By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – Voters will get a say Tuesday, Nov. 3 on a proposal to build a boardwalk in Margate. After negotiating with the Margate Boardwalk Committee, the city revised the wording of a question proposed at the July 16 meeting.
Boardwalk proponents asked the commission to table Resolution 135-2020, which they said was so distastefully written that it would be a “poison pill” and immediately rejected by taxpayers.
The new wording was unanimously approved Thursday, Aug. 6. Boardwalk Committee Director Glenn Klotz attended the meeting to thank the board for voting to get the question on the ballot.
“It took two-and-a-half years to get us to this point, so I am very pleased,” Klotz said in a telephone interview Saturday morning. “We gave them a list of the wording we objected to and they made significant changes. They took out references to litigation, which we thought was way over the top.”
The new wording eliminates the phrase “in excess of” and reduces the proposed cost to $24 million from $30 million.
The ballot question reads:
“Shall the City of Margate appropriate $285,000 to be able to award professional contracts to conduct legal, engineering and financial studies to determine the feasibility and cost of building a non-commercial boardwalk upon Margate’s public beach extending from and connecting to the end of the existing boardwalk at Fredericksburg Avenue in Ventnor (on the border with Ventnor) to Coolidge Avenue in Margate City (on the border with Longport)?”
The interpretive statement reads:
“This question, if approved by voters, will give direction to the Margate City Board of Commissioners on whether to appropriate money to study the feasibility of constructing a boardwalk as favored by the Margate Boardwalk Committee Inc. at a 2019 cost they estimated to be $24 million. Initial funds would pay for property ownership title investigations, surveying, preliminary engineering design, test borings, state and federal permitting investigations and financial analysis.”
The question will be forwarded to the Atlantic County Clerk for inclusion on the November ballot.
Klotz said he still supports conducting a poll of part-time residents.
“Our position is that they should be polled. They are a significant part of the community, somewhere around 60% of homeowners, which is the norm for coastal communities. We like the idea of getting a broad consensus for the proposal,” he said.
Klotz said the Boardwalk Committee would conduct a public relations campaign asking voters to approve the referendum.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be much different than we normally would do because we don’t want to put anyone at risk,” he said.
The group is planning to distribute lawn signs, make telephone calls and conduct remote meetings with various community groups, he said.
“A boardwalk in Margate benefits the entire region and will be a win for everyone,” he said.
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