With good weather forecast over the weekend, Bradley Beach officials are making plans to deal with an expected increase in visitors to the beachfront this first weekend of May.
Though the borough’s boardwalk remains closed, Mayor Gary Engelstad said he has empowered Police Chief Leonard A. Guida to reopen it if the sidewalks along Ocean Avenue become too crowded to practice safe physical distancing.
The mayor said a drone will be used to keep an eye on the situation.
“That’s a great use of the drone,” said Borough Council President John Weber.
Also at this week’s council meeting, a proposal to hire Amy Hall as Public Relations Director and Tourism Director at a salary of $41,000 was tabled. Hall currently serves in the tourism post.
Engelstad moved to table the resolution and the motion was approved.
“The administration at this time needs to do further review on a personnel recruitment policy and make sure all the steps within that policy are followed,” Borough Administrator David G. Brown II said.
Brown said the borough’s salary ordinance would also be reviewed, and that he would consult with Borough Attorney Greg Cannon on both matters.
The mayor said the proposed hiring was prompted by recommendations from the borough’s strategic planning task force and that funds for the new position had already been set aside.
Also tabled was the introduction of the 2020 municipal budget.
Chief Financial Office Sandra Rice said information was received earlier in the day about “certain things we had afforded for in the budget, particularly the beach utility budget,” referring to a discussion involving Engelstad and other mayors about setting a beach reopening date. Rice also mentioned a state order allowing towns to extend the period for payment of quarterly property taxes. So far, Bradley Beach has not changed the deadline.
“In conference with the borough’s auditor, the mayor and the administrator, I made the recomendation to the governing body to put off the introduction of the budget,” she said, noting that the budget process is still being conducted in accordance with state guidelines.
Erica Kostyz was named acting municipal clerk at an annual salary of $64,500. Kostyz has been serving in the post since the departure of the previous borough clerk, Kelly Barrett. Michele Whille was named deputy municipal clerk for a stipend of $2,500. She will continue in her other duties with the borough.
Paul J. Capotorto was reappointed as municipal court judge through June 30, 2023.
Brown announced that the municipal court management team would be meeting to prepare for the May 13 start of a videoconferecing court. In-person municipal court proceedings have been suspended due to the coronovirus pandemic..
The council appointed Richard Despins as a public member of the community center task force. Two other spots remain for public members, Engelstad said.
Jayne Mackta and Judy Staggard of the Bradley Food Pantry thanked the volunteers and donors who assisted in a recent food drive. Councilman Tim Sexsmith said the borough was considering making the drive into an annual event.
“It was remarkable to see how people pulled together,” Mackta said.
Weber said the borough is considering allowing restaurants, once they are allowed to reopen for in-person dining, to put up tents where possible to allow for greater distancing between patrons. The borough zoning officer would be authorized to approve such requests, Weber said.
A recent spate of car burglaries has come to an end with the arrest of a suspect, Se3xsmith said. He relayed the advice of Chief Guida that residents lock their cars and take away the keys. According to Guida, all of the thefts occurred in unlocked cars.
Sexsmith also announced that the annual Memorial Day parade has been cancelled. The borough has not cancelled the annual Memorial Day ceremony as of yet.