Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty and his colleagues on the Borough Council are acting on their pledge to rebuild the town’s boardwalk by Memorial Day 2013.
NJ.com reports that the governing body introduced a $20 million bond ordinance last week to provide the initial funding of the reconstruction.
Doherty said that Belmar’s property taxpayers will not be on the hook for the cost of the new boardwalk, with FEMA and the borough’s beach utility, which is funded by beach badge fees, paying off the bonds.
“It’s our understanding is that FEMA will pick up 75 percent of the expense, based on the language coming from the White House,” said Doherty, 39. “The remaining amount will come from the beach utility itself. So if you don’t use the beach, you’re not paying for anything. And zero dollars are coming from residential property-tax payers, with no property-tax hike anticipated.”
Beach badge prices are expected to rise from $7 to $8 for daily passes and for $50 to $55 for seasonal passes.
The mayor, a Democrat, had kind words for Governor Christie, but not so kind words for another Doherty, State Senator Michael Doherty. The senator has proposed legislation that would eliminate a beach town’s ability to sell beach badges if state or federal funds are used to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy.
“I think Gov. Christie has done an outstanding job in his leadership, and one of the things he’s been very effective at is keeping politics out of anything related to the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts,” Doherty, a Democrat, said. “I wish that Sen. Doherty would follow Gov. Christie’s lead as well. It’s nothing more than trying to score cheap political points after arguably the worst natural disaster that our state has ever experienced.”
The bond ordinance is expected to be passed at the December 3 meeting of Belmar’s council.