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Today is Friday, December 6, 2019

Sea Bright Council Approves Funding For New Beach Pavilion, Police/Fire Building

SEA BRIGHT: The borough council out the funding in place to finance the construction of two major municipal buildings.

Three bond ordinances appropriating nearly $13 million and bonding $5.7 million for a new municipal building and beach pavilion were adopted by the Sea Bight Council by a 4-2 vote on June 1. Councilmembers William Keeler and John Lamia voted against their adoption and stated that the price of the projects were too high.

"I am all in favor of creating new facilities; my no vote reflects the dollars," Keeler said.

"I agree we need to move forward...but I do believe the cap is too big," Lamia said.

Councilman Charles Rooney said the buildings represent significant progress the borough has made since Hurricane Sandy.

"We have an opportunity to move forward like we've never moved forward before," Rooney said. "We cannot leave this situation the way it is."

The 8,690-square-foot community Center/beach pavilion, which will have a library, lifeguard station, storage space, rental space, beach lockers and bathrooms on the east side of the borough parking lot.

The Municipal Building will house the borough's police and fire departments as well as its office of emergency management, borough hall and bays for its department of public works vehicles.

FEMA and insurance and the borough's beach access fund will cover roughly half the cost, leaving about a $7.3 million cost for the municipality.

The tax impact on the owner of an average home in the borough valued at $500,000 would be an increase of $250 on their tax bill to help fund the municipal building project at its current cost. The cost to construct the community center/beach pavilion will not fall on the taxpayers.

Borough Administrator Verruni said the cost of the projects can still decrease is the council decides to remove certain aspects or go with cheaper materials in some of the design features. He said other revenue streams such as paid parking and revenue from a proposed cell tower could help lower the cost as well.

Several residents spoke during the meeting to show their support for and against the bonding for the two buildings.

Mike O'Shea said he did not see any other way for the buildings to be constructed.

"It's important to go forward with this bond issue fore the fire, first aid and police," O'Shea said.

Others, like Tom Largey, said the tax increase associated with the projects is too high.

"I don't think our taxes should be raised to build something extravagant," Largey said.

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