Mayor Holtzman Beach Ice-Cream Deal Unfair to Ventnor Taxpayers?

Is Ventnor Mayor Beth Holtzman handling beach ice-cream deals in a fair and equitable way? Some believe taxpayers are unfairly footing the bill for ice-cream vendors, many of whom don’t even live in Ventnor.

Peter Kleiner of the Ventnor Advisory Committee has pushed for efforts to better monetize city assets. Specifically, ice cream vending on the beaches of Ventnor.

Getting fair market value for vending permits might allow for some nice beach and boardwalk improvements says Kleiner. Close to $50,000 in beach ice cream permits could be used for everything from beach maintenance to boardwalk public safety.

Holtzman Sweetheart Deals Unfair to Ventnor Taxpayers?

During the meeting, an agitated Mayor Beth said $30,000 isn’t worth the hassle.

The idea was publicly rebuked by an agitated Mayor Holtzman at a recent Ventnor Commissioners meeting. WATCH VIDEO from Oct 22, 2020.

Soon after that Oct 22 meeting, the following letter was sent from Kleiner to Mayor Beth Holtzman, along with Commissioners Lance Landgraf and Tim Kriebel.

Lightly edited excerpts from Kleiner letter dated Oct. 26, 2020:

Dear Commissioners,

Obviously, my suggestion that we should relook at how the city handles the “Ice Cream” situation during the last meeting raised some emotions.

I do not suggest we get rid of the 12 veterans that have been serving ice cream for years. Nor did my bringing up “Margate” have anything to do to comparing “Ventnor vs Margate” other than using the neighboring town for statistical comparison.

The beach size of Margate is similar to Ventnor. It makes for a fair, financial beach comparison.

An OPRA request was made to Margate. The results and financial comparison is significant. Frankly, the results displayed a disservice to our city.

I DO NOT suggest we replace our beloved Veterans. But I do suggest they pay a fair permit fee similar to what we would receive if permits were put out to bid. We have a fiduciary responsibility to Ventnor taxpayers to get at least our fair share.

Giving 12 beach ice-cream vendors a 95% permit discount is unfair to Ventnor taxpayers.

We need to take some emotion out of this. Look at it objectively. Review the table below. You’ll see how large the disparity in revenue there is.

It’s like selling our tennis courts for 4.5% of fair market value because ‘we like these guys’.

Peter Kleiner

In past 9 years, Margate received 95.6% more beach ice-cream permit money than Ventnor. This is real money. A $586,000 difference. This I believe, is worth the ‘hassle’.

 Ventnor Margate
TOTAL 9 YRS$26,100$612,100
AVG PER YR$2,900$68,011

Fair market value: The 12 individual vendors would pay only $4,166 each for the 2021 year.

Kleiner: I suggest we raise the fee to something close to fair market value. Let’s be fair to everyone; the City of Ventnor, the taxpayers and our ice-cream vendors.

I respectfully ask that this issue be discussed again and some type of serious compromise is agreed upon.

Thank you.

Ventnor resident and Advisory Board member, Peter Kleiner.

WPG Radio’s Harry Hurley chimed in on the controversy: There is one obnoxious Ventnor City Commissioner, Tim Kriebel, who loves to hear himself talk and talk and talk. About anything and everything. Kriebel has more bone-headed ideas than Slip Mahoney from “The Bowery Boys.”

12 thoughts on “Mayor Holtzman Beach Ice-Cream Deal Unfair to Ventnor Taxpayers?”

  1. She/they are looking at the situation from all positions while acknowledging her commitment to the citizens and Vets. Understanding the consequences and opportunity for the changes suggested is reasonable and expected from good leadership.

    None of this happens in a vacuum…critics no matter the details and why.

  2. I feel Peter raised an important financial issue that has not been addressed in decades. We are speaking about our money! Subsidizing ice cream vendors at our expense is unacceptable.

    The library system should be like Margate and Longport. We don’t have the money to subsidize the county system!

    The school budget Atlantic city HS formula must be re-worked to be fair. We need to keep Ventnor’s upward mobility and gain additional tax revenue in creative approaches.

    We should have 10+ showers along the boardwalk. I’m glad to live near the Margate border. Margate’s high prices makes Ventnor look like a tremendous value.

    All government services should go out to public bid. The mayor should not be so generous with our money. Please keep the tax abatement program going and eventually we will stop increasing our annual taxes.

    Thank you for your considerations,

    Bill the life-long Ventnor taxpayer

  3. Have each member of the advisory committee pay 2,500 for the honor to serve as most non-profit boards do. That would raise 75,000 and let the vets be. I’ve never served a board without financially leading by example.

    1. Great idea Neil, you can have my spot. So easy for you to comment when you haven’t been involved or spent any time to help. Make your check payable to VC.

  4. I’m torn between agreeing with raising the fees and not.

    I am a Veteran with war disabilities. I have been in contact with Lance Landgraf because I requested a blue mat on Portland Ave. I have a very hard time getting up the beach access with my disabilities. Landgraf suggested that I go to Newport Ave where the blue mat ramp is located.

    We have a family beach on Portland. Everyone knows each other. When you are not down, neighbors miss you. That’s the kind of beach we have on Portland Ave. So, asking me to go someplace else is a disgrace to anyone with disabilities.

    So if it means getting a blue mat for me to access the beach, then raise the fees.

    1. Dan- To me, this isn’t a “veterans” issue, although I fully support any and all veterans and their causes/issue. This is a Ventnor issue. A missed opportunity cost by not just asking the existing veterans to pay close to prevailing rate so all taxpayer can benefit.

      The blue mats you were asking about are a perfect example of where some of that money could go towards. I explicitly suggested all the additional money received go to exclusively benefit the beach.

      It’s up to the commissioners to decide to be fair to all, or to benefit only four individuals who live in the city of Ventnor. I’ve spoken my thoughts. Thank you.

  5. My experience with Mayor Holtzman and Ventnor City Hall has been poor. They don’t respond to emails or calls. Especially from second homeowners. Mayor Beth’s Advisory Board is nothing but a sham.

    1. A sham? Have you been to a meeting? have you requested anything from the Advisory Board? Better yet do you know what the Board was established to do? If the answer to any of those questions is I do not know or no, then I am unsure why you feel the way you do. FYI That Ventnor Citizens Advisory Board is unpaid, has no standing, and is merely in place to offer suggestions and solutions to the Ventnor Committee members.

    2. My experience with both Mayor Holtzman and Ventnor City Hall, both personally and as a member of the Advisory board, has always been excellent. I think calling people who want to help the city with their time (Advisory board) a Sham is irresponsible. With that said Emails and calls are not usually the way to get things done. The commissioners have open meetings twice a month, and the last six months have had zoom calls and the opportunity to raise your concerns or needs so there is no excuse to not attend a meeting. I also don’t believe your issue(s) have anything to do with 2nd home ownership. You just need to go to the right place to express yourself.
      PS- I still believe not getting fair money for the privilege of using our beach to sell ice cream is a complete disservice to the taxpayers.

  6. Richard Gober

    First of all I am a Veteran and yes I understand some difficulties with this issue but maybe some kind of a comprise could be worked out.

    As a Veteran I would never be offended if you made it mandatory to be a Ventnor resident to get that discount.

    I do have a little suggestion that might at least help on the beach revenue issue. Why not offer the young ladies and young men that check beach badges a dollar bonus for every beach badge they sell. Do you sit on the beach? Do you watch the young people (often young ladies) that have those jobs. Meaning no disrespect to any of them in particular, and some are better than others, but it is not at all common to see two young ladies simply walking along talking to each other and hardly really paying serious attention to asking people if they have a beach badge.

    It also not at all uncommon for a group of maybe 6 or 8 young men sitting together to be a little intimidating to the young ladies to check and see of they have beech badges. I sit on the beach every Saturday and Sunday and last year I was asked one time if I had a beach badge. REALLY? Sure maybe a few might recognize me but not all of them.

    Offer them a $1.00 bonus for every badge they sell and I guarantee you will make more money on beach bags sold on the beach in the history of Ventnor. I have only been suggesting this to the last 3 or 4 administrations. Hey, why not try it for one season? What do we have to lose?

    As we all well know there are not many options out there for Ventnor to bring in more revenue besides raising taxes, one of the main reasons ice cream permit revenue has been on table for a number of years.

    Richard Gober

  7. I agree with the beach badge statement that Richard puts forward and have made the suggestion to Ventnor City beach badge admin several times in the past.

    On the broader topic of fees – why not give Ventnor residents a discounted fee – if the sell ice cream – and on beach badges etc. ?

    Life time resident, Greg Polites

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.