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Monday, July 15, 2024

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SIC Weighs Curbing Police Presence at Construction Sites

By Camille Sailer

SEA ISLE CITY – At Sea Isle City Council’s Nov. 26 meeting, Council member Mary Tighe said she had an issue with police presence at construction sites.
“I can see that this might make sense during the summer, when we have so many visitors, and having police at various construction sites makes sense, and could even be considered an absolute necessity,” she said. “Off-season, we are a small town of 1,500 people, and there is no need for this type of activity.”
Tighe was referring to an ordinance that council passed over eight years ago, which provides for “off-schedule” police officers, who are not on their official shifts, to monitor construction sites, for what has been termed safety precautions.
Council member Frank Edwardi added, “The road at 59th Street and Landis Avenue has been closed for a while. There hasn’t been any police posted there, and there is no need. Everything is OK at this intersection.”
Solicitor Paul Baldini provided additional details and historical background: “Prior to the ordinance we currently are enforcing, which was passed by council in 2011, there was no police presence whatsoever at any construction sites. The officers we are using now are part of our own force, not private.
“The charge for these officers to the construction company or developer is $16 an hour. When they submit their bid packages, they know in advance that this safety feature is at their expense.
“There is no involvement of Public Works personnel; moreover, these are not our projects, and our police department has always been sensitive to cost for those times when their presence was necessary.”
Addressing Tighe, Baldini said, “You are way ahead of us with this issue, since we’ve been giving it a review for a while now. With city administration, we’ve been tracking the numbers for a while, so the situation is not unknown to us.
“Over time, since the ordinance was passed, we’ve given its effect enough time to determine cost patterns, and we have been working on a repeal of the ordinance.”
Per statements by Baldini and Business Administrator George Savastano, they expect to introduce a revised ordinance at the Dec. 10 council meeting.
To contact Camille Sailer, email csailer@cmcherald.com.

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