Longport continues to seek easements for its dune project amid uncertainty over how Margate could affect its prospects.
Borough Engineer Dick Carter said one private owner has already signed an easement that would allow dune construction to begin along his beachfront property. Another is talking with the borough's attorney and three others have been unresponsive.
The goal is to be prepared when the final agreement is passed down for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin work, Carter said. So far, the project should be funded at 100 percent, but no formal agreement has been drafted.
"When the final agreement is offered to us, (if) we're not prepared to execute that agreement, then we're going to be dropped from that list and another municipality is going to replace us," he said. "That's why we're very active in the process."
However, the future of the project may be affected by Margate's decision on whether to allow the dunes to be built along its beach. Carter said it's uncertain how that may affect Longport, but it's important to continue.
In Longport, a resolution to approve easements at seven municipal-owned properties failed to receive a second at Wednesday's meeting, where one of three commissioners was absent.
Commissioner Jim Leeds, who declined to second the resolution, said he wants more information about the easements, particularly where the properties are located.
"I have mixed feelings," he said. "I need to know a little more about them and see what the Army Corps of Engineers has designed."
Mayor Nicholas Russo said the dunes are needed to protect the borough. The issue will come up again at the next commission meeting, he said.
"My position is very clear: I'm responsible for public health, public safety and the welfare of all my constituents," he said. "Good leadership must act for the greater good."
Meanwhile, Carter said, the commission approved an additional $2,500 to its current $9,250 contract with Modelle Plan Studio, of Somers Point. The firm has completed the design work on window and HVAC upgrades for the Borough Hall administrative offices. A request for bids on the project should go out next month, Carter said.
That design is part of a larger plan to renovate the historic Borough Hall, formerly the Betty Bacharach Home for Afflicted Children. Once completed, the records room would move to the third floor and the HVAC unit would take its place on the second floor to avoid flooding from future storms.
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