BELMAR - Belmar voters knocked down a plan to borrow $7 million in funding for the rebuilding of two beach pavilions destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

The plan was voted down 1,041 to 756. Opponents argued the price was too high to be passed on to taxpayers and said the work could be completed for less by using FEMA and insurance funding.

"It was just too much money," says Phil Janosko. "$7 million? There's so many people who need money.  Belmar is pretty enough as it is."
Supporters said the pavilions needed to be built to withstand future storms.

Mayor Matthew Doherty had supported the bond referendum, but says it's back to the drawing board. "Now the question is what kind of pavilions, if any, should we have up on the beach front," he says.

Doherty is soliciting ideas from residents that will be posted on the borough's website for discussion.

"I think it's incumbent on me as the mayor to move forward and to heal the town and bring people back together," he says. "It was a very divisive election."

Doherty says the special election cost $17,000, and tens of thousands of dollars were spent on the architectural designs and plans for the pavilions that voters rejected.