By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – In a symbolic passing of the torch, former Mayor Beth Holtzman presented newly sworn Mayor Lance Landgraf with an unfinished wooden torch that reads: “Moving On.”
“You’re right, we do have unfinished business up here, and we have a great team up here to move that forward,” Landgraf said.
“Being on the commission for the last seven years I’ve learned a lot,” Landgraf said. “With Beth stepping down and Maria stepping in we could not have had a smoother transition. The team you see before you will continue with what we have been doing for the last seven years.”
New Jersey Sen. Vince Polistina, who was on-hand to swear in former Acting City Administrator Maria Mento as Commissioner of Revenue and Finance on Feb. 23, was back to swear in Landgraf as mayor. Landgraf’s sister Jennifer Gallagher held the Bible used at Landgraf’s Christening, while his wife, Kathy Styles-Landgraf stood by.
With the addition of Mento on the Board of Commissioners, the newly reformed Imagine Ventnor team plans to run for re-election in May 2024.
The newly-sworn mayor said the board would continue its good fiscal management policies, get needed infrastructure projects completed, provide new recreation opportunities for residents and visitors, and open the new Beach Patrol Headquarters in spring.
“We’ve got some things planned for the city we want to expand upon,” Landgraf said, including new events in the shoulder seasons.
“Businesses are doing well. We are trying to get a new business to come to town and we’re finding it difficult to find space. People want to be here,” he said.
Commissioner Tim Kriebel said the three commissioners “jelled because we are all doers.”
“We set targets and keep at them,” Kriebel said.
Mento said the commissioners work well together because they are experts in their fields, which complements the departments they manage.
“For municipal government, you move fast,” Mento said.
In other business, the commissioners passed a resolution awarding a $25,000 professional services contract to VComm Telecommunications Engineering to provide consulting services in dealing with public utility companies, such as Atlantic City Electric and Comcast.
Mento sited problems with loose wires hanging from utility poles and a lack of maintenance on utility infrastructure. The company will require utility companies to perform inspections of their properties twice a year and will attach fines for non-compliance.
“We are hiring someone who knows more about dealing with utility companies than we do,” she said.
Complications on enforcing regulations is difficult because utility companies co-locate services on their poles and it becomes difficult to know which of the hanging or looped wires belongs to which company, she said.
The board also approved requesting proposals for advertising on boardwalk and business district banners, and a food and beverage concession for the Ventnor City Pier.
The city plans to redesign and install a new gate separating the fishing area from the pedestrian viewing area, and allow the current Pier Master’s Office to be used as a concession serving coffee, snacks and cold drinks during the summer season.
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