Plan To Fund Sea Bright Borough Buildings At Risk


first_imgBy Liz SheehanSEA BRIGHT – A plan to pay for the rebuilding of the borough’s buildings destroyed by Super Storm Sandy, including the firehouse, police department, library and beach facility, may be in jeopardy.At the May 17 Borough Council meeting, Mayor Dina Long voted three times to break the ties on the 3-3 council votes, so that three bond issue ordinances could be introduced and presented for public hearing at the June 1 council meeting.But passage of the bonds requires that not less than two-thirds of the council approve them after the June 1 public hearing. These would mean four votes of approval from the six-member council.On Tuesday, only three members of six voted to introduce the bond ordinance and public hearing. Members Jack Keeler, Peggy Bills and John Lamia Jr., voted against introducing the bill. Members Charles Rooney III, Bryan Kelly and Marc Leckstein voted for it.Lamia said Wednesday that he was meeting with the Borough Administrator JosephVerruni the next day to discuss the details of the plans for the projects the bond issue would finance. “I didn’t have enough information yesterday,” he said, since a planned session on the issue was not held.Drawings show plans for the library and the beach facility.“This is the biggest expense that Sea Bright has ever had,” Lamia said. “It’s going to affect our future.” He said that the bonds would be a heavy debt to place on a town with 1,200 residents.He said that Keeler had researched projects in other towns and found some that would be less costly than what was planned for the borough.Lamia said the council members were told that the bonds would have an effect on the interest rate on future borrowing, making the rates increase.He said the time between Tuesday’s vote and the June 1 public hearing would give him time to learn more about the proposed bonds and the project.“I am still on the fence” about supporting the bond issue, he said.Keeler and Bills could not be reached for comment on the bond issue.“I don’t know if this town will get this opportunity again,” Rooney said, referring to the funds that would come from FEMA to replace the buildings lost in Sandy.He said voting for the bonds “was the biggest vote” council members would ever make.“We need these buildings,” he said.“Why are you telling us now?” he asked of the council members who voted against the introduction of the bond issues. “Where have you been for the last two years?” he asked, while the plans were being formed for the replacement of the lost buildings. “It’s very, very upsetting,” he said.Rooney questioned what “Plan B” was for the council members who voted not to introduce the bonds.None of the council members gave a reason for their votes on the matter at the meeting.Rooney said that the town had not increased taxes since Sandy.The increase in taxes projected for the bonds is 2 cents per $100 of assessed value, according to a presentation on the bonds made by Kelly at a previous council meeting.The bond issues include an issue with a principal of $3,942,500 to be used for the construction of a Municipal Complex, for police, fire and emergency use. This facility will also be financed by “$2,750,000, expected to be received as a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” and $1,000,000 from insurance.The second bond issue would be for a principal of $1,486,750 to construct a beach facility with $1,450,000 expected to be received from FEMA and $185,000 from insurance for the construction of the building.The third bond would be for $332,500 for the construction of a community center which would also be financed by an expected $900,000 from FEMA and $150,000 from insurance.The borough is also counting on revenues from its new metered parking system and the end of the requirement to lease facilities to replace those lost as a result of Sandy to pay for the bond issues.last_img

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