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Monday, July 15, 2024

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Board OKs Middle Thorofare Bridge’s $7.5M Rehab, Urges ‘No’ Vote on Recreational Marijuana

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By Al Campbell

CREST HAVEN – The Middle Thorofare Bridge, linking the Wildwoods and Lower Township, will get a $7.5-million rehabilitation. Freeholders approved a contract with South State Inc., of Bridgeton, at their Oct. 13 meeting. 
The contract calls for an Oct. 14 start date “and expiring upon project completion and closeout…”
Funding will come from bond ordinance 1-18B.
The bridge has had frequent electrical upgrades. It has been struck by fishing vessels, been stuck open, at times, in hot weather, and caused delays in Ocean Drive traffic, as vessels pass under, requiring thebascule span to rise.
FOP Contract OK’d
Freeholders, at the same meeting, approved an agreement between the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, which represents uniformed correction officers and correction officer sergeants. 
According to County Counsel Jeffrey Lindsay, “Not much changed from the previous contract – some clean-up language and increases to the salary guide that averages 3.5% annually, which is consistent with increases the other county bargaining units received in this latest series of contracts.”
The contract covers a period from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2021. The resolution states that the county adopted a resolution for a memorandum of agreement Nov. 12, 2019.
Oppose Marijuana Legalization
By unanimous vote, freeholders passed a resolution in opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana. The question is to be decided at the Nov. 3 election. It was introduced in the state Senate butpulled because it lacked support. 
The board fears the constitutional amendment “does not limit the amount of THC that can be infused into a cannabis product; it can be sold in candy form, which is attractive to young children, and as oil in vaping devices.”
The resolution further cited other states, where the substance has been legalized, that have experienced increases in emergency room visits, and drug-related problems. 
It noted that passage would limit municipal ability to ban the sale of cannabis within their borders. Tax revenue generated by the sale “is far outweighed by the detriment it will have to the health and public safety of New Jersey residents.”
Seek Block Grant
Under a state Department of Community Affairs block grant, the county applied for $1.1 million to support COVID relief. 
As outlined at the meeting, businesses, individuals, and non-profits would be eligible for sums of money, perhaps $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for small businesses. More information will be provided by the county on the program when it becomes available.
In other action, the board:
Designated October as National 4-H Month, in the county, and encouraged citizens to “recognize 4-H for the significant impact it has made and continues to make by empowering youth with the skills they need to lead for a lifetime.”
Granted permission to Lower Township to hold its Veterans Day Parade Nov. 7 along Bayshore Road (CR 603), between Georgia Avenue and Village Road, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thatpart of Bayshore Road will be closed to traffic during the parade.
Authorized purchase, for $116,584 from New Jersey Business Systems, amicrowave transceiver through the state contract system. The unit will replace one at the Office of Emergency Management that is “no longer capable of sending the voice and data necessary communication required between Avalon and Stone Harbor. 
Appointed: 
* To the R.S.V.P. Advisory Council, with terms ending Dec. 31, 2023: Members – Paul Loveland, Virginia Loveland, Joseph Orlando, Hilda Orlando, Robert Swanson, Cheryl O’Hara. Ex-officio members – Director Rachel Sanfo and Freeholder Jeffrey Pierson.
* To the Agricultural Development Board: Michael Kent, district manager, Cape Atlantic Conservation District, for four years. 
* To the Aging Advisory Council, for a one-year term ending Dec. 31, 2020: Members – Alisa Erdman, Marion Ingram, Ingrid Hickman, Suzanne Pelkaus, Tom Ownings, Burgess Hamer, Kerri Sherman, Larry Jones, Sabrina Hand, Marie Giansante, Lee Shupert, Barry Keefe. Ex-officio member – Freeholder Pierson.

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