City Council voted unanimously Thursday on a plan to spend about $80 million catch up on long-neglected improvements to roads, public facilities, beaches, the boardwalk and the bay in Ocean City.
Council approved a five-year capital plan in which Mayor Jay Gillian’s administration proposes spending $79.4 million.
Some highlights include:
Roads and drainage: It dedicates about $29.3 million to road and drainage improvements — including about $7.9 million for 2015.
Boardwalk: The plan anticipates spending $3.85 million per year to finish a project to replace the substructure and decking of the Ocean City Boardwalk: Plaza Place to Eighth Street (2015-16), Eighth Street to somewhere past the Ocean City Music Pier (2016-17), Music Pier to somewhere past 10th Street (2017-18), and to the finish at 12th Street (2018-19). The plan calls for the construction of boardwalk pavilions (like at 11th Street) for the area between Fifth and 10th streets.
Beach: The plan anticipates regularly scheduled federal beach replenishment projects for the north end of Ocean City in spring 2016 and for the south end in 2018.
Bay: The plan dedicates $5 million in 2015 and $10 million over five years to dredge lagoons and channels on the bay side of Ocean City that are too shallow at many points in the tide cycle to allow boat traffic. The city will spend $2.7 million to make room at a spoils site to complete an unfinished job between 15th and 34th streets. The plan also dedicates about $3.9 million ($2.6 million of it from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant) to use “thin layer disposal” of dredged material to restore wetlands.
The plan lists hundreds of other improvements — from Pickleball courts to new record boards at the Aquatics and Fitness Center.
See presentation on the 2015-2019 capital plan, including recently completed projects, 2015 projects, 2016-2019 projects and debt impact.
The city is taking advantage of historically low interest rates on its borrowing, according to Finance Director Frank Donato.
He said the city will have $10.5 million in debt service payments in 2015, an increase of 6.7 percent. The city has a total of $58.9 million in bonded debt right now.
Check for copies and updates on the capital plan at ocnj.us/capital-projects/.
The spending plan for 2015 through 2019 represents a $27.8 million increase over the five-year plan for 2014 to 2018.
In a separate vote on Thursday, City Council approved the first reading of a bond ordinance authorizing the borrowing of $7.9 million for the following capital projects:
- $3,985,000: For continued phases of a multi-year boardwalk reconstruction project.
- $1,910,000: For construction and repair of public buildings, including historic Life Saving Station, Ocean City Community Center, 46th Street and West Avenue, Route 52 Welcome Center, Humane Society, Ocean City Municipal Airport and others.
- $962,000: Improvement of public facilities including tennis courts, basketball courts, ball fields and playgrounds.
- $750,300: Equipment for Ocean City Music Pier, Ocean City Police Department, Fire Department and Beach Patrol.
See more detail in the documentation below. A second reading on the bond ordinance will be held on March 26.