In late summer of 2011,
During a break in the official activities of the day, the elder Vincent Storino, one of the Jenkinson's owners, shot a sour look at the battered boardwalk and complained, "The mayor, he never fixes the boardwalk."
When asked, "Whose responsibility is it to fix the boardwalk?" Storino replied, emphatically, "The town's."
Now the town is hoping to bang a chink in that assured answer, taking the first step in compelling the Storinos, owners of and Risden's, to help pay to fix a piece of the boardwalk damaged by tropical storm Irene a year ago, which actually prompted Christie's visit.
The governor had visited Point Beach to tell the public, "Get the hell back on the beach," after saying the opposite as Irene had approached the Jersey Shore.
On Tuesday night, the four councilmembers present, William Mayer, Michael Corbally, Stephen Reid and Bret Gordon, voted for first reading of an ordinance for $565,000 "to replace 400 feet of boardwalk north of the southerly intersection of Trenton Avenue and the boardwalk," according to the ordinance.
Mayor Vincent Barrella and councilmembers Kristine Tooker and Tim Lurie were absent.
The amount includes a down payment of $28,250 and a bond for the balance of $536,750.
The work would extend from the section of boardwalk in front of Lucky's North to Trenton, Mayer explained. The boardwalk is 16 feet wide in that section.
Mayer, who initiated the proposal, noted that because the repair and replacement would be for a section of the boardwalk damaged by Irene, FEMA would reimburse the town for 75 percent of the cost.
And, the plan goes, the town would split the remaining 25 percent of the cost with Jenkinson's and Risden's. The town would impose a share of the cost on the two boardwalk businesses through a special assessment after the work is completed, Mayer said.
"I think it's the first time the town has done this kind of special assessment," Mayer said. The businesses could pay in 60 days or over a 10-year period, he said.
Mayer said the town owns the boardwalk, but not the land under it.
He said he talked to the Storinos about the proposal, which would have them paying possibly as much as $53,675 of the overall cost.
"Did they like it? I don't know," Mayer said. "But I didn't get any real resistance. They know it's coming."
When contacted after the meeting, Marilou Halvorsen, Jenkinson's Director of Marketing, referred the call to Ed McGlynn, a Jenkinson's attorney.
Mayer said he had not had time to talk to Risden's about their "share," which may be nearly $17,000 for replacement of part of the boardwalk in front of their business.
Both companies will get certified letters about the proposal and the ordinance and assessments also have to be advertised in public notices, Mayer said.
The ordinance is up for second reading and adoption at the Sept. 18 council meeting. Then the town has to go through a bidding process, get the work done, then have a public hearing on the assessments, then "confirm" them through another council vote, impose them and collect them.
If the businesses do not pay, the town still has to pay the bill.
Reid noted that the replaced section of boardwalk will not go as far as
"So we'll have new boardwalk, then old boardwalk, then new boardwalk," Reid said. "Can't we just go a little further so this project meets the section we just fixed?"
Mayer said that he too had thought about that, but not quite in time for the engineer to design an expanded plan and get it incorporated into the proposed bond ordinance.
"We'll do that, but not this time," he replied to Reid. "The clock is ticking on this FEMA money. I think we have to have this done by next year."
Gordon agreed with Reid's overall concept, saying the town needs to have a long range plan for boardwalk maintenance and appropriate money annually to work on sections of the boardwalk.
"We need to put money into that line item every year," he said.
Mayer said the amount of $565,000 will probably be more than what's needed to do the job, but that it will cover the cost of repair, replacement, engineering and legal fees and leave a bit of a cushion just in case.
But, he said, the final cost will more likely be less, possibly around $550,000.
The ordinance states: "....The Borough will contribute 87.5 percent of the cost...and 12.5 percent shall be assessed and the estimated maximum amount of the special assessments for said improvement is $70,625 and such special assessment may be paid in ten annual installments."
The Sept. 18 meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at