Longport Borough Hall

By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY

MARGATE – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, Feb. 6 approved a shared-services agreement with the Borough of Longport to offer court services in Margate on an “emergent” basis.

Longport has been forced out of its courtroom due to a mold remediation project undertaken after mold formed in Commission Chambers, which serves as the borough’s courtroom, following a rainy weekend last August when the HVAC system failed.

The mold has since been cleaned up, but the room needs additional work to replace carpeting and purchase and install furniture that was ruined during the air conditioning breakdown. The cost of remediation and new HVAC equipment is expected to cost $500,000, officials said.

The borough is also seeking input from residents to decide if it should tear down the historic Borough Hall, which once served as the Betty Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital for Children, and build a new municipal building on the site.

The shared services agreement calls for Longport to run their own municipal court out of Margate’s courtroom at Historic City Hall, 1 S. Washington Ave.

Historic Margate City Hall

Longport will maintain all funds received through the court and pay Margate a monthly fee for the use of its courtroom. The agreement also includes reimbursing Margate for the cost of employing the services of Margate’s deputy court administrator.

“I think it makes a lot of sense,” Margate Administrator Richard Deaney said.

The agreement covers 24 court days during 2020. Longport will pay $2,000 per month for 11 months, for a total of $22,000. If the services of the deputy court administrator is needed beyond court days, Longport will pay Margate a rate of $80 per hour.

Longport will provide its own security during court sessions.

According to Longport Commissioner of Finance Jim Leeds, the arrangement will allow time for Longport to determine if it will pursue full consolidation of its court system with another community.

In other business, Deaney introduced Thomas Ciccarone III of Middle Township, who will fill in during Deaney’s bi-annual extended vacation. Ciccarone will fill in for Deaney over an eight-week period starting Feb. 18. He will work the same days as Deaney and under the same salary, terms and conditions.

Both men are employees of Jersey Professional Management, which provides professional consulting, management and recruiting services to municipalities using retired municipal professionals. JPM also provides consulting services in neighboring Ventnor where Maria Mento works as the city’s part-time administrator and deputy clerk.

Ciccarone retired from his job in Chatham Jan. 31, 2019 after 19 years on the job. He also worked in Avalon and was Brigantine’s administrator for nine years.

“He will be able to handle anything you need,” Deaney said.