By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – Recent high winds have affected work being done to refurbish the borough’s smiley-faced water tower. The high winds over the weekend and earlier this week blew away the containment system installed around the water tower to protect workers and prevent damage to nearby properties.
Borough Engineer Ed Dennis Jr. of Remington & Vernick Engineers briefed the Board of Commissioners at its meeting on Wednesday.
The containment system, which saw tarps blowing from the top of the water tower, has been completely removed and exterior work temporarily halted until the March winds die down and the containment system can be reinstalled.
Dennis said the contractor will get the finish coat of paint on the interior of the water tank completed this week, and that the exterior finish coat can be completed sometime next week after the containment system is reinstalled to protect workers and nearby properties.
Despite the delay, the project is expected to be completed on time.
Other ongoing public works projects, include utility upgrades and repaving of Atlantic Avenue, which has detoured traffic along a several block area near the business district. Dennis said the water and sewer line replacement is completed and that the paving will soon follow. The work is expected to be completed by May 11.
Dennis also said that the electric company is in the process of upgrading service to the Public Works yard where the borough is installing a new well. Once the upgrade is completed and the service energized, the well system will be tested and inspected before coming online.
Also, work to install the bulkhead project at 36th and Amherst avenues will likely start at the end of March and take two or three weeks to complete.
Work will soon begin to resurface the tennis courts at the 33rd Avenue recreational complex, Dennis said. The work includes resurfacing all four courts. However, one of the four tennis courts closest to the beach near the Margate border will be restriped for two pickleball courts. Pickleball has become a popular sport in shore communities because it is less stressful on the body and can be played by all ages and abilities. Low bidder Nikolaus Construction Company of Vincentown was awarded a $120,390 contract to do the work.
After a discussion with the commissioners, Administrator A. Scott Porter was instructed to delay delivery of new playground equipment being installed at the recreation complex until the end of summer. The equipment was ordered in November 2022 and was supposed to be installed before the upcoming summer season, but delivery of the equipment has been delayed.
Porter said although the Public Works Department is available to install the equipment, vendor installation would relieve the borough of liability issues. He asked the commissioners to delay delivery of the equipment until early next year with installation occurring in spring of 2024, but Mayor Nicholas Russo requested the playground be installed in October because residents would enjoy using the new playground during the fall months when the weather is still warm.
In other business, the board approved an ordinance increasing the rates charged for beach tags, which will be $20 for the season if purchased before the first Friday in June, up from $15 previously. The rate rises to $35 for the season after the June pre-season rate expires, up from $30 last year. The weekly fee will be $15, up from $10. The ordinance also sets a new daily fee at $5 per day.
The board also set the value of Dennis’ third year as municipal engineer at an amount not to exceed $30,000.
The board also authorized a new four-year contract with Chief of Police Frank Culmone. He will be paid $158,232 in 2023, $163,770 in 2024, $169,502 in 2025, and $175,435 in 2026.
The commissioners introduced three ordinances authorizing salaries for the Longport Policemen’s Benevolent Association, the Longport Lifeguard Association and those employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements.
A fourth ordinance will revise development requirements pertaining to the height of new buildings.
Public hearings on the four ordinances will be held 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 19. The borough also plans to introduce its 2023 municipal budget at the meeting.
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