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Dateline OCTOBER 2007:  Open Public Record Act (OPRA) Requests

During October, ten (10) OPRA requests were filed with City of Ventnor and  copies were provided to W♥V.  

The OPRA Request Form for Ventnor can be found on the City Clerk page at the official www.ventnorcity.org website, or directly from this link to a PDF document

The October OPRA filings sought to obtain information about various topics which impact municipal finances, or which have been controversial due to litigation.  They are listed below under capitalized subject headings.  

The OPRA requests for documents which were not numerous were met with complete responses in a timely fashion.   Where documents were voluminous due to litigation (the city’s acquisition and handling of the six parcels at 6503 to 6513 Ventnor Ave.) or complexity of a project (the Municipal Library and Cultural Arts Center construction project), Ventnor responded with an invitation to the individuals initiating the relevant OPRAs to make a personal inspection of several boxes of documents.  They could then tag documents for copying. 

As responses are digested, they will be reported in the “Our Town Matters” Forum of the VENTNOR e-VOICE, reached through the link at uppermost right.

CITY OF VENTNOR DEBT: MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL

Per OPRA Request please provide information about the City of Ventnor’s retention of law firms, bonding firms, and financial services providers such as underwriters related to all issuances of City of Ventnor municipal bonds and school construction or improvements bonds for the period January 1, 2003 to October 1, 2007 identifying:

Dates of issuance of bonds
Amount of bonds
Name of bond counsel (both law firm and individual lawyer or lawyers) and professional fees paid
Details of any amounts paid as referral fees by bond counsel
Name of underwriter and charges
Gross sums derived from bond issuance and net sums derived by City of Ventnor after payment of all professional fees, costs and charges.

Further, please provide the following:

Copy of City of Ventnor Debt Statement for 2006 as filed with Dept. of Community Affairs, Bureau of Financial Regulation and Assistance.

Total Amount of City of Ventnor School Debt (Bond and Notes) outstanding at January 1, 2007
Total Amount of City of Ventnor School Debt (Bond and Notes) outstanding at October 1, 2007
Any additions to School Debt (Bond and Notes) between the above dates.
Amount of Principal and Interest paid out between the above dates

Amount of City of Ventnor Municipal Debt (Bond and Notes) outstanding at January 1, 2007
Amount of City of Ventnor Municipal Debt (Bond and Notes) outstanding at October 1, 2007
Any additions to Municipal Debt (Bond and Notes) between the above dates specifying date(s) of issuance and amount(s)
Amount of Principal and Interest paid out between the above dates

Equalized Value as of October 1, 2007
Debt Ratio as of October 1, 2007

LAND PLANNING BY CITY OF VENTNOR

(Note: This website plans to present a series in its TOPICS section about Land Planning which will start with Ventnor’s 1948 Master Plan and work its way, installment by installment, through subsequent Master Plans. It will address the   fairly recent 1998-2005 events surrounding the Northeast Ventnor Redevelopment Plan or NVRP, affecting 26 blocks of stores, apartment buildings and residential homes.  The series will end with the period 2005 through 2007, which was marked by the withdrawal of Pulte Homes as co-lead developer, the apparent financial collapse of Alliance Companies which was the other developer chosen by the City, and Ventnor’s subsequent inability to attract any developer(s) to take over the project.)   

Per OPRA Request please provide a copy of the following:

1.     City of Ventnor Master Plan of 1988 inclusive of platted map of City identifying all Zones.
2.     Amendments by Planning Commission to Master Plan since 1988, with exclusion of 1996 Master Plan Review Study
3.     If such a document is maintained by City of Ventnor, please provide a notated platted map showing parcels where any Variances, not in conformity with designations, have been granted since 1988 adoption of Master Plan.

Please provide a copy of any Ordinances which may seek to distinguish by explicit definition and examples the permissible activities of a “commercial zone” and the permissible activities of a “light industrial zone” and the permissible activities of an “industrial zone” within the city limits

MUNICIPAL FINANCE: BANK DEPOSITS & BANKING RELATIONSHIPS FROM JANUARY 1, 2003 to January 1, 2007

1. Per OPRA Request please provide information about the City of Ventnor’s banking relationships, stating for each specified date the name(s) of the financial institution(s) and amount(s) of funds on deposit.

January 1, 2003
Name(s) of bank(s) Amounts

January 1, 2004
Name(s) of bank(s) Amounts

January 1, 2005
Name(s) of bank(s) Amounts

January 1, 2006
Name(s) of bank(s) Amounts

January 1, 2007
Name(s) of bank(s) Amounts

2. In instances where former banking arrangements have terminated and new banking relationships have arisen, please provide copies of any documents pursuant to which City of Ventnor sought competitively more favorable interest rates and/or more favorable cost savings. 

3. Kindly state if City of Ventnor undertakes annual review of banking arrangements to compare relative advantages and/or disadvantages of competing services for banking patronage.

4. Kindly state if any City of Ventnor elected officials, appointive officials, or city employees serve as officers, directors, or trustees of banking institutions and the dates of their appointment(s) to any such financial institution positions.

MUNICIPAL LIBRARY & CULTURAL ARTS CENTER CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

Per OPRA Request please provide information about the City of Ventnor’s project for the Municipal Library, as follows:

Copy or copies of Notice(s) of Bid-lettings to Contractors inclusive of Name(s) of newspapers where advertising was placed and dates.

List of bidders solicited

Copies of bid responses

Identification of contractors or professionals providing project services and the costs actually paid for
1.     Architectural services
2.     Site surveying services
3.     Site planning services
4.     Engineering services
5.     Legal fees
6.     General Contractor and/or Project Management
7.     Subcontractors (provide names and general descriptions)

MUNICIPAL FINANCE: CITY ACQUISITION OF PARCELS 6503 THROUGH 6513 VENTNOR AVE. WITH RESPECT TO PROFESSIONAL SERVICES, ENGINEER(S) REPORTS, SOIL CONTAMINATION, REMEDIATION AND CLEAN-UP, AUCTIONS.

Per this OPRA Request please provide details relative to the 6500 Ventnor Ave. block lots in City of Ventnor ownership (6503 Ventnor Ave, 6505 Ventnor Ave, 6507 Ventnor Ave, 6509 Ventnor Ave, 6511 Ventnor Ave, 6513 Ventnor Ave) as follows:

Copy of bid solicitation (if any) for engineering services, inclusive of Public Notice or letters to a bidders list.
Copy of bid responses (if any) for engineering services
Copy of Engineer report(s) recommending condemning the structure(s)
Copy of billing for engineer services
Copy of bid solicitations (if any) for demolition contractor services, inclusive of Public Notice or letters to a bidders list.
Copy of contract for demoltion
Cost of demolition
Copy of bid solicitations (if any) for soil testing services, inclusive of Public Notice or letters to a bidders list.
Copy of bid responses.
Copy of bill for soil testing services
Copy of soil contamination report
Copy of bid solicitations (if any) for soil contamination remediation, inclusive of Public Notice and/or letters to a bidders list.
Copies of bid responses
Copy of contract for soil
Cost of soil contamination remediation
Copies of contracts for sale resulting from all public auctions of the property
Copies of letters from prospective purchasers inquiring about buying the properties
As to phone calls or personal meetings respecting the properties, the above-enumerated professionals, the above-enumerated contractors, and all prospective purchasers,  please provide  (a) dates,  (b) names of persons involved, (c) copies of notes taken.

MUNICIPAL LITIGATION: 6500 VENTNOR AVE BLOCK LOTS

Per this OPRA Request please provide details relative to the 6500 Ventnor Ave. block lots in City of Ventnor ownership (6503 Ventnor Ave, 6505 Ventnor Ave, 6507 Ventnor Ave, 6509 Ventnor Ave, 6511 Ventnor Ave, 6513 Ventnor Ave) as follows:

1.     Copies of bills sent by City of Ventnor to owners of record for demolition costs of the subject properties
2.     Copies of Demand Letters and/or Civil Suit Complaints filed against City of Ventnor by owners of the subject properties
3.     Copies of City of Ventnor’s Answers to Complaints
4.     Cost for settlement(s) of demands and/or litigations
5.     Cost of legal fees, court reporter costs, transcript costs, and all ancillary litigation-related expenses.
6.     Cost of Settlement of litigation
7.     Current status of any unresolved litigation
8.     Information about City of Ventnor’s insurance carrier identifying name of insurer, copies of correspondence setting forth either disclaimer or reservations of rights stance by carrier, and City of Ventnor’s deductible and/or self-insured retention obligations.

MUNICIPAL FINANCE:  INSURANCE BROKERS AND UNDERWRITERS PROVIDING SERVICES TO CITY OF VENTNOR

Per this OPRA Request please provide details relative to the name of all insurance brokerage firms placing City of Ventnor insurance coverages and the names of all risk underwriters issuing actual policies of insurance coverage for each of the following years:

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Further, kindly advise if City of Ventnor undertakes a periodic review to determine most favorably priced insurance coverages and most competitive brokerages’ commission charges  for placing the coverages.  Provide copies of relevant documents soliciting competing offers as per the most recent past review process.

MUNICIPAL FINANCE: FISHING PIER

Per this OPRA Request please provide the following information relative to the Ventnor Municipal Pier Reconstruction bidding process:

Copy of Notice of Bids advertising first bid-letting
Copy of Bidders List for first bid-letting
Copies of Bid-Solicitation letters to bidders
One copy of accompanying Plan and Specifications sent to bidders
Dates of any phone calls made by Commissioners or City of Ventnor staff, or personal meetings, involving bidders and copies of any notes taken during phone calls or meetings relative to the first bid-letting
Copies of Bid Responses
Copy of contract award and Resolution confirming award
Copy of actual contract between City of Ventnor and awarded contractor
Copies of correspondence exchanged by and between Midlantic Marine (Manasquan, NJ) and City of Ventnor respecting contractor’s withdrawal from performance of awarded contract
Copy of Notice of Bids advertising second bid-letting
Copy of Bidders List for second bid-letting
Copies of Bid-Solicitation letters to bidders contacted for second bid-letting
Dates of any phone calls made by Commissioners or City of Ventnor staff, or personal meetings, involving bidders and copies of any notes taken during phone calls or meetings relative to the second bid-letting
Copies of Bid Responses

Further, please provide any bid-letting documents and responsive bids respecting possible demolition of the Ventnor Municipal Pier as a segregated project.

If pier demolition was not the subject for an independent bid-letting directed at demolition only, kindly so state, and identify the line items of the Pier Reconstruction bid(s) which were used to create the $1.2 Million figure presented at Public Meeting and characterized as a “sunk cost” by the Commissioners.

MUNICIPAL FINANCE:  6 N.  HILLSIDE AVE. ACQUISITION

Per this OPRA Request please provide information about the City of Ventnor’s costs relative to municipal ownership of 6 N. Hillside Ave. as follows:

Cost of acquisition
Copy of Report on status of mold/mildew respecting the structure
Cost of professional fees paid for inspection and report
Copy of Notice of Bid-letting for Demolition of structure on premises
Copy of bidding list of demolition contractors
Copies of bid solicitation letters to contractors
Copies of responsive bids
Copy of awarded contract to demolition contractor
Copy of Notice of Bid-letting for soils investigation (if any) of premises
Copy of bidding list of soils investigation professional service providers
Copies of bid solicitation letters to professional service providers
Copy of technical report respecting soil investigations
Copy of Notice of Bid-letting for soils clean-up/remediation (if any) of premises
Copy of bidding list for contaminated soils remediation contractors
Copies of responsive bids by contaminated soils remediation contractors
Copy of awarded contract to soils remediation contractor
As to phone calls or personal meetings between City of Ventnor officials and any of the above-enumerated firms or professionals or contractors,  please provide  (a)  dates of phone contact or personal meetings, (b) names of persons involved, (c) copies of notes taken.

BEACH PROJECT:  MARTINDALE AVE. GROIN

Per this OPRA Request please provide information about the City of Ventnor’s permits, design fees, legal fees, anticipated sources of funding and anticipated project start and completion dates  in respect of the Martindale Avenue beach groin,  as follows:

  1. Professional charges for engineering design services, both as to initial design and all subsequent revisions
  2. Professional fees incurred for Permit Submissions by City of Ventnor to N.J. Department of Environmental Protection
  3. Professional fees incurred for Permit Submissions by City of Ventnor to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  4. Copy of City of Ventnor permit application to NJ DEP
  5. Copy of City of Ventnor permit application to U.S. ACOE
  6. Costs and charges associated with design review by any University or Technical Institute
  7. Copies of correspondence received by City of Ventnor from City of Margate elected or appointive officials or Margate private citizens or law firms retained by City of Margate in respect to the Martindale Ave. beach groin
  8. Copies of correspondence received by City of Ventnor from any Ventnor property owners in respect to the Martindale Ave. beach groin.
  9. Copies of any notes taken or logged phone call messages in respect of calls from City of Margate elected or appointive officials, City of Margate retained law firms, City of Margate residents, City of Ventnor property owners about the Martindale Ave. beach groin.
  10. Copy of NJ DEP Permit
  11. Copy of U.S. ACOE Permit
  12. Correspondence to or from any federal or state agency or elected official in respect of funding for the Martindale Ave. beach groin beginning from the date of the project’s initial contemplation through the date of filing of this OPRA request.
  13. Any written documentation setting forth – as estimation or as bid response –the cost of construction of the Martindale Ave. beach groin.
  14. Expected date for Start of Work
  15. Expected date for Completion of Work
  16. Finalized list of bidders solicited or Preliminary list of bidders to be solicited for performance of beach groin construction