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STONE HARBOR - Responding to a constituent letter, at the April 21 meeting, Stone Harbor Council tried to dispel the notion that a new beach patrol headquarters, planned for 95th Street, would cost $4.1 million.

Council members expressed concern that the public associated the entire $4.1 million figure with the beach patrol building, instead of understanding that the project being planned involves more than just a new building. Other goals of the capital project include new restrooms and the construction of changed traffic patterns.

One obvious culprit in any confusion may be the bond ordinance council introduced at its April 7 meeting, which creates the visual image of a $4.1 million price tag and the opening words of a statement of purpose that state “construction of a new beach patrol headquarters building.” The ordinance goes on to generally enumerate other aspects of the project, but it leaves the impression that the bulk of the spending is for the new building.

Business Administrator Robert Smith tried to reassure the public when he spoke to the issue, noting that the borough has only added funding for the 5% down payment in its capital budget for 2020. Other funds will depend on the ultimate passage of the bond ordinance. He added that the bond ordinance does not require the borough to spend the full sum of $4.1 million on the project.

Mayor Judith Davies-Dunhour said that her discussions with council members showed a strong desire by the governing body to reduce the cost of the project. To date, the only action approved by the council is initiating the state permit process, which can have a long lead time associated with it.

“I can say with some certainty that this project will be pared down,” Davise-Dunhour reiterated.

Council member Frank Dallahan urged Smith, who will be responding to the letter, to show the components of the plan and be clear that “this project involves several things that ought to be done at the same time.” 

The bond ordinance introduced April 7 would normally come up for a second reading and a public hearing during May's first council meeting. An agenda for the meeting isn't available.

The beach patrol building is one of several capital projects contained in the $10.3 million ordinance. The entire ordinance with all of its potential projects would be the subject of that May public hearing.

To contact Vince Conti, email vconti@cmcherald.com.

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