Will Longport & Margate Join Ventnor in County-Wide Court System?

Russo, Leeds, Lawler of Longport
Russo, Leeds, Lawler of Longport.

During the LONGPORT Commission meeting of OCTOBER 20, 2021, the benefits of joining a new, county wide court system was discussed. Longport could see significant cost savings if they join.

At least 8 Atlantic County towns, including Ventnor, are joining the consolidated court system that launches on January 1, 2022.

According to Atlantic County Solicitor Jim Ferguson, Longport could save $210,000 per year on court costs.

Key Longport decision makers: Mayor Nick Russo, Commissioner Jim Leeds, Commissioner Dan Lawler, Borough Solicitor Affanato, CFO Kelly, Police Chief Culmone.

Commissioner Lawler says joining the centralized court system could save the Borough money. He suggested informing Margate that Longport is interested in the County proposal.

Longport Considers County Wide Court System

Mayor Russo needs more cost analysis. Longport Administrator Porter said that he would reach out to Margate.

Back in May 2021, Longport signed a 5-year consolidated court deal with Margate. Longport pays Margate $10,000 per month. Longport also pays Margate $33,000 annually for costs associated with the prosecutor, public defender and judge.

Longport has over 1,000 court cases per year and has some of the highest costs per case in Atlantic County.

Atlantic County Commissioners Consider Consolidated Court Plan

Solicitor Michael Affanato said Longport is committed to the Margate deal for all of 2022, and would need to give Margate a 6-month notice to break the deal.

We should consider the tax savings.

Longport Commissioner Dan Lawler.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Bob English of 32nd Ave said a centralized court system could be a good option for the Borough with significant cost savings. It could provide savings for the City of Margate, too. If Margate was interested in the County system, Longport might be able to get out of its agreement at an earlier date if both municipalities opted to join.

EDITORS NOTE: Longport does a pretty good job with writing meeting minutes, yet still suffers from poor recordings of those public meetings. Longport offers no online video feed, just very low quality audio. Longport, like Margate, blocks live public comment from those listening remotely. With a majority of Longport taxpayers being 2nd homeowners, Longport governing body effectively shutting out those who pay majority of Longport bills.

Volunteers needed for covering Longport news. Can you help gather public info regarding Longport? Much of it’s already online in various locations. Other info can be acquired via OPRA, Open Public Records Act. With so few Longport voters (fulltime residents), it’s vital to have some level of taxpayer oversight that respectfully holds elected Longport officials accountable.

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