sb-council-chambersSea Bright’s council chambers is cordoned off with plastic as it’s being used as a temporary storage area for the eastern wing of borough hall.


Sea Bright Borough Hall. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving — and makes you keep paying for it.

It’s that pesky wall with the crack in it that’s revealing itself to be an even bigger headache than anticipated, with every look-see uncovering a new problem.

“It’s just been one thing after another,” said borough Engineer Jackie Flor.

What started as an investigation into a cracked and bowed wall on the eastern side of borough hall has turned into a refurbishment of the ocean side of the municipal building.

Work got going a few weeks ago, and contractors found that water exposure due to the crack led to significant rotting of the wood, bolts and joists of the structure, said Administrator Maryann Smeltzer.

That led to termite infestation. In the end, will likely Sea Bright to spend more than double than what it anticipated to fix the problem.

Right now the bill is somewhere around $33,000, but Smeltzer said the contractor, Seaport Builders, is projecting another $30k in repairs.

On Tuesday night, in a chambers cordoned off with plastic to protect paperwork and filing cabinets previously stored in the eastern end of borough hall, the council voted to introduce a $200,000, 15-year bond package to pay for the repairs, plus upgrades to the fire and first aid stations.

The damage at borough hall dates back long before the crack was discovered in August.

Just recently, the contractor found damage from a fire that was improperly fixed, Smeltzer said. Mayor Maria Fernandes said that’s likely from a time when borough hall served another purpose, as a nightclub, in another location, between Sea Bright Village and The Tradewinds — many, many years ago, she said.

Flor said work is expected to be completed three weeks from now.