By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – The borough is ready to complete two capital improvement projects as a major utility project has been finalized.
After nearly eight years of discussions, planning, engineering and construction, the borough has finished building a new well and well house at the Public Works yard. According to borough engineer Ed Dennis Jr., Well No. 4 is now online and replaces the aging Well No. 2, which will soon be decommissioned.
“It’s on, it’s running, and it’s running well,” Administrator A. Scott Porter said Wednesday, Aug. 16.
The borough embarked on building the new well and well house under the leadership of former engineer Richard Carter, who encouraged the municipality to make the improvements to ensure there is enough water to service the borough’s increasingly large housing stock. At the time the project was first proposed, water usage was too excessive to properly maintain the aging plant, especially during the summer months when the population of the borough increases exponentially.
“It’s a big deal, a big milestone we have gotten through,” Dennis said.
Dennis reported that he and Porter are currently developing and prioritizing a new capital plan for 2024 that would be funded through grants and bonds.
“Several (projects) have been on the radar and will be familiar to the governing body,” he said.
Commissioner Dan Lawler advised Dennis to be mindful that a recent state-mandated ruling requires municipalities to replace all lead and galvanized steel water service lines from the watermain in the street to the main shutoff valve in the house by 2031.
“It’s a huge expense and it has to be done,” Lawler said.
Dennis said there is some grant funding available to help municipalities finance the project, which is estimated to start in the fall of 2024 and take about five years to complete. Not only will the project be a financial burden for the municipality, it will also impact the community during street openings and when lawns are torn up to replace the lines to the house. Porter suggested that to minimize the impact, the project should be completed in phases and done during the off-season.
Dennis said he will provide cost estimates for several new capital projects before meeting with Porter and grant consultant James Rutala, who will advise if grant funding is available to help pay for any of the projects.
The Board of Commissioners also passed a resolution awarding Remington & Vernick a $215,000 two-year contract to provide engineering for the Winchester Avenue drainage project, which will be funded through grants awarded by FEMA and the Ocean Wind Trust.
“It’s a longer-term project, but we need to get started on engineering and permitting,” Dennis said.
The borough is also working on adding additional back-in angled parking spaces to the ocean side of Atlantic Avenue, across from where a road project eliminated several angled parking spaces in front of the borough’s three commercial properties.
Porter said the EV charging station installed in the parking lot at Borough Hall will soon come online for use by the public.
The charging station has passed inspection and signage ordered. The board also approved a resolution permitting the chief financial officer to set the rates for charging through ChargePoint.
“Once the signage comes in, the EV station will be up and running, hopefully in a few weeks,” Porter said.
Porter also said a new playground will be installed at the 33rd Avenue Recreation Complex in October. A donor has made a “sizeable donation” for the borough to install a 20- by 25-foot shade station at the playground. The project includes installation of new playground equipment and resurfacing the base. The borough will advertise for bids and a contract awarded at the end of September, Porter said.
The board also introduced an ordinance requiring property owners to ensure their single-family, two-family and rental properties built before 1978 be inspected for lead-based paint hazards. If lead-based paint hazards are detected, the owner must remediate the hazard and provide the municipality with a certification that the hazard no longer exists. Inspections will be required whenever a property is sold or at the time of a tenant turnover. The board also passed a resolution authorizing a shared services agreement for the Atlantic County Improvement Authority to perform the inspections for rental dwellings.
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