Ocean City proposes $5M Bond
for Public Works Building

   

September 24, 2003
By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer

OCEAN CITY - City Council on Tuesday introduced an ordinance to borrow $5.3 million to build a new public works center designed by Garrison Architects of Mt. Laurel, NJ..

Meanwhile, developer Jack L. Snyder and Associates this week offered the city nearly that much to buy the two blocks where the new building will go. Solicitor Gerald Corcoran said the offer was moot because the land - at least for the moment - is not for sale. "If it was $1 billion, you couldn't accept it," he said.

The city wants to consolidate six different buildings in one new, two-story center at 12th Street and Haven Avenue. One in five full-time city employees works in this department, paving roads, cutting grass and repairing or replacing whatever breaks on the island.

Bonding for the 42,500-square-foot building has been postponed several times, most recently last year when the city opted instead to dredge lagoons and replace the Boardwalk between 12th and 14th streets.

Public Works Director George Savastano said the building is needed because many of his employees' workplaces are falling apart. Buildings such as a converted 1920s dairy are unusable for all but storage because they are in such bad condition.

Council voted 4-2 to introduce the bond. A public hearing will be scheduled next month."It's worth every penny," Councilman Ron Denney said.

Councilmen Ray Jones and Jody Alessandrine dissented. Alessandrine said the city's taxes have increased significantly since the project was proposed several years ago."It's been said that $5.3 million is affordable for us. I think zero is even more affordable," he said.

The city has spent $1.3 million to buy land, draw up engineering documents and prepare the site. Some residents want the city to build at 46th Street and West Avenue.

Business Administrator Richard Deaney said postponing the project could cost the city more in rent for temporary trailers or renovations to dilapidated workplaces. This project is a priority, he said.The immediate tax impact would be minimal because the city has planned for the expense in its budget and long-range capital plan, he said."Mark my words tonight," he said. "If you don't spend it on this purpose, you'll spend it on something else."

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