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CREST HAVEN - Preparing for new industrial firms at the Cape May County Airport, the Board of County Commissioners approved a $3-million application to the U.S. Economic Development Agency, at the Jan. 12 meeting. 

The resolution noted that the agency makes available funds that "promote economic development investments under the Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Program."

Over the past several years, the county has expended resources to revamp the airport's industrial base. In concert with the Delaware River and Bay Authority, which operates the facility, the county retained a marketing firm to brand the area. The firm's thrust is intended to draw new tenants, with a focus on The Hangers, formerly Tech Village, and a new 16,000-square-foot, multi-tenant building.

With more tenants pledged for The Hangers, the county will construct the 16,000-square-foot building that will accommodate a minimum of three technology-based firms.

County officials have targeted drones and their associated instruments that will attract such companies that will provide solid employment for local people.

The resolution also notes the need for the federal funds because otherwise, county taxpayers would bear the cost of erecting the facility.

New Zoo Education Building

At their 3 p.m. caucus, commissioners briefly discussed the Cape May County Park and Zoo's new education building.

Acting Administrator Kevin Lare told the board that a request for proposals for the design of the structure that would be at the front of the park, near the main entrance, has been issued.

Lare explained that the Sheriff's Department, for several years, planned to build an annex near the park for officers patrolling the grounds. 

After discussions with several commissioners whose departments would be affected, Lare said it was decided that separate quarters, with a "firewall" or whatever is needed to keep it distinct from the education center, would be part of the project.

Lare estimated construction estimates would be expected in three to four months. After that, an architect will be selected and stakeholders will meet to share needs for the facility. Finally, commissioners would have to approve the project's funding.

Betts Reappointed

George Betts, of Tuckahoe, the long-serving chairman of the county Municipal Utilities Authority, was reappointed by county commissioners Jan. 12. His new term expires Feb. 1, 2026. 

There are seven MUA commissioners. Vice chairman is Richard Rixey. 

The MUA's next meeting is Jan. 20, at 1:30 p.m. It is accessible via YouTube. Details can be found on the MUA's website.

Nine Thespians, 603 Pounds of Food

Nine Wildwood Catholic High School students in Thespian Troupe 8938 were lauded by county commissioners for collecting 603 pounds of food that were donated to The Branches Outreach, in Rio Grande. The entity feeds homeless individuals at its storefront location. The resolution lauded the troupe's efforts in combatting hunger in the state. 

HSAC Appointments

In separate resolutions, commissioners appointed Elizabeth "Liz" Meenan, provider, and reappointed John Roy, consumer advocate, to the Human Services Advisory Council until Dec. 31, 2023.

Other Actions:

Commissioners approved change order No. 3 to R. Wilkinson and Sons Construction, for $30,116, as part of the $2 million contract for the new Safari Cafe, at the zoo. The resolution noted the money is for additional site work required to furnish and install a new water line and remove the existing one.

Jersey Cape Diagnostic, Training and Opportunity Center was awarded a one-year, $58,812 contract to collect recyclable materials from various county buildings.

The contract was awarded without bidding as permitted by state law for entities doing work by handicapped persons employed by a sheltered workshop.

Acenda, which provides services for residents with substance and mental health treatment needs, assumed the contract the county had awarded to Daytop Village of New Jersey. The Mendham-based Daytop provides substance and mental health treatment for persons of all ages, according to its website.

Acenda assumed the former Cape Counselings’ clients.

February was designated Career and Technical Education Month in the county. The effort highlights the service provided by the county Technical School District to over 1,500 secondary and adult county students.

That education aids them in meeting the current and future workforce needs of local employers, the resolution states.

Citizens Transportation Advisors Named

Commissioners appointed and reappointed members to the Local Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee.

One-year, until Dec. 31, 2021: John Birkmeyer, Krista Fitzsimons, Lenora Savich, Joan Flynn, BobbiJo Taylor.

Two-years, until Dec. 21, 2022: Raymond DiMarino, Cathy Ierovante, Sharon Mellor, Geraldine Norton, Joyce Vera Thompson.

Three-years, until Dec. 31, 2023: MaryAnn Mathews-Mason, Frank Roach, Stephanie Knox-Piratsky, Anne Garrison.

Covid Leave of Absence Policy

Due to the ongoing concerns of Covid, commissioners adopted a temporary leave of absence policy to address absences due to the virus. The resolution noted that the federal Families First Coronavirus Act created two emergency paid leave of absence entitlements, which expired Dec. 31, 2020. 

A newer package did not provide any such leave entitlements, which prompted the board's action.

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