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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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County Library Tax Approved

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By Al Campbell

CREST HAVEN – As 2023 approaches, the county library tax rate has been set at .00034 of a mil per dollar. The rate was approved on Dec. 13 by the Board of County Commissioners. 

Translated into dollars, taxpayers in 14 of the county’s municipalities, excluding Ocean City and Avalon, which have municipal libraries, will pay about $34 per $100,000 of assessed value to support the library system. 

In 2022, a Middle Township home assessed at $208,700 paid $77 in library tax.  

The system’s main branch is in Court House on Mechanic Street. Other branches are in Cape May, Wildwood Crest, Woodbine, Stone Harbor, Villas, Petersburg, and Sea Isle City. For areas lacking or distant from a branch, a bookmobile serves them on a rotating schedule. 

College’s New Initiatives 

 Dr. Barbara Gaba, president of Atlantic Cape Community College, updated the board on three partnerships that the college is making in the county.  

Zoo Partnership 

The college will lease nine classrooms in its Cape May Campus to the county. 

The3,874 square feet will house zoo educational programs.  

Later in the meeting, the measure was approved by the board. 

Gaba said the space would provide the zoo with the space needed for expansion. She said Dr. Josette Katz, senior vice president of Academic Affairs, “is committed to zoo-related educational programming, and we look forward to exploring thepossibilities.” 

County Administrator Kevin Lare said the leased space would save the county the expense of building a stand-alone education center at the zoo.  

Additionally, the programs there could lead to zoological or veterinary courses at the college, according to the board’s resolution.  

The classrooms to be leased are 102, 103, 104, 118, 119, 120, 124, 125, and 126.  

Cape May Point Science Center 

In July 2022, the college signed a memorandum of understanding with the Cape May Point Science Center, what was the former St. Mary’s by the Sea Building at Cape May Point, for a needs assessment of college programs there.  

The centerpurchased the structure from theSisters of St. Joseph, which had planned to demolish the structure.  

The center,established by the Mullock Family, will serve as an environmental center focused on education, research, and advocacy. 

“We are proud to be an educational partner, Gaba said. 

As part of its agreement with the center, the college intends to conduct a needs assessment for college programs there. It will explore joint programming associated with the center. It will also explore developing potential courses of study in the areas of marine biology, environmental science, and related topics, Gaba added.  

She said on Nov. 5, about 44 people attended an event at the center coordinated by the college’s biology professors and its director of science laboratories. Among those who attended were 19 biology students from Cape May and Atlantic counties. They did a guidedbeachcombing walk.  

Cape May CountyBizHub 

The third initiative Gaba spoke of was the Cape May CountyBizHub. The entity is a business support and entrepreneurial resource center based in the Cape May County Campus. It offers training, mentoring, coaching, a resource repository, networking, co-working, and meeting space.  

The hub was begun using a grant from the state Economic Development Authority.  

Since then, it has received a Rural Business Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for $40,000 and the federal government for $211,000.  

Local funding came from Crest Savings Bank with $10,000, the county government with $20,000, and in-kind contributions from the college of $30,000. 

As director of theBizHub, Chris Stenger, a veteran, was hired, Gaba said. Since then, he has already met with members of the county business community. 

Local Nursing, Culinary Arts Programs 

Gaba further reported that the college had added a cohort of its culinary arts and nursing programs at the local campus. 

The Culinary Arts certificate program, through the college’s Academy of Culinary Arts, “was brought to our Cape May County Campus for the first time this fall,” Gaba said 

Students earn a certificate in26 weeks that provides the skills for entry-level positions in the culinary industry. 

“It can also be a foundation for completing theassociate degree in Culinary Arts,” said Gaba. 

County students were eligible for a $2,500 scholarship and a free knife set worth $240. 

For those working toward becoming a Registered Nurse, an in-person evening nursing course was offered locally for the first time.  

“Bringing the program to our Cape May County campus was a decision we knew would be best for our students, the county and the college,” said Gaba.  

“We will continue to examine closely the enrollmentpatterns at our Cape Maycampus, as we continue to expand and diversify ourofferings,” Gaba said. “We are as committed as ever to serving the Cape May community.” 

More than 50% of the college’s scholarships were awarded to county residents, thanks to generous donors,” Gaba said. 

Reorganization Scheduled 

The county government’s reorganization will take place on Jan. 5, 2023, at 5 p.m. at the Cape May County Technical High School, 188 Crest Haven Road, Court House.  

At that meeting, Republican AndrewBulakowski will take his oath as a county commissioner. He will replace Gerald Thornton, who retired after serving 38 years.  

Bulakowski will earn $17,873 annually in that post. 

It is presumed that Vice-Director Leonard Desiderio will assume the post of director. 

Quarter-Century Employees 

Eleven of 17 eligible 25-year county employees received their pins at the board meeting on Dec. 13. The other six could not attend.  

Honoredwere: Lisa L. Barstow, Annamarie DiDonato, Vincent W. Stewart, Kurt J. Stevenson, Paul E. Bowen, Sabrina F. Hand, Bess E. Dyer, Amalia G. Mathis, Kristine M. Wiechert, Lisa M. Brownback, Robert M. Campbell Jr. 

Absentwere: Russell S. DeVaul, Samantha M. Simcox, Margaret M. Donahue, Helen T. Meier, Robert P.Kopsitz, Margaret M. Farley. 

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