• March 31, 2020

Wilson running for re-election - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Wilson running for re-election

Touts work resort has done in infrastructure

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Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 4:37 pm

OCEAN CITY – Third Ward Councilman Tony Wilson touted his accomplishments on council, including supporting various infrastructure projects and said here’s still much more to do, like the city acquiring the former Ocean City Chevrolet lots and preserving them for open space. 

Wilson, 50, who currently serves as council vice president, outlined his platform at a press conference in City Hall on March 11.

He is running for re-election in the May 12 municipal ward elections. 

Businessman Jody Levchuk filed his petition to run as a candidate in the Third Ward council race and will challenge Wilson. 

“What we’re trying to do is continue the momentum we’ve already set up,” Wilson told reporters. “We have a great synergy up there. We work tremendously with the administration rowing the boat in the same direction making sure that we keep the taxes low for the most important people, the taxpayers.” 

Wilson, owner of Wilson Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, has served on city council for nine years. He was elected in a 2011 special election to fill the unexpired term of former councilwoman Susan Sheppard and was reelected in 2012 and 2016. 

Wilson cited the city’s ambitious infrastructure program included roads, drainage, paving alleys, bulkhead improvements, and reconstructing the Boardwalk. 

“All of this is being done at a fraction of the cost of what we have across the bridge. All of what we’re doing here with our current tax base is keeping our taxes low getting the most bang for our buck for the taxpayers,” Wilson said.

He said the city is fighting to procure lands in the island’s center for open space. 

Council on Feb. 27 voted to appropriate $6.5 million to purchase the former Ocean City Chevrolet dealership between Haven and Simpson avenues and 16th and 17th streets. Council also voted to appropriate more funds for adjacent properties.

The property, located next to the Ocean City Community Center, is one of the last undeveloped parcels of land on the island. 

The city is negotiating with the property’s owners, Harry and Jerry Klause of Klause Enterprises LLC for the property.

 “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for not only the Third Ward but for the entire city to be able to acquire such a large parcel. I will fight vehemently to continue this to make sure we get this to fruition. To have a continuous stretch of city-owned land from 15th street to 21st street is unlike any other town,” Wilson said.

Asked about building overdevelopment on the island versus open space, Wilson called it “a delicate balance.”

“You need to make sure you update our existing housing stock so that we can offer our tourists the accommodations that they need as well as making sure we keep the traditions of Ocean City upheld,” Wilson said.  

Wilson noted that the city’s island-wide dredging program has cleared out heavily silted lagoons and inlets. 

Recent dredging work involves North Point Lagoon, Second Street Marina, Bayside Center, Snug Harbor and Glen Cove.

 “We’ve done an unprecedented amount of dredging work. We lead the state in how to go about it, getting grant funding for it, and making sure we keep our back bays open for our residents and visitors,” Wilson said. 

He noted the city also has a long-standing agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for replenishing beaches in both the north and south end. 

Mobilization for the north end beach replenishment project is expected to begin in April with pumping to begin around May 1. The project has an early June completion date.  

“We managed to put beach replenishment in on an every three-year basis from tip to tip to protect properties and homeowners and to make sure we have a place for our visitors to sit on our beautiful beaches,” Wilson said. 

Flood mitigation projects completed include installing pumping stations, repairing and replacing drainage pipes and raising streets and curbing. 

 “We’ll continue to fix the dilapidated infrastructure that has been neglected for decades, passing on a better Ocean City to future generations,” Wilson said. 

Replacing antiquated drainage and utility supply systems, with much of the work performed by the utility companies and Cape May County, have been much-needed improvements. 

 “We don’t have a lot of say as to what goes on there, but we’re certainly going to keep pressure on them to get our city back to shining the way we like it in short order,” Wilson said.

Wilson has the support of Mayor Jay Gillian and his fellow councilmembers, who appeared for a photo before the press conference. Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, who served on city council with Wilson also was there to lend support. McClellan won the Dec. 19 First legislative District Assembly race in November 2019 and was sworn into office this January. 

Wilson said while individual councilmembers have their disputes, they can all act like a family. 

 “We have a very unique group up there. While we all have differing views, we all have each other’s backs. It’s a family environment,” Wilson said. 

On the subject of entering the only contested race in Ocean City’s four wards, Wilson said he’s confident in his record and past performance. 

“I’ve got broad shoulders. I’ve got a work ethic beyond any other. I can do it,” Wilson said.

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