December 1, 2011
I hope that everyone had a very nice Thanksgiving. It’s difficult to believe that Christmas is here again – but you can’t argue with Father Time! The good news is: If you plan on being in Sea Isle City this month, you’ll find a variety of holiday activities that will delight each member of your family. So, be certain to enjoy every moment you can during this wonderful season of giving because, as we all know, time flies by rapidly!
One of the many local events taking place in December is the much-anticipated opening of the new Sea Isle City branch of the Cape May County Library. After several minor construction delays, I am happy to report that the library’s Grand Opening Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, December 13, at 1:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend this historic event, which will be highlighted by the presence of many special guests. Joining us that day will be students from the Sea Isle City Public School, members of VFW Post 1963, elected officials from the County and many other familiar faces – and I hope to see you there as well.
Also this month, my co-workers at City Hall and I are hosting our 19th Annual Holiday Toy and Food Drive for local families in need. We began this year’s drive earlier than usual so we could help some folks better enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. Last week, with the help of VFW Post 1963 Commander Chick Haines and other fine members of our community, we were able to bring turkey dinners to thirteen local homes. Now, we are focusing our attention on Christmas, and we hope to make this year’s holiday campaign our most successful yet. Your donation of non-perishable food items, children’s toys, gift cards or cash will be greatly appreciated, and each item we collect will help brighten the Christmas of someone in need. Donations can be delivered to City Hall, City Council Chambers and several other locations around town through December 19. For more information, please phone 263-4461, ext. 245.
As the 2011 Holiday Season unfolds here in Sea Isle City, so too will many local improvement efforts, including Phase Two of the Beach to Bay Project along JFK Boulevard. As I mentioned in our last E-Newsletter, this project will result in larger sidewalks, updated landscaping and other worthwhile improvements – so please pardon our appearance during construction! For additional information about the Beach to Bay Project and other City improvements taking place this winter, please read the Project Updates below.
Smile…You’re in Sea Isle!
Mayor Leonard C. Desiderio
CITY COUNCIL MESSAGE:
At the November 29 City Council meeting, Council accepted a proposal from the Administration that will reduce our projected City employee health care costs by 10% in 2012. The Administration also presented a Fleet Management Report outlining the status of all City vehicles, including their age and use. This report was useful in evaluating our requirements in our Capital Planning process.
On Tuesday, November 29, we held our final Capital Planning Workshop, at which time we approved the City’s 2012 Capital Plan. The Capital Plan outlines our spending requirements by category and year-by-year through 2016. The total for General Capital was $24, 251,000; Water and Sewer’s total was $9,985,000.
Of the total numbers above, approximately $16 million will be spent improving our Water and Sewer systems and our roads. Water and sewer work and road reconstruction are the two most significant categories in our Capital Plan.
At our next meeting on December 13, at 10:00 a.m. in Council Chambers, there will be a presentation by the Tourism Commission regarding their 2012 plans and budget requirements. Also on December 13, we will have a second reading, public comment and final vote on the Fee Ordinance that was introduced on November 15. A copy of Fee Ordinance No. 1511 can be found on our City website.
As was previously mentioned, Council has asked the Sea Isle City Planning Board to review the impact on our current Commercial Zoning Ordinance, specifically if extensive development took place within the existing ordinance at four of Sea Isle’s major commercial properties. This review will begin during the Planning Board Meeting on January 9 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. All are welcome to attend that meeting and share their comments. The four properties up for review include Busch’s Restaurant, The Sea Isle Inn, the 63rd Street Shopping Area (i.e. the Acme Shopping Center) and The LaCosta Complex.
Best Regards from the Members of City Council
Capital Plan Update – For the past several months, the administration developed an updated 5-year capital plan to address infrastructure and public asset needs throughout the City. As has been the City’s procedure since the Mayor-Council form of government was established in 2007, the entire capital plan was revisited in order to review citywide priorities, assess progress to date, and re-establish priorities for the coming years. The 5-year plan was reviewed with City Council at public workshops on October 25th and November 29th, and council adopted the 2012-2016 plan at the conclusion of the November 29th meeting. While this plan is an important part of establishing the priorities for capital improvements, there remain several actions to be taken prior to implementing the projects identified in the plan. These steps include adoption of funding ordinances (which require public hearings), authorization by council to advertise the projects for bidding, public bidding of specific projects, and award by council of construction contracts. For a full explanation of the capital project process, you can visit the City’s website at www.seaislecitynj.us, go to the “Projects” tab at the top and scroll down to the Capital Project Process section. To view the adopted capital plan, you can also visit the website, go to the “Government” tab at the top, scroll down to “Administration” and then go to the capital plan link.
Highlights of the adopted plan include the following projects for 2012:
–$1,500,000 for streetscape improvements to JFK Boulevard, to be performed in conjunction with the County project to reconstruct the boulevard from the bridge to Landis Avenue. The streetscape improvements will include widened sidewalks with decorative pavers, decorative street lighting and landscaping. The concept plans for this project will be presented at the December 13th Council meeting.
–$500,000 for bulkhead improvements at 47th place (north and south side).
–$1,850,000 for citywide road reconstruction and storm drainage improvements, to be performed in conjunction with water and sewer utility work.
–$150,000 to reconstruct street end retaining walls along the promenade.
–$100,000 for replacement of the skate park equipment.
–$1,600,000 to continue with the sewer remediation and replacement of deteriorated sewer lines identified in the I & I study (described below), along with additional water line replacements.
North-End and Downtown Beach Replenishment Program – The project includes the placement of sand at several areas of the beach on the entire island, including portions of Strathmere and Sea Isle. Sea Isle’s project area is from 1st to 15th and 30th to 52nd Streets. Based on the most current information, the following is the tentative schedule for upcoming beach-fill work:
The previously anticipated arrival of the dredge was delayed due to ocean conditions down south. If the current forecast holds, the dredge will arrive here within the next week and beach-fill work will start in Strathmere between December 10th and 15th. Beach-fill at the north end of Sea Isle at 1st Street is expected to begin in the first half of January, 2012. After the contractor completes the north end between 1st and 15th Streets, their plan is to relocate the submerged pipeline (that travels from the dredge to the beach) from the north end to a point around 40th Street. Work will then be completed from 40th to 52nd Street. After 40th to 52nd Street, the City intends to have the beaches from 30th to 40th Street filled. The work between 30th and 40th street is optional at this point, and the City will have this section filled if there is available funding. While this looks favorable now, it should be understood that payment for beach-fill is based on the quantity of sand placed. In the event that the beaches in the base portion of the project (from 1st to 15th and 40th to 52nd) require additional fill, those areas must be completed to the designed guidelines in order for the city to be reimbursed by FEMA.
Therefore, until we get closer to the time of beach-fill and are able to determine the quantity of sand needed for beach-fill through surveys, we will not know with certainty our ability to award the option. Based on the current schedule, the downtown beach-fill will take place in the latter part of January through mid February. The beach-fill operation runs 24/7, and does not stop for any holiday (please see photo below of the JFK Beach near hi-tide).
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 work has started and will be completed by May of 2012. There will be disruptions to activities in the business area, but the City and the contractor have communicated with the business and homeowners in the affected area, and access to businesses will be available to the public (please see construction photos below).
Demolition of Existing Library & Beach Tag Facility and Conversion to Parking Lot – This project is currently under design, with demolition and construction bids scheduled to be received within the next two months. The work is expected to be performed during late winter and spring, in advance of the 2012 summer season.
Construction of Welcome Center Addition to the Community Lodge and Renovations of the Existing Lodge Facility and Site – The City Administration worked with the architect to revise the plans and specifications for the project without compromising the functionality of the facility. The project was re-advertised for bids on November 29th, with bids due on December 22nd. If bids are received within the City’s budget, a resolution to award a construction contract will be presented to City Council at their December 27th meeting.
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 has been completed, and the project has been advertised for construction bids, with the objective of presenting City Council with a resolution for award of a construction contract this month. Construction is planned to be performed over the winter in order to complete the project 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 City has been informed by the DEP that there may be more extensive testing needed due to the presence of certain chemicals in the lagoon sediments, which were identified through sampling and testing already performed as part of the permitting process. We hope to obtain guidance on this within the next two weeks, as this could impact the schedule and possibly necessitate moving the dredging project from spring of 2012 to fall of 2012.
Sewer and Road Reconstruction on Central Avenue (49th to 69th Street) – The City received bids for the project, and anticipates awarding a construction contract at the December 13th council meeting, contingent on approval of funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The City was previously informed that this project is the highest priority in the local USDA office and will be funded as soon as federal funds are released. The project will be performed in two phases: the first being from 49th to 61st Street (prior to the 2012 summer season); and the second phase from 61st to 69th Street (following the 2012 summer season). 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.
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. Utility work is scheduled to be performed over the fall and winter. Based on the most recent information provided by the County engineer, the paving of Landis Avenue from 54th to 69th Street will not take place until following the 2012 summer season.
Inflow and Infiltration (I & I) Remediation – The firm of Video Pipe Services, Inc. of Newfield, NJ, is in the process of performing 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 pipe, 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. The project is expected to be completed by March 2012.
Playground at JFK Boulevard – The newly installed playground at JFK Boulevard required replacement of the cushioned surface due to deficiencies in the recently completed contract work. The replacement was completed at no additional cost to the City, and the playground has been re-opened to the public (please see photo below of the new playground surface).