By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – The borough is going to give vendors one last shot at selling ice cream on the beach before it does it on its own.
At the Board of Commissioners meeting Wednesday, June 3, borough officials discussed their option to sell ice cream out of the rear of the Longport Community Building on 33rd Avenue and the beach, where it is currently selling beach tags.
According to Borough Administrator A. Scott Porter, a local resident contacted the borough about obtaining a contract to sell ice cream on the beach, and Margate’s recently approved vendor, Oil Depot NJ, LLC is also interested in the contract.
Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Lawler said Philadelphia Water Ice Factory can provide the borough with freezers and a wide variety of products at a reasonable cost. Since there are employees already working in the beachfront facility, they would be able to sell ice cream through the window, but beachgoers would have to hike to the makeshift storefront and practice social distancing if they have to wait in line to make a purchase.
“That’s an option if we can’t go with the bid on the beach. People would rather and it would be easier to get it on the beach, and we would make more money,” he said.
Commissioners said the borough’s priority is to have ice cream sales available to the public by July 1.
Solicitor Michael Affanato said there would be enough time to advertise for bids in the newspaper on Friday, June 5, allowing 10 days to receive and review bids and award a contract at the commission’s next meeting on June 17. He said he would have to review the state’s bidding requirements to determine if the borough could sell ice cream on its own.
The commissioners approved adding a new resolution to the regular agenda to go out to bid with a minimum bid amount of $20,000 with a 10% down payment to be submitted with the bid.
The commissioners also agreed to accept background checks on applicants that were previously approved by other municipalities.
In other beach related business, the commissioners agreed to open restrooms at 33rd Avenue and at Borough Hall to beachgoers.
Although Commissioner Jim Leeds expressed concerns about sanitation and the cost of keeping the restrooms cleaned, Affanato said the borough’s Public Access Plan, which has been submitted to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for approval, represented that restrooms are available to the public in Longport.
The governor’s executive order does not say municipalities have to open restrooms, but if they do open, they have to be sanitized, he said.
“I have no intention of closing the bathrooms and saying we can’t afford to keep the bathrooms clean,” Mayor Nicholas Russo said. “You can’t open up beaches and not provide bathrooms, especially for women and children. It is what it is. Everyone’s suffering with lost income. We just have to muddle through this.”
Lawler said Public Works employees could sanitize the bathrooms using foggers that can kill bacteria and viruses, and that inexpensive sanitizer dispensers could be placed in beach access points.
“The public wants to see sanitary things,” he said. “I’m for keeping the bathrooms open and doing it the right way.”
Porter said the borough would seek a seasonal worker to clean the restrooms. An advertisement for a laborer was posted on the borough website.
Lawler also said the beaches have been crowded and that beachgoers are staying away from other groups.
Although beachgoers prefer to be near the water’s edge, the beach is wide enough to allow groups to socially distance, he said.
The commissioners squashed a proposal from a local couple who said they would volunteer to remind beachgoers to socially distance.
“I’m totally against that,” Lawler said.
Affanato said the borough could be held liable if any problems arose and that the borough’s Joint Insurance Fund would likely not cover any claims that could arise.
“With the size of our beach, it’s not necessary,” Mayor Nicholas Russo said.
Copyright Mediawize, LLC 2020