Jay Gillian announces his candidacy for mayor of Ocean City alongside Janet Galante, left, campaign treasurer, and Dottie McCrosson, his campaign manager. Press photo by Matthew Strabuk

OCEAN CITY - Amusement park owner Jay Gillian said Monday he wants to become Ocean City's next mayor.

Gillian, 45, announced his candidacy for the position in the May election in front of about 100 supporters at his new downtown campaign headquarters on the 800 block of Asbury Avenue - five doors down from City Hall.

"I just think there's been a lot of division between Council and the administration. I just want to bring that unity back," Gillian said following his announcement.

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Gillian, who owns Gillian's Wonderland Pier in Ocean City and the new Gillian's Funland of Sea Isle City, is the president of the Ocean City Board of Education and is the chairman-elect of Shore Memorial Hospital.

Interest in the mayor's seat has grown quickly.

Gillian, who lives near 20th Street, is the second person to announce his candidacy for mayor in the past week for an election still four months away.

Last week, Michael Hinchman, the president of civic group Fairness in Taxes, announced his candidacy for mayor on a slate with council at-large candidates Jim Tweed and Pete Guinosso.

Mayor Salvatore Perillo has not said yet whether he will seek reelection to a second term this year.

Candidates have until March 18 to file petitions.

Gillian said he wants to dedicate more to infrastructure to improve roads and drainage.

"But these projects have to be planned and prioritized--not just from an engineering standpoint but a financial standpoint," Gillian said in his speech to supporters. "And that hasn't been done."

The election is May 11 for Ocean City's nonpartisan election. Candidates do not run for a party.

The mayor's seat has a four-year term. There are also three at-large seats on the seven-member City Council up for election this year. The city, which has 14,756 full-time residents, currently has a $62 million budget.

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