Ventnor’s Capital Improvement Program Helps Guide Spending

Keeping a city up and running as efficiently as possible takes effort and planning. As a way to make this process as effective as possible, Ventnor commissioned James M. Rutala and Associates and Arthur Ponzio to develop a Capital Improvement Plan for Ventnor. While a Capital Improvement Plan may be designed to forecast any period, it generally extends beyond the current operating cycle or administration and usually covers a three-to five-year time frame.

A Capital Improvement Plan has many important benefits, including:

• It allows for a comprehensive evaluation of all potential projects simultaneously
• It allows local government to focus on maintaining infrastructure in a systematic and timely way
• It can sometimes help to stabilize debt and consolidate projects, which helps to reduce borrowing costs
• It helps communicate priorities to residents and demonstrate how the governing body intends to spend money
• It can serve as an economic development

Using its capital plan, city commissioners prioritized certain infrastructure projects and recently issued a bond ordinance to pay for the upgrades and improvements. Because Ventnor saved money on collective bargaining agreements last fall, refunded exisiting bonds and will maximize grant funds, only a slight increase in taxes, if any increase, will be incurred. The city is also hoping to borrow money through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT) to fund certain repairs. The NJEIT is a state borrowing program that lends money to communities for infrastructure repairs and improvements at very low interest rates.

The city recently authorized $20.8 million in bond ordinances for the following projects:

• Bond ordinance 2017-038 amends an ordinance approved in 2007 and increases the previous appropriation by $846,000, bringing the total bond amount to $1,230,324. The breakdown on projects includes $450,000 to rehabilitate the Ventnor Fishing Pier; $676,400 for improvements to the library, lifeguard stations and tennis courts; $139,600 for public safety equipment including lifeguard boats, parking meters, recording equipment and turn-out gear; and $30,000 for basketball court improvements. About $800,000 has already been funded through a Green Acres grant.

• Bond ordinance 2017-039 appropriates $400,000 for water and sewer utility improvements including replacing sewer mains and lateral improvements on the Wellington and Winchester lines, plus improvements to the gas chlorine system and the Surrey Avenue pump station.

• Bond ordinance 2017-040 appropriates $4,576,430 for water and sewer utility improvements including lateral improvements on Baltimore, Derby, Newark avenues from Monmouth Avenue to Winchester Avenue; stormwater evaluations and improvements; water mains at various locations; and the purchase utility trucks, ATVs, a trailer, fire hydrants, meters, meter housing and an emergency generator.
• Bond ordinance 2017-041 appropriates $13,209,039 for general capital improvements as follows: $800,000 for bulkhead improvements at Surrey and Calvert avenues; $500,000 for drainage improvements on Kingsley Drive; $3,774,700 for improvements to the public works building, including grading the lawn and installation of a new roof, Fire Station 2, the library, tennis courts and municipal lot. The bond also appropriates $3,799,536 for improvements to various roads; $500,000 for curbs, gutters and ramps; and $1,225,900 for public safety vehicles, security cameras, surf boats, jet skis and SUVs. The bond appropriates $709,000 for a fire engine and ambulance; $480,000 for an SUV with plow, a loader, backhoe and crane; and $1,419,903 for an elevation assistance program that will be reimbursed by a grant.

• Bond ordinance 2017-042 appropriates $1,785,000 for park and beach improvements including improvements to Ski Beach, landscaping and installation of a living shoreline at Ventnor West, the city’s share of beach replenishment and ramp walkover improvements.

"Much of the city's vital infrastructure, including both the sanitary and storm sewer systems, as well as bulkheads, are in need of repair," said Commissioner Tim Kriebel. "These systems are the backbone of our community and having them in good working condition directly impacts property values. It would be negligent of us as commissioners to let these systems deteriorate any further," Kriebel noted.

 Click here to view a copy of the city's capital improvement plan.

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