Avon will add 11 special police officers to help keep the beachfront running smoothly this summer.
The borough will establish a beachfront police command post at Sylvania Avenue to supervise the special officers and address law enforcement issues which may arise.
Funding for the improved police presence will come from the borough’s beach utility, which saw a large increase in revenue last year after record-breaking attendance.
Commissioner Frank Gorman said that the number of Class 1 special officers will be increased from 10 to 19, and there will be five Class 2 special officers this summer, up from three last season.
Gorman also said that eight to 10 parking spaces would be lost at each intersection on Ocean Avenue as a result of the repainting of curbs and zebra-striping of areas within 25 feet of the intersection. Commissioner Robert Mahon urged that special officers be assigned to each of the intersections during peak weekend hours in the summer.
Addressing several of the suggestions made by residents at recent public forums, Mayor John B. Magrini said at this week’s Board of Commissioners meeting that the borough would not install parking meters on the waterfront. He said that higher parking fines were being considered but Gorman noted that Avon’s fines are already among the highest in the area and approval is needed from Superior Court in Freehold before the fines could be increased.
Gorman, who is the borough’s commissioner of public affairs and public safety, said that efforts were being made to create an overtime budget for regular police officers this summer if it becomes necessary for police to work extra hours.
The new oceanfront command post will be in operation for 10 hours a day on weekends starting on Memorial Day, then seven days a week from June 12 through Labor Day.
Some of last summer’s problems were most severe during nearby Belmar’s Seafood Festival. Gorman said that this year, the festival will be held in May, prior to the start of the summer season. He said the borough will consider parking a fire truck and ambulance at the Coast Guard station on Washington Avenue during the festival so that if needed, the vehicles will not have to cross traffic on Main Street.
Magrini noted that increased enforcement of traffic laws, requested by many residents following last summer’s problems, would impact residents as well as visitors. He said that other suggestions made at the public forums would be continue to be discussed and considered by the board.
Mahon, commissioner of revenue and finance, cautioned that if weather or other factors cause a decrease in beach revenue this summer, the borough will have to adjust its beachfront personnel plans for 2017 accordingly.
Also at this week’s meeting, the board voted to conduct a lottery drawing on March 8 for the 12 boat slips at the borough marina. The price was set at $145 per foot. Leases would run from April 1 through Nov. 15. Leases can be renewed for three additional boating seasons and cover only specific boats.
If not all of the spaces are leased initially, the borough would give refunds if slips are leased later at a lower rate.
Also on March 8, the borough plans an auction for items and equipment at the former Taylor Memorial Baptist Church on Sylvania Avenue. Avon acquired the church when efforts to sell it failed. The borough will demolish the church, make minor repairs to a single-family home on the property, subdivide the lot and offer the two parcels for sale in the spring.
Magrini, commissioner of public works and property, said that the auction items would be available for inspection on Sat., March 5. He said that interested parties could call the borough administrator’s office at 732-502-4510 to find out the inspection times.
A resident suggested that two outside benches at the church be used elsewhere in the borough. The mayor said that anything at the church which could be useful to the borough will be set aside and not put up for auction.