Ship Bottom Allocates $4M for New Borough Hall

By GINA G. SCALA | Jul 03, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Ship Bottom — A new municipal complex in Ship Bottom moved one step closer to fruition last month as the borough council introduced an ordinance appropriating $4 million for the project at the existing site between 16th and 17th streets and the Boulevard.

Of the $4 million, the borough will cover the $200,000 down payment and the remaining $3.8 million will be bonded, according to Ordinance 2019-16.

“The improvement hereby authorized and the purpose for which the bonds or notes are to be issued is Phase II of the construction, to the east of the existing building, of the new Borough Hall, including, but not limited to, site work in connection with the entire site, construction of a new parking lot, installation of landscaping and sight lighting and all costs incurred in connection therewith, and including all work, services, and materials necessary,” the proposal states.

It also authorizes the borough chief financial officer to determine all matters in connection with bond notes issued in accordance with the measure, including selling part or all of the notes from time-to-time, at public or private sale and deliver them to purchasers once payment has been received. Any grant money received and allocated for the project will be applied as a direct payment or as payment of the bond.

Earlier this year, borough officials awarded a contract to architect Elliot W. Goldstein to head the project. Goldstein is under contract with the borough through Dec. 31. His firm was selected because borough officials wanted a different point-of-view after giving pre-Superstorm Sandy plans another look to determine if they are still viable, according to Councilman Joseph Valyo, who heads up the public property and community affairs committee. The new borough hall is to be built in front of the existing structure, making it closer to the Boulevard, he has said. Once the new building is complete, the old complex will be demolished and parking will be in the back of the building along Central Avenue.

Mayor William Huelsenbeck initiated the review of those pre-Sandy plans last year with an eye on getting the project going once again.

“It was up in the air – if the LBI School was going to be available. We would have used some portion of it; maybe shift the new building over there,” Huelsenbeck said in May, adding that in some respect the board’s indecision held back borough officials’ plans for the new municipal complex. “We’re good to go (now).”

In a 5-3-1 vote, the school board on June 18 approved multiple motions, including a previous recommendation to have a consolidation plan in place by Sept. 1, which could pave the way for a $7.2 million December referendum for rehabbing the LBI Grade School. Board President William Fenimore, Vice President Bonnie Picaro, members Georgene Hartmann, Eileen Bowker and John McMenamin all voted yes. Board members Kristy Raber, Colette Southwick and Marilyn Wasilewski voted no on all matters pertaining to school consolidation and the facilities plan for a December referendum. Board member James Donahower, whose seat representing Harvey Cedars is up this year, abstained.

Fenimore said the consolidation plan should be ready in time for discussion at the September board meeting. What happens after the discussion is up to the discretion of the board, he said, noting he doesn’t anticipate, at this time, that the Ethel Jacobsen School in Surf City would be shuttered prior to the end of the 2019-20 school year.

— Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

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