Crews are working to make space at a disposal site for dredged material near Roosevelt Boulevard in Ocean City.Ocean City has brought in a lobbying firm to help it navigate through a thicket of environmental regulations that are slowing down its plans to dredge the clogged lagoons and channels along the back bays.Voting unanimously Thursday night, City Council agreed to hire Tonio Burgos and Associates of New Jersey LLC at a rate of $5,000 per month through the rest of 2016. The professional services contract is worth a total of $55,000, but can be terminated early if the city feels Tonio Burgos is not performing its job.“If they can’t do it, we’ll find someone else who can,” Mayor Jay Gillian told council members.Gillian, who pushed for the hiring of a lobbyist, said Tonio Burgos will develop a strategy to cut through government red tape and secure public funding for the dredging program, which carries an estimated price tag of $20 million.“Look, we have a dredging problem,” the mayor said.Tonio Burgos will work with the city’s dredging consultant, ACT Engineers, to acquire the necessary permits and craft both short-term and long-range plans to complete the project.Gillian and other city officials have complained that efforts to clear out the mud-choked lagoons are being hampered by onerous regulations imposed by the state and federal agencies that oversee the dredging permits.Councilman Michael DeVlieger said he hopes Tonio Burgos can “shake things up” at the regulatory agencies to help the city.Councilman Peter Guinosso asked Gillian whether the city would be getting its money’s worth by hiring a lobbyist. Guinosso also wanted to know if there are ways to monitor Tonio Burgos’ performance.“They have to perform,” Gillian responded.City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson noted that the contract can be canceled within 30 days if the city feels Tonio Burgos is not doing a good job.Gillian is hopeful that Tonio Burgos will ultimately save the town some money by bringing all of the key agencies together and accelerating the dredging process.“We’ve got to get the people in the room who make the decisions and have the money,” he said.The mayor has proposed spending $20 million for dredging in the city’s capital plan, but has warned that the cost could balloon to $80 million if the project continues to crawl along.The city plans to build a new temporary road to a dredge-spoils disposal site near the 34th Street Bridge. Dredge materials are stored at the site before they are hauled out by barge then truck for permanent disposal at a Wildwood landfill. The new road would allow more trucks to cart away the mud and silt, speeding up the disposal process, but the permitting for the road has created delays.In its proposal to the city, Tonio Burgos pledged to develop plans for disposing of the dredge spoils in a way that will be both “environmentally and economically responsible.”While Tonio Burgos will focus on the lobbying, ACT Engineers will oversee the dredging work. The city has already paid ACT Engineers more than $1 million for its services. At its meeting Thursday, Council authorized spending an additional $160,000 to have the company continue its work.In another vote, Council agreed to advertise for construction bids for the first phase of the city’s road improvement program for 2016. The project, which will help alleviate flooding, will initially focus on the area around 14th and 16th streets.See PDF below for a full list of the road projects.Download (PDF, 270KB)
View Comments Dean Jones, a Broadway alum who created the role of Bobby in Company, died on September 1, Variety reports. His death at his Los Angeles home, following copmlications from Parkinson’s disease, was confirmed by Richard Hoffmann. Jones was 84.Jones was born on January 25, 1931 in Decatur, Alabama to Andrew and Nolia Jones. Following his service in the navy during the Korean War, he joined the Bird Cage Theater at the California amusement park Knott’s Berry Farm. It was the same stage that launched the careers of Steve Martin and Lauren Tewes.After stepping in last-minute during an out-of-town tryout in Boston, Jones made his Broadway debut in 1960 opposite Jane Fonda in There Was a Little Girl. Later that year, he appeared in Under the Yum-Yum Tree. He would go on to reprise his performance as Dave Manning in the 1963 film adaptation.In 1962, Jones starred in the NBC series Ensign O’Toole, drawing from his military experience to play the titular officer aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Pacific Ocean. He went on to appear in numerous Disney films over the course of his career, including That Darn Cat!, The Ugly Dachshund, and what has become his signature screen performance: The Love Bug, in which he played Herbie’s driver Jim Douglas. He reprised his performance in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo and the TV series Herbie, the Love Bug. He was named a Disney Legend in 1995.Following a string of on-screen appearances, including the romantic comedy Any Wednesday opposite his former Broadway co-star Fonda, Jones returned to the stage in Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company. He created the leading role of Bobby, a bachelor who navigates the various marriages of his friends as he searches for —and perhaps flees from—a relationship of his own.Jones played the role in Boston before the Broadway bow and originated it on the Great White Way, though withdrew shortly after opening night. He cited his departure to stress, as the role was perhaps too close to home while he went through a divorce with his first wife, Mae Entwisle. Jones was replaced by Larry Kert, who received a Tony nomination for his performance: a rare occurrence for a replacement.After Company, Jones married actress Lory Patrick. It was around that time that he became a devout Christian. He took on many roles in projects with religious themes, including Into the Light on Broadway and the Visual Bible series. In 1998, he founded the Christian Rescue Fund, an organization aimed to provide relief for people persecuted for their religion.Jones is survived by his wife Lory, their son Michael Pastick, his two daughters from his marriage with Entwisle, Caroline Jones and Deanna Demaree, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.