Dear Ventnor Neighbors and Voters,
We begin first, by saying “we share your pain.” We know that, for many of you, you still are not back in your own Ventnor home. It’s even more painful to know that an unelected city hall official who sits at the Mayor’s desk on the weekdays Mr. Bagnell has chosen to be off-duty has said that Ventnor might lose hundreds of full-time families and seems to shrug it off as unimportant. We say, “IT MATTERS TO US!”
Months after the October 2012 storm, we’re convinced that Ventnor has taken a wrong turn under Mike Bagnell’s leadership. We are a group of 20 voters who met a month ago, pooled information from hundreds of dissatisfied fellow residents, and decided to take action. Why?
The Storm: Paralysis. No official communication for 72 hours. In that time, Margate residents got 6 robo-calls about pressing safety matters, despite the storm forcing staff out of city hall.
The Cleanup: Dirty. Unlike surrounding towns, Ventnor paid more, got less, started later, took longer, and endured shady-looking scrap metal scavengers roaming our town. Now, we’ve got only partial reimbursements while FEMA probes Ventnor’s contractor, Florida-based AshBritt, Inc. for price gouging, political payola & hiring an unregistered NJ hauler and felon.
The Recovery: Aborted. In March as Brigantine’s resident volunteer group was bringing in donated drywall to get families back into their homes, Ventnor’s Bagnell/Quirk evicted our own Ventnor volunteers from public space, derailing their ability to help residents.
Spending: $$$!!!! Bagnell’s 2013 budget has turned city hall into a Friends-Family-and-Political-IOU Patronage Pit – a 125% pay raise to his campaign manager Tom Quirk, for a job title that sat empty for over a decade. Another $100,000/year job was a gift to a different friend.
Debt: A mountain of it! $15.3 million of new debt in just the last 6 months, with $5 million of it after a hasty Commission morning meeting in May. The mayor calls it “tax relief funding” -- the newspaper report calls it a LOAN.
Tax collections: Digging a hole! Ventnor’s $2.93 million for tax collection “bad debt” is up by nearly $400,000 over last year. Residents are “walking away” from homes; others can’t pay taxes when they’re hard-pressed by home repair bills. Many struggle to keep up with the mortgage on damaged homes while also paying rent to live elsewhere.
Please click on The Issues for more facts. If you are ready to reclaim Ventnor as YOUR town, and city hall as OUR servant, this is your chance to tell Mayor Mike to “Pack his Bags” – we can’t afford his excess baggage anymore.
We want to know in advance that a Recall would be overwhelmingly supported. The Ventnor 20 Group can be reached via email.
PS: FYI, the "Angry or Grumpy 20" as Mayor Bagnell refers to us, are actually trying to provide CONSTRUCTIVE GUIDANCE to help Ventnor do better planning for future storms and SAVE TAXPAYERS SOME DOLLARS as well.