Mayor’s Update 4-28

first_imgApril 28, 2017Dear Friends,Earlier this week, I met with a small group that included representatives of the Ocean City School District, the Ocean City Police Department, City Council, my administration and families affected by drug addiction. The task at hand was to see if we, as a community, could do more to prevent the inevitable tragedies that are part of the growing epidemic in our town and throughout the nation. I’d like to personally thank Sally Onesty for helping to inspire the effort, for openly sharing information about her son Tyler’s struggles, and for advocating for a positive solution.One message from the meeting was that individuals and families facing addiction don’t always know where to turn for help. A list of resources is available at ocnj.us/help. The page includes links to Gov. Christie’s Facing Addiction Taskforce home and to local help hotlines compiled by the school district. The group is just getting started, but I want to make sure that the end result is simple, practical and effective solutions that genuinely make a difference. We owe it to the entire community.City Council on Thursday gave final approval to the 2017 municipal budget. The plan does come with a tax increase. The primary factors are: 1) payments on an aggressive capital plan that tackles countless road and drainage projects, improvements to the beach, bay, downtown and boardwalk, and many other projects throughout town that have been taken on in response to public demand; and 2) a $1.1 million increase in health insurance costs beyond our control. Council members, the city team and I work hard every year to make cuts and hold the line on spending, and we’re never happy to report any increase whatsoever. But I’m confident that we delivered the most fiscally responsible plan possible while still delivering on so many overdue infrastructure improvements. Copies of the budget can be viewed any time at ocnj.us/finance.Today is Arbor Day, and this morning, members of our Shade Tree Committee and Public Works team joined Ms. Carrie Merritt’s first-grade class at the Ocean City Primary School to plant a new crepe myrtle. The team also planted a new tree at the 34th Street Playground. The work is part of a continuing effort by the city and committee add green to the barrier island and see the additional benefits that trees bring to the city.I also received some good news today from Cape May County. The 34th Street Bridge is on schedule to reopen on time on Thursday (May 4). Both lanes of the bridge will close one final time overnight starting 10 p.m. Wednesday, so crews can remove the barriers on the bridge. It will be a relief to finally have both lanes back for the summer.The weekend forecast looks great, and I hope you all have a chance to get outside and enjoy the weather.Warm regards,Jay A. GillianMayor Mayor Jay Gillianlast_img read more