LONGPORT – The Board of Commissioners Wednesday, Jan. 15 discussed the following issues during its work session.
Longport considers hiring recreation manager
LONGPORT – The board discussed the possibility of hiring a recreation manager to oversee programs being offered to children and adults during the summer season.
Beach Patrol Chief Matt Kelm recommended someone other than a Beach Patrol member oversee recreation along the beachfront park at 33rd Avenue, Commissioner Jim Leeds said. Kelm will review a job description for the commissioners’ approval before the position is advertised.
“It would be more efficient that this be done by a separate individual rather than taking a trained Beach Patrol individual to do this,” Mayor Nicholas Russo said.
Chief Financial Officer Jenna Kelly will prepare a salary ordinance revision to include the position for introduction at a future meeting.
Improvements sought for rental ordinance
Like other Downbeach communities, the borough wants to “tighten up” its short-term rental ordinance to prevent problems with Airbnb and other online rentals. The borough’s existing ordinance requires property owners to obtain a rental certificate of occupancy to ensure the property has the property safety features, such as smoke and CO detectors.
Leeds suggested Zoning Officer Bruce Funk, Administrator Scott Porter, Police Chief Frank Culmone and Solicitor Michael Affanato form a sub-committee to review the ordinance.
However, Russo said having too many people on a committee could cause them to “spin their wheels” and that since enforcement could be problematic, the solicitor should prepare the ordinance for review.
Borough plans to extend engineering contract
According to Mayor Nicholas Russo the borough is negotiating a one-year contract extension with longtime engineer Richard Carter whose statutory three-year appointment expired in 2018. The borough extended the contract for one year in 2019 based on Carter’s request to retire at the end of the year. He subsequently requested to stay on to complete about a half-dozen projects that still need to be finalized. Engineers are required by state law to be appointed to three-year terms, Russo said.
“Right now. we are in negotiations with Engineer Carter. Our challenge is we need an engineer and if he does help us, it would be part-time,” Russo said.
Commissioner Dan Lawler said the contract would require more time than he worked last year.
Commissioner Jim Leeds suggested Solicitor Michael Affanato collaborate with former Solicitor Pacifico “Pat” Agnellini in preparing the contract.
Russo suggested the projects to be worked on be “memorialized” in the contract.
No more signs, Leeds says
A citizen has contacted the borough about adopting a section of beach, which would include at least two cleanups a year outside of the twice-yearly Clean Ocean Action cleanups. Signage could be installed to recognize the family or group cleaning the beach.
However, Commissioner Jim Leeds believes too much signage causes sign pollution.
“No more signs. We took enough signs down, let’s not put any more up,” he said.
The commission agreed to discuss the issue at a future meeting.
Building is slowing down in Longport
Although construction is continuing, building permits are down over prior years, which has negatively affected the revenue needed to run the Building
Department, Leeds said.
“Construction is going on, new houses are being built, but the total number of permits has dropped at least 20% each year, which just might be the nature of things,” he said.
He said there were 27 building permits issued in 2014 and only 10 issued in 2019.
Reduced revenue could mean the cost of keeping the keep the department running according to Longport standards could be reflected in the 2020 budget.
Borough Clerk Monica Kyle, who also works part-time for the Building Department, said recent changes in state legislation has reduced the types of building projects that require a permit.
“Some ordinary maintenance things no longer require a permit, so we may have lost some revenue from that,” she said. For instance, installing a new roof no longer requires a permit, she said.