Barnegat Light, NJ — Renderings of the restroom building for the bayside pavilion park were unveiled at the December Barnegat Light Borough Council meeting, but no action was taken, after two absent council members said by conference call that they wanted to see the plans for themselves. Postponed was a resolution to award a contract to install 18 pilings for the 504-square-foot structure, which has 184 feet of decking. The goal is to have the building ready to use by the summer 2020 season.
Council President Michael Spark, speaking by phone from Florida the week of the meeting, said the plans should have been made more available for inspection in the weeks before the council meeting. Councilwoman Dottie Reynolds, also speaking by conference call connection, agreed everyone should see the plans before spending the required amount of money.
“It’s more important that we do it collectively than hurriedly,” Reynolds said.
Mayor Kirk Larson posed the compromise to postpone the piling discussion until a budget hearing Dec. 19. That smoothed over what was starting to become a debate on exactly what day the plans had been made available in borough hall, and who else had seen them. Spark and Reynolds were not the only council members who noted they had not seen the plans and rendering before the meeting.
As for the cost of the overall construction, Larson said $150,000 was appropriated in May. Spark noted that at one point, a possible cost of up to $250,000 was talked about.
Other phases of the project will be rebid in January, since no bids were received on plumbing, electric and lumber.
On the positive side, several members of the audience commended Councilman Ed Wellington, councilman in charge of public works, for the attractive look of the proposed restroom building. Among them were Marilyn Wasilewski and John Tennyson.
However, Tennyson, past taxpayers association president, urged the council not to delay too long and risk not having a permanent facility done in time for summer.
“I encourage you to move forward with this plan. We don’t want a trailer with a couple of pink flamingos there,” he added, tongue-in-cheek.
Questions from the audience prompted the other main topic, an update on the next steps of the state-mandated water meter installation. At the November meeting, council had agreed to allow homeowners to install the new digital meters in the house (typically the garage) if they choose to, instead of in a meter pit outside.
The borough is supplying the meters, but homeowners are in charge of hiring a plumber to handle the installation. The deadline for installation is still two years away, the end of December 2021, officials said. The meters will start being read in 2022 after a calibration process; an exact date is not determined yet.
Councilwoman Mary Ellen Foley noted the reported difference in installation cost: indoors “hundreds of dollars; $600 to $700”, and to create a new meter pit, “in the thousands, could be $2,500; everybody’s situation is different.”
Spark said he has heard cases in other municipalities on the Island where homeowners have gotten high quotes, and taxpayers may want to use “due diligence to find the best rate.”
Public Works Superintendent Stuart McGowan added there were cases in Long Beach Township where “neighbors were pairing up and getting a better price.”
Mayor Larson concluded, “If we can find out more information for the next meeting (in January), we’ll bring it to you then.”
Committee reports gave audience members a few other updates. Wellington said the skateboard park is “in the middle of being resurfaced and rebuilt.”
The town will be getting new aluminum reflective street signs to replace the 20-plus-year-old signs.
Kayaks still left at the bay beach were going to be picked up the third week of December. They will be stored by the borough for the winter, and if no one claims them, the borough will get rid of them in the spring.
Frank Mikuletzky, councilman heading the public safety committee, warned of more current scams that have included several fraudulent “GoFundMe” accounts for a slain Jersey City detective, which have since been removed.
“The best thing, like with the phone calls, don’t answer yes to anything. Don’t even pick it up – let them leave a message.”
— Maria Scandale