Now that Hurricane Irene has passed, I am happy to report that Sea Isle City is open for business and ready for the 2011 Labor Day Weekend and the many exciting autumn events that will follow. I want to thank all of our emergency response and support personnel for their efforts in advance of and during the storm event. The main reason Sea Isle City and the rest of Cape May County fared so well is due to the fact we were fully prepared. I also want to thank everyone for their cooperation during this crisis, including the vast majority of our residents and visitors that evacuated the island when called to do so.
Sea Isle City was ready for Irene due to a well planned and practiced emergency operations plan, coupled with tremendous cooperation from the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management and the hands-on leadership shown by Governor Chris Christie. The governor conducted numerous conference calls with all of New Jersey’s mayors to update us on the storm’s progress and the coordinated efforts of the various agencies to ensure that the local, county and state governments were acting in sync. I was able to speak to the governor several times during this event, and on Sunday following the storm I accompanied the governor on a tour of Cape May County. Now that Hurricane Irene is a memory, we can look ahead with confidence knowing that we’re well prepared for any emergency. Certainly, after a week that included an earthquake and a hurricane, we’ve earned a relaxing Labor Day weekend.
Before the summer ends, I would like to thank the numerous volunteers who ensure that many of our annual events are a success. Most people probably don’t realize just how many individuals step-up to the plate each year to offer their time for our community, but without our volunteers Sea Isle City wouldn’t be the wonderful resort it is today.
Among the many people who deserve our thanks are those who volunteer with the Sea Isle City Tourism Commission, such as the members of the Fabrico family and the many others who freely give their time throughout the summer months helping-out at local events. There are also many teenagers who volunteer for the Recreation Department’s summer playground program each year – and they also do a great job and deserve our thanks.
Additionally, we have a number of local organizations that also make a big difference in our community with their efforts. One of those groups is the Italian American Club, who, led by Dan Otto, sponsored Sea Isle’s 22nd Annual Special Olympics Crabbing Competition on August 22. With the help of the members of the Townsend Inlet Yacht Club and the Yacht Club of Sea Isle City (the folks who host the crabbing tournament on their club’s docks each year), this year’s Special Olympics competition and luncheon was a very special day for local Olympians with developmental disabilities.
Like all of Sea Isle’s civic groups, the Environmental Commission is filled with wonderful volunteers who also deserve our thanks. Each summer, the commission’s Beachcomber Guided Tours entertain and educate thousands of people with interesting facts about the local eco-system, proving that Sea Isle City is a community that truly cares about Mother Nature. (By the way, the Environmental Commission’s Annual Fall Beach Clean-up event is Saturday, October 15).
Additionally, I would also like to thank the members of the Sea Isle City Chamber of Commerce and Revitalization, who work diligently to bring us many popular attractions all year, including the Sea Isle City’s Got Talent contest, our weekly Farmer’s Market, Fall Festival, Octoberfest, the Polar Bear Plunge and many other exciting events. –My hat is off to each of you!
I could go on and on listing many other people and organizations who also generously give their time for our community – from our local Ambulance Corps and Volunteer Fire Department to the good folks at AARP, who always work hard for others. Please know that we are grateful for each of our volunteers, and we realize that they are a big reason why Sea Isle City is such a great destination.
Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!
Mayor Leonard C. Desiderio
CITY COUNCIL MESSAGE:
Now that Hurricane Irene has passed, City Council would like to thank our residents and visitors because a very large percentage of you followed the governor’s orders and evacuated the island. We also would like to thank our City employees for their efforts in preparing for the storm – and also for providing excellent communications with all of our property owners.
During our August 23 City Council meeting, Council certified the 2011-2012 Best Practice Inventory as outlined by the State of New Jersey. This new program, which is in its second year, is one of the key factors that the State uses to determine the amount of State aid given to local municipalities. Areas include: general management, financial standards, budget preparation & presentation, health insurance, personnel practices, public safety, energy practices, and municipal/school relations. The City’s score was 88%, which allows us to maintain the maximum level of State aid that we qualify for.
Also during that meeting, the City Engineer made a presentation on “Inflow and Infiltration” of our City’s sanitary sewer system (inflow is storm water that enters our sewer system through various ways, i.e. manhole covers, etc.; infiltration is the ground water that penetrates into the sewer system – all of which must then go through the sewer treatment process unnecessarily). This multi-step study, which has been going on for the last three years, concludes with specific recommendations for various repairs in our sanitary sewer system. Council approved a resolution authorizing the awarding of a contract to complete the first stage of these recommendations, valued at $618,000 with an anticipated completion date of Spring 2012. This will have positive impact on our charges from the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority and it will also have positive environmental impacts. The first phase will not require any major digging-up of streets and will be accomplished through various lining and grouting techniques. The next phase will require digging-up streets and actually replacing sewer pipes.
At the September 27 Council meeting, the City Engineer will present a master plan for upgrading where required all our utility needs within the City. Our second phase of the Inflow and Infiltration study will also be discussed at that time.
We would like to thank the Sea Isle City Beautification Committee for creating the concepts for the City’s north-end entrance from Strathmere. We also would like to thank our Public Works employees for converting those concepts into a reality. We have received many positive comments for a job well done!
The Sea Isle City Environmental Commission is now accepting nominations for their 2011 Beautification Awards. Anyone can nominate a home or business that has recently improved its exterior appearance by obtaining an application form at City Hall or on the City’s website, www.seaislecitynj.us , and returning it to City Hall by September 7. Judging will take place during the second week of September, and the awards will be presented to property owners on September 18 during Fall Family Festival Weekend.
Our annual Capital Planning Workshop will take place on October 25 in Council Chambers at 2:00 p.m. If you have any suggestions concerning capital projects, please feel free to pass them on to the City’s Administration or any City Council member prior to the workshop – or show up at the workshop on October 25.
Best Regards from the Members of City Council
North-End and Downtown Beach Replenishment Program – The State of New Jersey took bids for the project on August 10, and the low bidder was Weeks Marine of Cranford New Jersey. The project is being performed in conjunction with the State and the community of Upper Township, and includes several areas of the beach on the entire island. Sea Isle’s project area is from 1st to 15th and 30th to 52nd Streets. The total cost for Sea Isle’s portion of the project will depend on the final amount of sand placed on the beaches. Based on the bid prices, it is expected that the cost will be about $5,000,000. The work is expected to start in November and be completed by January of 2012.
Phase 2 of Excursion Park, Beach to Bay Corridor – This project involves streetscape improvements to the public corridor along JFK Boulevard from the Promenade to Landis Avenue and widening of the sidewalks along each side of this corridor by 3 feet. The project is scheduled to be advertised for construction bids in early September in order to be completed prior to the 2012 summer season.
Demolition of existing Library/Beach Tag facility and conversion to Parking Lot – This project will be prepared for demolition and construction bids to be received within the next three months, in order for the work to be performed during the coming fall, winter, and spring, in advance of the 2012 summer season.
Construction of a Welcome Center addition to the Community Lodge and renovations of the existing facility and site – This project is scheduled to be advertised for construction bids in September, in order to complete the new Welcome Center and Lodge renovations prior to Memorial Day, 2012.
Improvements to T.I. Park – The existing ramps and decks will be rehabilitated in order to make access to the park and pavilion compliant with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Design work is in progress, and this project will be completed prior to the 2012 summer season.
Lagoon Dredging – Environmental and engineering work continues in order to secure permits from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The project is expected to go out to bid this fall in order to accomplish the dredging this coming fall and winter.
Public Library at 48th and Central – The new Cape May County Public Library is nearly completed. Move-in efforts are underway, and opening to the public is now anticipated to be in October. The building will also be home to the Sea Isle City Historical Museum. Stay tuned for notices on the grand opening.
Marina Building – The exterior roof and wall panel construction has been completed, with interior work in progress. Upon completion, the building will provide much needed facilities for marina maintenance and operations along with storage, and it will also include greatly improved public restroom facilities. (Please see photos of Marina Building below).
Sewer and Road Reconstruction on Central Avenue (49th to 69th Street) – The
City is awaiting final approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of grant funding for approximately 20% of the cost of the project. At an estimated total project cost of 3.2 million dollars, this will provide the City with grant funding of over $600,000. The additional cost of the project will be funded by USDA through low interest loans. The plan is to start construction in the fall of this year, with the project scheduled to be performed in two phases – the first being from 49th to 61st St.; and the second phase from 61st to 69th St. The project will rehabilitate or replace the deteriorated underground sewer system, as well as provide for reconstruction of the entire one mile stretch of roadway. (Please see photos of Central Avenue below).
Utility Reconstruction on Landis Avenue (54th to 69th Street) – This project will provide for water and sewer line replacement in advance of the County project to resurface Landis Avenue from 54th to 69th Street.
Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) Remediation – On August 23, the City Council awarded a construction contract in the amount of $611,124 to Video Pipe Services, Inc. of Newfield, NJ, for work associated with internal repairs of sewer pipelines and manholes throughout the City. The need for this work was identified over the past three years through a comprehensive investigation and analysis of the City’s sewer system. Sewer systems are prone to both inflow (overland water entering the sewer system through manhole covers and other surface openings in the system); and infiltration (entry of groundwater into pipelines through cracks, deteriorated pipes and pipe joints). The effects of I&I are symptoms of deterioration of the sewer system that must be corrected to avoid more problematic maintenance issues and potential failure of the sewer system. I&I is also costly, in that the City must pay for the unnecessary treatment of water that enters the sanitary sewer system. This is the first phase of a multi-year citywide sewer maintenance and improvement project that will ensure the continued viability of the City’s vital sewer infrastructure.