Dear Friends,City Council on Thursday approved the first reading of an ordinance that authorizes the city to pursue four properties at the Ninth Street gateway to Ocean City. The ordinance would be just a first step in the potential acquisition of some or all of the abandoned properties that are an eyesore greeting motorists driving into town. This measure demonstrates our commitment to preserving open space and beautifying this important part of Ocean City.I’ve asked ACT Engineers and the city team to organize two meetings on Saturday, Aug. 20, to let residents know about Ocean City’s 2016 bay dredging program. The first meeting will be held 11:30 a.m. in the Senior Center at the Ocean City Community Center to discuss the next dredging project covering Snug Harbor, Glen Cove and the entrance area of South Harbor. The second meeting will be held for the residents of the Nor’Easter Residential Marina community at Seventh Street and Pleasure Avenue at 1 p.m., also at the Senior Center. Letters mailed to all residents of these affected neighborhoods explain the meeting and relevant aspects of the dredging program in more detail.Finally, I’d like to encourage everybody to sign up for storm alerts by telephone, text and e-mail. As always, I hope that these will rarely be necessary, but it’s important to be aware and prepared. Many of you already receive telephone alerts, but adding a cell phone to our Code Red system will allow you to receive text messages when the National Weather Service issues “warnings” about approaching weather events. This database will never be used for anything but emergency alerts. To sign up, visit ocnj.us/oem.I hope everyone has a great weekend.Warm regards,Jay A. GillianMayorCheck on the latest project updates and sign up for email alerts.