Mayor Bagnell of Ventnor Responds.

To the editor:

Regarding the Aug. 29 letter, “Absolutely ridiculous’ to say Bagnell is out-performing Kelly administration,” the letter writer, former Commissioner John Piatt, forgets to mention that he was part of the prior administration.  As a noted statesman once said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

1. The management specialist position was added to the salary ordinance in April of 2012, one month before Frank Sarno and I defeated two thirds of the incumbent administration and got elected. Perhaps that is why the position was never filled. It is a civil service position of which Tom Quirk finished No. 1 on the list of hires. Tom was hired at a salary of $20,000 in 2012. We increased it to $45,000.00 this year.

2. There is such a thing as good debt – using bond money to pay for necessary infrastructure work, which is still greatly needed; and bad debt – using almost $2 million for engineering costs in 2½ years (February 2010 to July 2012) at an average interest rate of 3.75 percent. It cost $75,000 a year from our budget to pay this interest alone, not to mention the principal. I believe that at $100,000 per year, compared to $800,000 per year, our engineering costs are quite a bargain by comparison.

As a side note, we sure could use that extra $2 million in bonds, for the remaining infrastructure work, including $1 million needed for bulkheads. With the remaining money, we could finance the storm drainage projects to relieve flooding from heavy rains. These all have been ignored for many years, including when Piatt and his fellow commissioners spent that $2 million.

3. Our municipal tax rate is 78 cents per $100 of assessed value. All other taxes add $1.20 per $100 of assessed value. On a $200,000 house, our municipal taxes are $1,560; other taxes are $2,400.

4. Regarding the civil service question, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it ain’t no eagle.

I forgot to mention that the city actually did hire a grant writer at $65,000 for a year when Piatt was in office. Unfortunately, to have a chance of getting a grant, you have to apply for one. That was one minor oversight by the grant writer; even worse was the lack of City Commission oversight of the grant writer they hired.

Mike Bagnell

Mayor, Ventnor City

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