Point Beach Councilmen Sworn in and Boardwalk Plans Progress
Another stretch of boardwalk added to the post-Sandy rebuild project
Two Point Beach council members were sworn in and council agreed to add another stretch of boardwalk to the upcoming renovation project.
Andy Cortes, just elected to council for the first time, and Stephen Reid, who had originally been appointed to council in December, 2011 and then won election in November, 2012, were both sworn in as council members.
Cortes, just after being sworn in, said, "I want to thank the Republican club and the voters who came out in adverse conditions to vote for Stephen and me. I also want to thank my family, all three rows of them, and my friends." Cortes' family filled the first three rows of one side of the meeting room.
"I'm proud to represent the town on council," Cortes said. "I hope we can get away from unhealthy arguing and move forward for residents and taxpayers."
Reid also thanked the voters and acknowledged that his mother was among the family members in the meeting room. His mother, Barbara Reid, had been sworn in as a council member 25 years ago, he said.
To the mayor and council, Reid said, "I hope we can all work together for the betterment of the town."
Mayor Vincent Barrella had wanted to appoint Reid as chairman of the council finance committee and Council member William Mayer as chair of the water and sewer committee. However, Reid said during the meeting that he wanted council member William Mayer to hold that position again, as he did last year.
Barrella said he had planned that because last year Reid had said he would have liked more committee assignments with more responsibility. Reid and Council member Michael Corbally will be on the finance committee.
Mayer said he agreed with Reid that Mayer should again chair finance.
"Thank you, Steve, for putting your pride aside a little bit and doing the right thing, I think you've done the right thing," Mayer said.
More Swearing-in and Appointments
The council voted unanimously to appoint Council member Kristine Tooker as council president and council member on the planning board.
The following were sworn into leadership positions in the Point Beach Fire Department: Fire Chief Frank Finn; Assistant Chief A.J. Fox; First Deputy Chief John Pasola and Second Deputy Chief John DeMillio. Next year, Pasola will be fire chief.
There was unanimous consent to retain the professionals in their current appointments, including Municipal Attorney Sean Gertner. (For other appointments, see the agenda.)
Appointment added at the meeting, that are not on the agenda, are: Thomas Highton Jr. was appointed to the planning board and the law firm of Hiering and Gannon was added as special projects attorney.
Under the Boardwalk, Down by the Sea
The council also voted to add another 35 feet of boardwalk to the upcoming renovation project brought on by Sandy's destruction. All new sections of boardwalk will be Trex, a synthetic lumber.
Point Beach Engineer Ray Savacool explained to council that a boardwalk business had asked the town to evaluate a stretch of boardwalk from the bungalows, near Vetrini, past Jenkinson's Aquarium to the area in front of Jenkinson's Pavilion.
He said when he went under the boardwalk, it did not appear it had been damaged by Sandy, but it was in poor condition and needed renovation.
Council member Bret Gordon asked, "Could there be other sections under the boardwalk that are just as bad?"
Savacool said there may be other substandard sections, but nothing that needs immediate work, beyond what's already been planned.
On Jan. 16, the town will open bids for the section added on Saturday and the section from Forman to New Jersey avenues, where the boardwalk ends on the south end, Savacool said. Bids will be awarded at the Jan. 22 council meeting.
The new sections of boardwalk will have "a new design feature, bolts in three locations in every pile group," which means every stretch of boardwalk between the pilings (which look like wooden poles), Savacool said.
He said the work will involve bolting down stringers to girders to help protect the boardwalk in future storms.
Regarding the "plaza" section of the boardwalk, which is the wider section in front of food and beverage stands through to the police substation, that section will be bid around November, Savacool said after the meeting.
He said sections of the boardwalk that appear to not need work are the section in front of the bungalows, towards the north end, and the section between Trenton and Forman.
"More than half the boardwalk has newer pilings and girders and was not really damaged by Sandy, a lot of the boardwalk was reconstructed in 1991," Savacool said, add.
The Irene-battered boardwalk section from Trenton to Arnold is under construction now and will be open by Easter, which is on March 31, which will mean that Forman through the plaza area will be open by Easter, Savacool said.
He said he believes the entire boardwalk will be ready by Memorial Day.
(See attachment for Barrella's prepared remarks that he read aloud during the meeting.)