Belmar Borough Council Advances Infrastructure, Development, and Community Projects

The Belmar Borough Council addressed a series of community and infrastructure issues in their recent meeting, with a primary focus on Jersey Central Power & Light’s (JCP&L) new Energy Strong program, the renovation of the Taylor Pavilion, and local development projects. The council also discussed various community events, committee updates, and ordinance introductions, including the acquisition of new emergency equipment and the addition of a handicap parking space.

JCP&L’s Energy Strong program took center stage, as Robert Bryce, the regional external affairs coordinator, detailed the $900 million investment plan aimed at enhancing the electrical grid’s reliability and storm resilience. This program includes installing devices known as Trip Savers, standardizing voltages, and upgrading substations, all designed to improve service stability and capacity for residents. Bryce noted that the funding, reduced following a decision by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), was typically between 40-70% of the requested amount. Concerns were raised by the council regarding the affordability of the program for residents, as the average customer bill is projected to increase by 3.2% over a five-year period. The council members inquired about assistance for those struggling to pay their bills and highlighted long-standing issues with street lights. The scope of overhead power line upgrades and their potential to cause road closures were also discussed.

In addition to infrastructure, the council addressed the renovation of the Taylor Pavilion, including the decision to advertise for bids and the associated concession bid. The concession bid’s timing is contingent upon determining the exact square footage of the concession space. Architectural plans for the renovations are set to be completed soon, with the council considering making specifications available on the borough’s website. However, concerns about notifying bidders of potential changes remained.

Councilwoman Caitlin Donovan updated the assembly on Tourism Committee initiatives and urged content submissions for the upcoming newsletter. She also touched on the Harbor Commission’s work on charter language and the Environmental Commission’s efforts at the lake. Dr. Jodi Kinney from the Recreation Committee highlighted the Junior Guards program and an upcoming Easter egg hunt. Councilwoman Maria Rondinaro provided updates from the Belmar Housing Authority, confirming the completion of main elevator repair and plans for façade repairs. Rondinaro also reiterated the need for a promised crosswalk on 8th Avenue.

Mayor Gerald Buccafusco shared his experience at the Historical Society event and its role in preserving the town’s heritage. The meeting also celebrated various committee activities, ongoing projects, and community events, such as the Belmar Library events, the Irish Celebration, and the Belmar skate park fundraiser.

The council conducted a public session inviting comments on a resolution within the consent agenda. Following the session, the council adopted the resolutions, and the second reading and public hearing on ordinance 20241 took place. This ordinance, which was adopted, pertains to the funding for a 2024 ambulance and related equipment. Ordinance 20242, introducing a new handicap parking space, was also approved.

Public concerns were voiced by resident Amarie Janovich regarding the 11th Avenue firehouse and the potential relocation for additional parking and aesthetic considerations. The council acknowledged these concerns, stating that they were still reviewing options and awaiting more information. Janovich also highlighted the need for more parking at McClary Park to support an all-inclusive park project. The council recognized the parking challenges but expressed commitment to park improvements, including pickleball courts and a playground.

The meeting shifted to address development projects, specifically the Mediterranean project and properties being negotiated for development, which are linked to the town’s affordable housing obligations. These projects are still under negotiation, with upcoming sessions planned with development attorneys to further discuss these matters.

Lastly, the council resolved to hold an executive session to deliberate on pending or anticipated matters outside of public scrutiny.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Mayor:
Gerald Buccafusco
City Council Officials:
Mark Levis, Maria Rondinaro, Caitlin Donovan, Dr. Jodi Kinney

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