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:
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’.
|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.
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.”