Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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

Mayor 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...

Ocean City Housing Project Avoids Red Tape

Ocean City’s public housing agency will not have to obtain three key state regulatory permits for a proposed $4.2 million housing project, saving it time and money as it pushes ahead to start construction by the end of the year. The Ocean City Housing Authority reported during its monthly board meeting Tuesday that it has learned it will not need the permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, or DEP, to build the project. The authority is planning to build a new affordable-housing complex for senior citizens that will replace its Pecks Beach Village housing site on Fourth Street. The 20-unit project is expected to be ready by the end of 2019. “We’re hoping to break ground by Christmas,” City Councilman Bob Barr...

Ocean City Airport May Receive $2.3 Million Makeover in 2020

A private jet landed at Ocean City Municipal Airport last summer carrying a VIP passenger, who, after stepping off the aircraft, was whisked away in a limo to a restaurant in Cape May. The passenger was none other than pop superstar Taylor Swift, according to John Concannon, whose house at 27th Street and Haven Avenue is across the road from the airport. That someone of Swift’s uber-celebrity stature would fly into Ocean City shows just how important the airport can be in attracting visitors to town, Concannon said...

Love Filled the Air for Valentine’s Day

Marie and Robert Turchi have been together for 52 years, so you would have thought they could have shared a few secrets with the rest of us on Valentine’s Day for what it takes to have a long, loving marriage. “I have no idea. I wing it,” Robert said, rolling his eyes. “I don’t have any secrets, either,” Marie added. They looked quizzically at each other for a moment before Marie hazarded a guess. “Love. That’s it,” she said. “Love will keep us together. That was a Captain and Tennille Song: ‘Love Will Keep Us Together.’ But wait a minute. Captain and Tennille are divorced now.” With that, Marie and Bob burst out laughing...

Museum Exhibit Celebrates Ocean City’s Black History

Ocean City’s founding as a Christian seashore retreat by four Methodist ministers in 1879 has been chronicled countless times by historians and journalists. Not nearly as well known in local history is that the first black family arrived just six years later to find work in the beach town’s fledging hospitality industry, said Jeff McGranahan, executive director of the Ocean City Historical Museum...

Ocean City’s $100 Million Capital Plan Wins Council Approval

City Council on Thursday night approved a $100.1 million, five-year capital plan that includes an array of major drainage, roadway and dredging projects to address Ocean City’s critical infrastructure needs. The plan spreads projects across the entire town and builds on the momentum started in the last few years to help the city catch up on badly needed improvements, Mayor Jay Gillian said...

Ocean City Councilman Wants to Give 34th Street Corridor a Makeover

Even some of the trees on the 34th Street corridor entering Ocean City are ugly. Bent, gnarled and twisted, they look like sad victims of a hurricane. Planted in a grassy strip on the side of the road, the pine trees are part of the haphazard landscaping that was supposed to beautify this gateway into town. In truth, they are an eyesore. “They look bad,” City Councilman Bob Barr said bluntly. To Barr, the trees have come to symbolize the overall blight marring the 34th Street artery, the second-busiest entranceway into Ocean City...

Former Ocean City Councilman Considers Mayoral Run

Adding some drama to Ocean City’s municipal election, a former councilman has taken out nominating petitions in a first step toward possibly challenging Mayor Jay Gillian. John Flood served on Council from 1988 to 1996 and briefly returned to the governing body in 2011 when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former Councilwoman Susan Sheppard after she won a seat on the Cape May County Board of Freeholders. Sheppard now serves as a Superior Court judge. In an interview Wednesday, Flood confirmed he picked up nominating petitions on Monday...

Ocean City School District Receives “Clean” Audit

Underscoring its strong finances and management, the Ocean City school district received a “clean” audit report Wednesday for the 2016-2017 school year. “We have a clean audit this year. No findings or recommendations,” said Michael Garcia, a partner with Ford-Scott & Associates LLC, an Ocean City accounting firm that conducted the financial review for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017. Garcia summarized the 100-page audit during a presentation to the Board of Education at its meeting Wednesday night. He noted that school district must comply with numerous rules and regulations imposed by the state and federal governments to achieve a clean audit...

Ocean City Considers Banning Marijuana Sales if Pot Smoking Becomes Legal...

Ocean City, a seashore town that prohibits the sale of alcohol as part of its family-friendly reputation, may look to ban the sale of another drug – marijuana. As New Jersey considers the possibility of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana under newly inaugurated Gov. Phil Murphy, Ocean City officials say they don’t want pot sales in the place that touts itself as “America’s Greatest Family Resort.” Mayor Jay Gillian told members of City Council at their meeting Thursday night that he is adamantly opposed to marijuana sales and has directed Ocean City’s solicitor to look into ways to possibly ban the activity...