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Ocean City Council approves dredging contract, tables term limits for boards

Posted on November 9, 2022

Ocean City Council approved contracts for back bay dredging, roadwork on West Avenue and fast charges for electric vehicles, but delayed an ordinance about term limits on the city’s boards and commissions.

At Thursday’s meeting, council voted to table ordinance No. 22-16 that would have repealed a section that places term limits on the boards, commissions and committees appointed by the mayor and/or council who have served two successive full terms.

In December last year, debate arose about board and commission members who have served continuously for multiple terms.

Among the volunteer boards are the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Historical Preservation Commission, Environmental Commission, Housing Authority, Shade Tree Committee, Aviation Advisory Board, Tourism Development Commission, Library Board of Trustees, Healthy Living Advisory Board, Lifeguard Pension Commission, Local Assistance Board and Municipal Alliance Commission.

They have different compositions with varying numbers of members and lengths of term, some with alternates serving shorter terms than regular members. The boards and commissions and their members are listed on Ocean City’s website. They also show that terms on various boards expire in different years, that individually they are already staggered.

However, the city could be forced to fill a substantial number of vacancies at the end of any year given the number of boards and commissions.

There were competing concerns about term limits. Proponents on council and local citizens argued that would give more people the opportunity to serve and add some new and younger voices.

Opponents argued that many of the members had valuable experience that would be lost and because of the way the terms were set up, council and the administration could be forced to make a slew of appointments each year.

At the time, Councilwoman Karen Bergman suggested it would be best to have a mix of newcomers and experienced members.

The ordinance tabled Thursday would strike down term limits “in order to allow the mayor and City Council to continue to draw on the talents of Ocean City’s Boards, Authorities and Commissions for more than two (2) successive terms in appropriate situations.”

The resolution was tabled after City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson noted some members of council wanted more time to study it.

The consent agenda with multiple items was approved in a 5-1 vote Thursday. Councilman Tom Rotondi was the lone no vote and Council vice president Bergman was not at the meeting. Among the items approved in the consent agenda:

— A $1.796 million contract with South State Inc. for road and drainage improvements to West Avenue from 18th to 26th streets. South State was the lowest responsible bidder among four who sought the contract. The highest bid came in at $2.019 million.

The project is associated with a New Jersey Department of Transportation grant. Along with milling and paving that section of West Avenue, it will add drainage pipes and inlets, adjust road grades to improve drainage and minimize tidal flooding, along with curb, sidewalk and ADA improvements.

–– A contract for back bay mechanical dredging to JPC Group for $2,326,440. The dredging includes North Point Lagoon, Snug Harbor, Glen Cove, Glenwood Bayfront, Ocean City Lagoon, Clubhouse/Bluefish Lagoon.

There were four bidders, two higher, including Scarborough Marine Group LLC and Trident Piling Co. LLC, and one lower, Mount Construction Co. Inc. at $2.922 million. The city decided JPC Group was the lowest responsible bidder.

The work is expected to be complete before the end of March.

In a related decision, the agenda approved a contract with Anchor QEA for construction management and inspection of the back bay dredging program for $153,800. This contract was not bid out.

–– A $474,000 contract with Timothy P. Bryan Electric Co. of Trenton to install four ChargePoint Express 250 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations as part of the city’s participation in the New Jersey Regional Cooperative.

The stations will be installed at the Transportation Center at Ninth Street and Haven Avenue.

The city was awarded a $150,000 grant to help pay for two of the DC fast chargers that can each charge two vehicles to 80 percent in 30 to 45 minutes.


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