Gillian Touts Ocean City’s Finances, Unveils $79.9 Million Municipal Budget

first_imgBy Donald WittkowskiMayor Jay Gillian on Thursday night touted Ocean City’s strong finances, tax-friendly reputation and ambitious capital improvement program during a State of the City address that serves as the foundation for his re-election campaign this year.Gillian, who is seeking his third term in the May 8 municipal election, also unveiled his proposed $79.9 million budget for 2018. The budget will add a penny to the local tax rate while financing an array of construction projects that address the city’s critical infrastructure needs.Speaking before City Council, Gillian called on the governing body to continue to work with him to stimulate economic growth, promote tourism and build projects that will “improve our infrastructure and way of life.”“The great news is the state of the city is strong. And although it is strong, we still have challenges,” he said.Gillian stressed that he wants to maintain “the first-class services people come to expect in Ocean City – in the most cost-effective manner possible.”“As mayor, I will make sure our city is clean, safe and family-friendly and will commit the resources to make that happen,” he said.He also used his address to outline a series of economic achievements during his administration that are expected to position the town for further growth in 2018 and years to come.Road and drainage improvements, beach replenishment projects, the Boardwalk’s reconstruction and the dredging of the shallow back bays will all pay dividends as the city looks to make itself even more appealing to residents and tourists, he said.“We’ve tackled major repairs to every part of Ocean City, and the work continues,” he said. “All of the people who live here, own property here or vacation here share a love of Ocean City.”In the past two years, in particular, Gillian has placed a heavy emphasis on capital projects to catch up on what he has described as the city’s aging and long-neglected infrastructure.He noted that during his eight years as mayor, the city has completely rebuilt more than 18 percent of the town’s 110 miles of roads and alleys. More than 25 percent of the streets will have been repaved when the city completes the most recent series of road and drainage projects, he said.This year, major road and drainage improvements will target flooding that occurs from 26th to 34th streets, between West Avenue and Bay Avenue. The city is also launching new drainage projects in flood-prone neighborhoods from Second Street to Eighth Street, between West Avenue and the bay. On Feb. 8, Council approved the mayor’s $100 million, five-year capital plan, a sweeping blueprint for construction projects that will span from the beaches to the Boardwalk to the bay. The capital plan calls for $38.7 million worth of projects in 2018 alone. On Thursday night, Council approved a $5.7 million bond ordinance to finance the first round of projects.“The city continues to experience strong tax-base growth. We’ve added more than $100 million in ratables in each of the past four years. That makes this an ideal time to complete this ambitious list of capital projects,” Gillian said.City Council will review the proposed $79.9 million municipal budget before voting on it in the next two months.Separate from the capital plan is the city’s 2018 municipal budget. Gillian gave Council the first glimpse of his proposed budget while delivering his State of the City address.Council will scrutinize the budget in coming weeks as it prepares to formally introduce it on March 22 during the first of two votes required for the spending plan. A final vote and public hearing are tentatively scheduled for April 26.The proposed $79.9 million budget is 1.5 percent higher than the 2017 spending plan and adds a penny to the local tax rate. The owner of a $500,000 home would pay an extra $50 in local taxes under the budget.Gillian said the city’s property tax rate remains low overall, at 0.79 percent. Emphasizing his point, he cited a NJBIZ story that called Ocean City “the most tax-friendly municipality in New Jersey for retirees.”“I’d like to stress that conservative financial planning will always be a priority of mine,” he said.In other business Thursday night, Council honored three leaders of the Ocean City school district by presenting them with proclamations recognizing their achievements.Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Taylor, American Sign Language Teacher Amy Andersen and Ocean City High School Student Council President Nora Faverzani are all “amazing women” who have made the Ocean City school district one of the best in the state, the Council members said.Taylor has been named New Jersey’s Superintendent of the Year and is a candidate for National Superintendent of the Year honors. Andersen has been selected as New Jersey’s Teacher of the Year and is a finalist for National Teacher of the Year. The winners will be announced in the spring.Faverzani, meanwhile, has been named State Board of Education student representative for 2018. The 16-year-old junior is the daughter of former Ocean City Councilwoman and former Cape May County Freeholder Susan Sheppard, who is now a Superior Court judge.“Nora Faverzani, what a rock star,” Councilman Michael DeVlieger said. “She’s somebody to watch. She’s going to do great things in her life.”Taylor and Andersen also were praised by the Council members and Mayor. DeVlieger called Taylor “world class.” Council President Peter Madden said Andersen has inspired countless students in her American Sign Language class and helped to make Ocean City a deaf-friendly community.Speaking for the three women, Taylor thanked the mayor and Council for their support of the school district. She said the district has benefited immensely from all of the hard work invested by the community.“We strive every day to make sure we have the best possible educational system for our students,” Taylor said.Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Taylor, Ocean City High School Student Council President Nora Faverzani and American Sign Language Teacher Amy Andersen, center of group, receive honors from City Council and the mayor. Mayor Jay Gillian accuses John Flood of “stringing together documents from unrelated projects to manufacture false conclusions.”last_img read more

Szczesny lacks respect – AVB

first_imgTottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has insisted criticism by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will have no impact on his side’s quest for Champions League football, which continues at Chelsea. Following the Gunners’ 1-0 win at QPR on Saturday, which followed on from Spurs victory over Southampton, goalkeeper Szczesny claimed their bitter rivals “do not have enough quality” to finish ahead of them. “He is entitled to his opinion. It is absolutely fine. You don’t expect love from an Arsenal player to Tottenham player. If it touches a bit lack of respect, it is normal in a rivalry,” Villas-Boas said. “I think it would have been a little more tolerable if it had come from a genuine Arsenal fan. “Coming from an Arsenal player, he is an Arsenal player who is probably only passing by to another club, or who is not going to stay there for life. In the end if he means exactly those words from the heart.. he doesn’t, for sure. “I wouldn’t say that an Arsenal fan (player) that has just arrived in that club for the last couple of years is entitled to so much hatred towards Tottenham like he seems to have.” Spurs head to Stamford Bridge in fifth place, but just two points behind Arsenal and three from Chelsea. Villas-Boas, 35, was sacked by Chelsea in March 2012 only nine months after they had paid Porto some £13million compensation to bring him back to the club where he worked as part of Jose Mourinho’s coaching team. The Portuguese, however, insists there will be nothing “special” about the return which will be the first since his departure. “It is a club which I have gone past,” said the 35-year-old, who was appointed by Spurs last July as Harry Redknapp’s successor. “I have good and bad memories like everyone else, but it was a period which did not finish the way I would have liked.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

MLAX : Syracuse to travel to No. 3 Duke in NCAA tournament 1st round

first_imgSyracuse will face No. 3 Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Durham, N.C., on Saturday.The game is a rematch of the Big City Classic on April 1, when Duke defeated Syracuse 12-10.The Orange (9-7) earned an automatic bid to the tournament after winning the Big East tournament championship on Saturday. SU struggled to a 7-7 record during the regular season that included just one win over a ranked opponent, then-No. 10 Princeton, and went into the postseason on the NCAA tournament bubble. But the Orange played arguably its two best games of the season to defeat Villanova, 15-6, and St. John’s, 12-4, in the conference tournament.Syracuse will be making its fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance.Duke (13-4) boasts an impressive resume with wins over top-10 opponents North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. The Blue Devils won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDuke was rewarded with a home game at Koskinen Stadium at noon on Saturday against the Orange.Loyola (14-1) received the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. Johns Hopkins, Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia, Massachusetts, and North Carolina round out the top eight seeds in the 16-team tournament. No. 6 UMass is the only undefeated team in the field.In each of the last four seasons, the Orange was a top-three seed and won two national championships in 2008 and 2009. But in Syracuse’s trips the last two years, the team was upset in the first round and quarterfinals, [email protected]  Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: [email protected]center_img Commentslast_img read more