WILDWOOD- A group petitioning against the creation of the beach utility was able to collect 140 signatures, enough to block the ordinance. In a release, the group also claimed that a recall election petition might be circulating in the near future.

According to a release from the “Wildwood Watchdogs,” 117 signatures were required to block the ordinance, which created two new city jobs: a beach utility director and manger. They were able to collect 140.

“The strong support for nullifying the Beach Utility Ordinance was a direct result of the taxpayers' understanding that this move was nothing more than putting our tax money in the pockets of our elected officials' family and friends,” the release states.

‘It’s going to happen whether they want it or not.

They just want to see my kid not having a job.’

— Mayor Earnie Troiano

The beach director and manager positions were chosen about a year ago, when the original ordinance for the beach utility was adopted. Chris Fox and Ryan Troiano, Mayor Ernie Troiano’s son, have served in the positions for the past year, Commissioner Pete Byron said. Fox worked on Troiano’s election campaign. Fox is the mayor of West Wildwood and a retired Wildwood Police patrolman.

Byron said that neither has been paid any compensation for their roles to date. The new ordinance, Byron said, is to consolidate the responsibilities regarding the beach from the public works and public safety departments into the department of revenue and finance, which Byron oversees. He said that previously, responsibilities had been overlapping, so this consolidation will make managing the beach, as well as revenue generated from it, easier.

“It’s going to happen whether they want it or not,” Mayor Ernie Troiano said. “They just want to see my kid not having a job.”

Troiano said that city clerk Chris Wood would review the petition, and then the city would discuss the next step.

The Wildwood Watchdogs group, which is backed by former Wildwood mayor Gary DeMarzo, claimed that a recall petition drive may be in the future, according to the statement. That decision, the release says is “inspired by the strong support and ease of this latest petition drive.”

When asked about the possible recall, Troiano said that the current administration had balanced last year’s budget with a zero tax increase and cut back the number of city workers from 223 workers to 156.

“And that’s still not enough,” Troiano said. “They’re sick.”

DeMarzo was able to recall Troiano in 2009, but lost his seat to Troiano in the last election.

“They were in office and look what they did to the city,” Troiano said. “They destroyed it.”

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