Monthly Archives: April 2011

UNIONS AND COMMISSIONERS SPAR IN WILDWOOD

Crowd at Wildwood Meeting

Crowd at Wildwood Meeting

“The police department didn’t give a damn thing.” Those were the comments of Commissioner Al Brannen during the Wildwood Commission meeting on Wednesday night. Besides a budget being passed, the night focused on the division between the commissioners and the unions over a layoff plan that is being implemented by the city.

The commission praised many of the cost saving moves made by the Wildwood Fire Department, yet five layoffs still will take place in that department. Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Speigel offered to take a demotion in title and pay in order to help keep his fellow firefighters.

Many in the audience believe the public safety cuts will hurt tourism. Business owners like Wally Lerro said they have received calls from potential guests asking if it was safe in Wildwood. There would be under 20 police officers under the layoff plan that is being implemented by the city.

The police union leaders said they had made progress while negotiating with Brannen, but since Mayor Gary DeMarzo took over, those talks have stopped. DeMarzo said a plan has been presented and the union can respond to it. The Commissioners said the union leaders have opted for layoffs instead of concessions.

It is a classic he said/she said in this case. Either way, Wildwood’s public safety ranks will be severely diminished in the coming months. Extra class two’s are scheduled to be brought on in the summer, but there are questions over if there will be enough staff to deal with the more serious calls.

WILDWOOD APPROVES A ZERO-TAX INCREASE

Expect Wildwood to go forward with its layoff plan. City Commission approved its new budget, which includes layoffs to over 40 employees, including more than 20 in public safety. The city will not have a tax increase, but had to come with $600,000 in order to do that. The commission announced that it has had to hold off on leasing the back bay solar project. It was anticipated to bring in $600,000, but some companies wished to get additional time.

Mayor Gary DeMarzo told Coastal Broadcasting that additional money that is brought in through the solar bay project would be used to bring back employees. Many residents and public safety employees spoke out against the layoffs, saying they would make Wildwood an unsafe place to live in. During the meeting and investigation into a stabbing Wildwood was taking place. There was only one person from the Fire Department who could respond as an EMT to the stabbing, because two other employees were responding to a separate call.

Some of the $600,000 was found through the capital fund balance. Additional savings were rendered through reduction in health benefits and terminal leave. These numbers were not anticipated in the original budget, but were added in this latest revision.

SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION RESULTS ANNOUNCED

The school election results are in and a handful of local communities turned down their school budget. Wildwood Crest, West Wildwood, Wildwood, Upper Township, and Sea Isle City all voted no on their school budget question. Upper T ownship voters also turned down a bond referendum for a $16 million project for work to be done at existing schools in the district; of which, $6.3 million would have come from the state.

In the contested school board elections:

Russell Tozer and Sara Teefy defeated Dean Kirby and Monique James in Dennis Township.

Robert Osborn and Thomas Connelly Jr. were winners over Greg Burow and Christopher Vasser in Lower Cape May Regional’s Lower Township district.

Dennis Roberts, Linda Koch, and Robert Bakley all won seats, with Anthony Anzelone being the only one left out.

Stephen Martinelli, Debra L. McLees, and Jill Anne Casaccio were victorious in Upper Township against Russell Morano.

In a head-to-head match up, Kathleen Elwell won the seat against William Towns in Lower Cape May Regional’s West Cape May district.

Joseph M. Schiff was the loner winner in Wildwood Crest versus Joseph Franco Jr., and James P. Bradley.

Finally, Miriam Vives-Rivera, Victoria London, and Janita Hutchinson took home seats in Woodbine over Hector Cruz, Tamara Ryan, and Noel Turner.

Full results can be found at: http://www.capemaycountygov.net/FCpdf/2011School.pdf

STABBING TAKES PLACE IN WILDWOOD

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A stabbing is being investigated in Wildwood. A public safety official told Coastal Broadcasting that the incident took place in the area of Park Ave. and Schellenger Ave. Coastal Broadcasting has been told the victim is a male and was taken to the trauma center of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. Wildwood Police say the man is still alive. To this point, the victim’s identity or any information on the suspect has not been released. We will make this available to you when it is released.

STATE MUST SHOW WHY CARL LEWIS CAN’T RUN FOR SENATE

A bit of a victory in court for former track star Carl Lewis.  A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and some county clerks must show exact proof why Lewis cannot seek a New Jersey Senate seat in the 8th District.  Guadagno ruled on Tuesday that Lewis should be excluded from the election over residency issues.  Primary election ballots are due to be sent out on Thursday.

STATE TO CLOSE PORTION OF NINTH STREET IN OCEAN CITY

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) today announced that 9th Street northbound will be closed between West and Bay avenues next week for roadway reconstruction work in connection with the ongoing $400 million Route 52 Causeway replacement project.  Beginning Monday morning, May 2, NJDOT will close the several-block stretch of 9th Street northbound until Friday afternoon, May 6.  Northbound motorists will be detoured to West Avenue to 8th Street to Bay Avenue and back to 9th Street, where they can proceed straight, turn left onto 9th Street southbound or turn right toward the causeway.

Access to residences and businesses on both sides of 9th Street will be maintained during the closure and detour.

The closure allows for construction of a new center lane along 9th Street that will provide motorists traveling in either direction with the ability to make left turns without impeding traffic flow.  The leftmost of the two 9th Street northbound lanes between West and Bay avenues also will be reconstructed during the closure.

REPORT: HOSPITAL TRANSPORT WORKERS TO BE LET GO

Nine full time EMT’s who work as part of Cape Regional Medical Center’s transport unit will be out of work come next month.  A report on the Cape May County Herald’s website says the nine employees received their pink slips this week and will be out of a job come May 11th.  A union official told the Herald that the work will be done instead by the Millville Rescue Squad.  News about the layoffs was delivered to the workers Wednesday morning.

For more on this story, visit www.capemaycountyherald.com

MAJOR WORKERS UNION HEAD THROWS SUPPORT BEHIND TOURISM ZONE

A key labor union leader threw its support behind the tourism district in Atlantic City. Unite-HERE’s Local 54′s head Bob McDevitt, told his members that they should support the new tourism boundaries set up by the state. The union is the biggest worker union in Atlantic City. Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford remains opposed to it. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has been given control of the district.

CASINOS TO LIKELY PAY BACK ILLEGAL WINNINGS

Money won from illegal gamblers will likely be heading up to the state. The Star-Ledger reports that just over $12,000 will be paid to the state from Caesars, the Borgata, the Taj Mahal and Resorts. The money was won from under-age gamblers or those who signed a list that forbids them from entering the casino, because of their gambling habits.

LOWER POLICE INVESTIGATING ROBBERY

Two strong armed robberies took place in Lower Township. An investigation is on-going into incidents that took place at 300 block of State Highway Route 9 on Wednesday morning and at the Greenwood Avenue apartments on Tuesday morning. The investigation into both incidents is ongoing at this time and anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Lower Township Police Department safe neighborhoods tip line at 886-1619 ext. 156 Police did not say whether the two incidents are related.