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What’s The Rush?

Let me premise this by saying it is made on the assumption that like what happened in Avon, FEMA will decline to pay any part of the cost of rebuilding the boardwalk pavilions.  Certainly the justification they gave to Avon would apply equally to Belmar.  And unlike what we witnessed last spring, I haven’t heard any indignation or threats coming from Christie over the feds’ hesitation to pay for every thing we ask them to.

You know we rushed the boardwalk.  The excuse given was that is was important not to miss out on the June tourism money.  Turned out it rained the entire month of June.  If we had taken a little more time we could have had a better boardwalk.  We could have used the ipe wood like many other towns did instead of those crappy plastic boards.  Maybe we could have incorporated some sort of bike lane into the plan.  And, of course, we could have sent all of the work out to bid and we could have re-bid the Precise Construction cost over-run.  We could have maybe saved quite a lot of money.

I and others have recently suggested to the mayor that we should slow down and be a little more contemplative when it comes to rebuilding the pavilions.  The ocean will still be there next year and the year after.  We still have no idea what the borough’s finances will look like next year after all the FEMA claims are paid (or not.)  Prudence would suggest that we know how much money we have, and how much we owe, before we start borrowing millions more for projects that are not essential.  If, at this point, we should be borrowing any money at all it should be to fix the flooding problems that hang like a black cloud over the lives of the residents of the Silver Lake, Lake Como and Rhode Island Point areas.

A more important reason to slow down is the fact that there is a lot of community opposition to the plan as it is currently configured.  Doherty needs to find out what the people of Belmar think about his plan and not rely only on the yes men and women that make up the mayoral entourage.  I hear the mayor will be finding out loud and clear at next Wednesday’s meeting.  If you live in town you should try to be there.

The excuse given for the pavilion rush….everything is a rush with these guys….is that the FEMA offer expires in 18 months or somewhere thereabouts.  Well if what happened in Avon happens here, and there’s little reason to think it won’t, then there ain’t gonna be no FEMA money.  So the 18 month deadline is meaningless.  In light of that, why don’t we take a deep breath, find out what the people actually want, find out what the funding options are (I have suggested looking for corporate sponsorship), and then proceed based on what we can afford.

You know a lot of beach towns don’t even have pavilions.  Their streets are not exactly lined with the dead bodies of the victims of having no pavilions.  However if the consensus of the populace is to rebuild the pavilions, and we determine we can afford it, then we can start making plans.  But I am fairly certain that the majority of the people don’t want any fifty foot high “marquis” buildings over there and I am absolutely certain that nobody outside the mayor’s bubble wants anyone serving liquor at the pavilions.



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