Brigantine’s Republican Club has scheduled a public meeting Monday to discuss a variety of issues in advance of the city’s Wednesday council meeting.
The latter meeting will include debate over contentious topics such as maintenance of the municipal golf course and the new location for a dog park.
In recent months, city officials have considered the future of the golf course as repair costs mount and revenues decline. The key disagreements revolve primarily around which repairs are necessary and who will ultimately pay for them.
Last month, City Council approved relocating the city’s dog park — which was abruptly closed in June — to a parcel next to the Community Center. Some residents have raised objections , saying that the new location is currently used for sports practice and that it’s too close to the center’s entrance.
Mayor Phil Guenther, a Republican, said he and Councilman Andrew Simpson will use the Monday meeting to discuss the golf course, the newly appointed interim public safety director and other financial issues directly with the public. All citizens, regardless of political affiliation, are welcome to attend, he said.
“We have meetings throughout the year, but there are some issues that are in the forefront and have long-term impact on the entire community,” he said.
Guenther said he believes the council’s Democratic majority, which took power after November’s elections, has moved too quickly in seeking a consultant for golf course renovations. He also disagrees with the hiring of a public safety director in place of appointing chiefs to the city’s beach patrol, fire and police departments.
The city should consider all options, Guenther said. For instance, he believes the city could perform some of the golf course work internally, at no additional cost.
Councilman Tony Pullella, a Democrat, said a golf course architect volunteered to study the course and provide council with a report free of charge. Similarly, he has asked City Engineer Ed Stinson to make recommendations. Both reports are expected by Wednesday’s meeting, he said.
Pullella, who’s part of a steering committee — along with Simpson — tasked with the golf course issue, has recommended the city perform engineering and architectural studies to determine exactly what will be needed and how much it will cost. From there, he said, the city should lease the golf course to a third-party operator who would pay for the improvements.
“I’d like to move forward with the engineering because those things need to be done regardless whoever does the work,” he said.
As for the Republican Club’s meeting, Pullella said, he plans to attend.
“It’s not our meeting, but it’s open to everyone and I’m part of everyone,” he said.
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