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Sea Bright Nearing Approval Of Funding For New Beach Pavilion, Police/Fire Building

SEA BRIGHT: The borough council has taken the first steps needed to fund the construction of a new municipal building and beach pavilion.

Three bond ordinances appropriating nearly $13 million and bonding $5.7 million for the two projects have been introduced by the Sea Bright Council. Councilmembers William Keeler, Bills and Lamia voted against their introduction on May 17 with Mayor Dina Long breaking the tie with her affirmative vote.

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.

Keeler said he disagreed with the decision to add borough hall components to the municipal building and was concerned with the overall cost of the projects.

Councilman Charles Rooney called paying the high price for the buildings a "tough pill to swallow," but said it would be in the town's best interests especially with the fact that FEMA is helping pay for the buildings.

"If we are shortsighted, we're doing the towns a disservice," Rooney said.

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. Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni said that even with the funding, it will still be a major project for Sea Bright

"This is the rebuilding of the town and its infrastructure" Verruni said. "It's a big undertaking and it's a lot of money even though we're receiving a great deal of money from FEMA and insurance."

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 the purpose of getting the bond ordinances introduced and eventually passed authorizes architect and the engineer to begin doing soil tests and preparing final construction documents that will be eventually come before the council before the projects are put out to bid.

All said, 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.

"That's not counting any additional revenues, and we are hopeful there will be other revenues generated through the items we've been discussing over the past couple weeks; the parking, the cell tower; but I don't want to build that into the project," Verruni said. "We have to go in eyes wide open that this is about the cost."

The cost to construct the community center/beach pavilion will not fall on the taxpayers.

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