Tuckerton Mayor Supports Elementary School Referendum

Sep 14, 2016

Tuckerton Elementary School Superintendent and Business Administrator Janet Gangemi came to the Sept. 6 Tuckerton Borough council meeting to give another presentation on the $3.6 million referendum planned for Sept. 27.

Gangemi explained that of the $3.6 million, Tuckerton taxpayers would be paying only on about $1.2 million in bonds for the next 25 years as the district is getting $1.28 million in state aid for the project and also has $250,000 in capital funds set aside.

The school needs to redesign the parking lot to make a U-shaped drive so cars can line up to discharge and pick up students safely on school property rather than on the Marine Street sidewalk. Buses will discharge their passengers at the Clay Street parking lot.

Because of state rules that require storm water recharge under the macadam, the redesigned parking lot will take one third of the cost of the referendum.

The redesign will also add 15 parking spots to the school property.

If passed, the referendum would also pay for heightened security as it shifts the main entrance south next to the new drive, and a new main office will have better control over visitors. Two new lifts would be added to the school to make it Americans with Disabilities Act compliant. A new Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics lab would be constructed in part of the current media center, and offices would be redesigned and realigned for better use without losing a classroom.

Tuckerton Mayor Sue Marshall was a teacher at TES for many years and is in full support of passing the referendum. “I am blown away that you have done so much by redesigning the space and reusing existing space.”

Marshall said the cost would be about $6 a month to the average taxpayer in the borough.

“We have a beautiful school in Tuckerton; it’s like a private school where children get individual attention.”

Gangemi said, “Whether this comes to fruition or not, we have also applied for three more grants.” With the help of Tuckerton Business Administrator Jenny Gleghorn, the school applied for an NJDOT Safe Routes to School Grant. The school administration also applied for an OceanFirst grant of $10,000 and a $15,000 grant from KaBoom community built playgrounds.

If the voters approve the referendum by voting in their usual voting districts on Tuesday, Sept. 27, then the construction would begin in the summer of 2017 and be completed in time for the school year to begin. “The good thing about this project is construction can go on all parts of the building at the same time.”

Committeeman John Schwartz noted the borough “dodged a major bullet” when Hurricane Hermine went farther east out to sea. The mayor said the borough’s Office of Emergency Management, headed by Marilynn Kent, public works, police and all the first responders in town did their part to prepare for a storm, and it was “good practice.”

Schwartz said bills sponsored by 9th District legislators DiAnne C. Gove and Brian E. Rumpf in the Assembly (A-1178) and by Sen. Christopher J. Connors in the Senate (S-925) dealing with dredging of lagoons has been sent on to the Environment and Solid Waste Committees.

The bill authorizes a municipality with a lagoon community to have the waterways dredged and the dredged material properly disposed of for the purpose of maintaining transportation by boat throughout the lagoon community. The bill authorizes the municipality to finance the dredging and disposal through the levy (tax) of a special assessment on any property owners who benefit from the dredging, or by issuing bonds for the dredging as a capital improvement. He urged residents in Tuckerton and other waterfront communities to support the bills.

The council approved adding additional architectural services to the $1.5 million New Jersey Economic Development Association grant that is funding reconstruction of the new town hall and the police station. The additional work done by CWB Architectural was for changes in the police department for cell phone reception in the processing room and some changes to the air conditioning vents.

The police department is finishing up with a state accreditation from the Rodgers Group, and its representative, Mark Dietrich was recently at the municipal complex. At that time, Gleghorn asked him if the police department needed any renovations to comply with state regulations.

Police Chief Michael Caputo said the department and Lt. Chris Anderson in particular, have been working hard on the accreditation, completing 47 new policies and disseminating 43 of these. “Out of 105 standards, we have 46 proven, and we have 59 standards to be proven,” said Caputo. “According to the Rodgers Group project manager, we’re ahead of schedule and should be completed by January of 2017. There are two big policies, firearms and evidence policy, that are very detailed and take the most time.”

Committeeman Ron Peterson read the police report for August: The police responded to 46 incidents, resulting in 27 arrests, one for DWI and five domestic incidents. There were 238 motor vehicle stops and 176 summonses issued.

The borough has a drop box for unused or old prescriptions in the hall outside the police office. On Oct. 5 from 9 to 11 a.m. the borough will have a “Coffee with a Police Officer” event in the old borough hall, 140 Main St.

Councilwoman Doris Mathisen said construction in the borough seems to be slowing down. There were 17 construction permits issued in August and 51 inspections completed for a total of $12,274 in revenue. Code enforcement did 70 on-site inspections. The council adopted a resolution placing property maintenance liens on six properties for a total of  $3,958. The liens will pay for work the borough’s public works employees did to clean up individual properties whose owners had been issued violation notices but ignored them.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

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