416 New Jersey Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742 • 732-892-1118 • www.pointpleasantbeach.org
Welcome to Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach News


Printable Version


Mayor's Correspondence RE: Alternate Revenue Sources

MAYOR'S LETTERS AND RESPONSES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

To: The Honorable Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, Treasurer

Cc: Mr. Chris Jeter, Assistant State Treasurer and Ms. Regina Egea, Chief of Staff

From: Vincent R. Barrella, Mayor, Point Pleasant Beach

Subject: LORI -- The 34th Tool in the "Toolkit"

Date: December 20, 2010

I wish to begin by thanking you, Mr. Jeter and Ms. Egea for taking time out of what I know are your very busy schedules to meet with me.

Like the private sector, government can not simply cut itself to fiscal stability. To be sure, we need to shrink the size of government and the amount of tax dollars that are consumed by it; however, we need to do so in a manner that does not jeopardize that which the residents and taxpayers of New Jersey value. More importantly, we must more fairly apportion the tax burden and shift New Jersey's emphasis away from its most regressive form of taxation -- property taxes.

It is respectfully submitted that a good first step in doing so would be the introduction of a thirty-fourth "tool" for the toolkit - Local Option Revenue Initiatives ("LORI"). While I believe LORI together with the other toolkit reforms the Governor has proposed would result in a dramatic reduction of property taxes throughout the State, I will limit the discussion in this memo to my municipality, Point Pleasant Beach ("PPB"), since I am obviously most familiar with its problems.

The projected 2011 municipal budget for PPB reveals a deficit of approximately $1.225 million. This assumes that our employees receive a zero percent increase and all spending is held at last year's level. (Our collective bargaining agreement with the PBA expires on December 31 of this year. Our agreements with our other units the Teamsters and TWU are in effect in 2011 and call for increases of approximately 3.5%.) A 2% increase, the percentage in the current CAP law, would obviously increase that deficit. The projected maximum property tax increase for PPB under the current CAP law is $390,000 (approximately $118,000 of which represents 2% of last year's tax levy). Thus, we are approximately $835,000 above the current levy CAP [$340,000 of this amount is attributable to the mandated increase in our reserve for uncollected taxes, with the balance attributable to lost non-property tax revenue (If the reserve for uncollected taxes were restored as a CAP waiver item, this would help in the budget process, but would not help reduce property taxes. In fact it would nearly double this year's municipal property tax increase from 6.6% to 12.4%.)].

We are not spending more, and we recognize the need to spend less! We have already begun discussions with our employees in an effort to work with them in closing the gap (Substantial concessions were made by our employees during last year's budget process as well.). However, attempting to close this enormous, for us, gap strictly by workforce reductions (whether by furloughs or layoffs) will leave us less safe and dirtier (By way of analogy, it one loses his job or otherwise experiences a loss of wages, it is logical to cut household spending, but eliminating vacations and eating hamburger instead of steak can only take you so far. Any responsible person would also look to find additional revenue sources to supplement his or her existing revenue sources. That is the role of LORI at the municipal level. They should not be used as a substitute for responsible and necessary cost cutting, but rather they should represent a supplement to insure that basic expenses -- the rent or mortgage and utility bills -- can be paid, while also helping to deliver property tax relief to our taxpayers). This is precisely the concern the Governor has articulated with respect to Atlantic City (It is believed that this concern has prompted the Governor to embrace the creation of an Atlantic City tourism district).

You currently have in your possession copies of my written testimony before the Assembly Budget Committee from April 2009 and a more detailed memorandum advancing what in essence is a "fairness" or equal protection argument for LORI. Simply stated, the fairest way to reduce the property tax burden on PPB's residents and businesses alike is to allow for the imposition of a flat 2% fee on all tourist related activities. It is estimated that this would produce approximately $3 million of revenue for PPB. This non-property tax revenue would allow PPB to slash its parking rates by approximately 2/3, thus reducing the cost of parking for an eight hour period from $24 to $8, a reduction of $16 which hopefully would be spent by those who visit PPB at our local businesses. There would still be enough revenue left, even after this, to allow for a 30% reduction in our municipal property tax burden. However, I recognize that there are procedural hurdles that need to be overcome as well as the reaction of some to taxing activities that currently fly under the radar (I discussed with you some of those areas that I am surprised that the State has not tapped into, such as imposing a sales tax on the sale of beach badges for privately owned beaches, amusements and games of chance).

Consequently, I would ask that you consider endorsing the following LORI for PPB:

(1) A 2% fee on the sale of alcoholic beverages (the State currently collects sales tax on these sales and the amount reported to the State could simply be reported to PPB). It is estimated that this will produce between $600,000 and $1 million of non-property tax revenue for PPB.

(2) A 15% tax on private parking lots which our larger municipalities like Newark, Jersey City and Elizabeth are currently permitted to assess (once again, the State currently collects sales tax on this revenue source and the amounted reported to the State could simply be reported to PPB). It is estimated that this will produce between $300,000 to $500,000 of non-property tax revenue for PPB.

(3) An extension of the hotel/motel tax to seasonal rentals of 150 days or less (Assemblyman McKeon had legislation drafted to accomplish this, however, this legislation was not introduced because of a lack of bi-partisan support). It is estimated that this will produce between $200,000 and $300,000 of non-property tax revenue for PPB.

I have listed the LORI in order of preference; however, I do recognize that securing all three requested impact fees may not be practicable, and would value any assistance you can give us. It should be noted that PPB is unique in the State of New Jersey as we do not own our beaches and consequently we do not derive revenue from the sale of beach badges, we do, however, have all of the infrastructure costs associated with the tourism industry. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not bring to your attention the fact that last year PPB received $3,401 of CMPTRA aid (We are also at our statutorily mandated minimum 2002 level for the Energy Receipts Tax).

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or require any additional information. I would be happy to work with you in any way I can to secure the continued vitality of PPB and the State of New Jersey. I can be reached by telephone at (732) 330-7910 or by e-mail at vrbarrella@aol.com. I want to thank you for meeting with me and for any help you may be able to give the taxpayers of PPB.





FEBRUARY 8, 2011


Honorable Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, Esq.
Treasurer, State of New Jersey
P. O. Box 002
Trenton, NJ 08625-0002

RE: Point Pleasant Beach Request for Status for Authorization to Implement Local Option Revenue Initiatives


Dear Treasurer Sidamon-Eristoff:

I want to begin by thanking you and members of your staff, Chris Jeter and Regina Egea, for taking the time to meet with me on December 15, 2010. As you will recall that meeting was scheduled by your office after I had forwarded you documents, including my April 2009 testimony before the Assembly Budget Committee, in which I laid out the case for Local Option Revenue Initiatives (“LORI”). I assume that your decision to meet with me was motivated by your recognition that the ideas I had put forth in those documents had some merit, and that the situation as it presently exists is grossly unfair and inequitable to the residents and taxpayers of Point Pleasant Beach.

At our meeting you requested that I prepare a short memorandum detailing what I would like to see implemented in Point Pleasant Beach. The memo was forwarded to you on December 20, 2010, and I enclose another copy for your easy reference. You indicated that you would speak to the Governor regarding my requests. On three separate occasions -- December 29, 2010, January 23, 2011 and January 25, 2011 -- I asked, via email, to be informed as to the status of my request. To date, I have not received any response to those inquiries. Consequently, kindly accept this correspondence as my inquiry regarding the status of my requests made both at our meeting and in my December 20 memorandum.

While I recognize you are likely inundated with work regarding the State budget for the upcoming year, I am certain you understand our situation in Point Pleasant Beach as we seek to address our 2011 budget. We simply need to know, as we move forward, whether the Governor has embraced the ideas (or any part of the ideas) set forth in the December 20 memo, any of which will provide some relief to the residents and taxpayers of Point Pleasant Beach.

I want to once again stress, in the strongest terms possible, that the request for LORI is not a request for higher taxes, but rather for lower property taxes and the ability of Point Pleasant Beach to continue to provide the clean and safe environment that has allowed our tourism industry to thrive and prosper. As you know, Point Pleasant Beach sends tens of millions of dollars of sales and income tax revenue to the State and last year received back $3,401 in the form of CMPTRA aide – this is simply unconscionable.

If Point Pleasant Beach, which to my knowledge is the only shore community in New Jersey that does not own the beaches located within its borders, is not allowed to raise non-property tax revenue locally through the implementation of LORI, I request that this year we receive between one and one-half million dollars of CMPTRA aide. This is the amount needed to offset the cost to our residents and taxpayers of providing the clean safe environment that contributes so much to the success of the tourism industry in Point Pleasant Beach and, therefore, the tax revenue derived by the State from that industry.

While the Executive and Legislative branches may be precluded by the Supreme Court’s Abbott decision from rectifying the imbalance with respect to school aide, there is no such prohibition in effect regarding CMPTRA aide or LORI. In fact, it is respectfully submitted that the New Jersey State Constitution requires the elimination of the inherent inequity in allowing some New Jersey residents to benefit from LORI, while others, like the taxpayers and residents of Point Pleasant Beach, are precluded from enjoying those same benefits and what would be the resultant decline in their real property tax burden.

In conclusion, and once again respectfully, without LORI or an enormous increase in CMPTRA aide the residents and taxpayers of Point Pleasant Beach will find themselves living in a costlier, less safe and less healthy environment. This in turn may likely result in a decline in property values and tax revenue we send to the State. I thank you for your consideration and await your response. Should you have any questions, I can be reached by telephone at (732) 330-7910 or by e-mail at vbarrella@pointbeach.org.


Very Truly Yours,
Vincent R. Barrella
Mayor, Point Pleasant Beach




JUNE 20, 2011

The Honorable Chris Christie, Esq.
Governor, State of New Jersey
P. O. Box 1
Trenton, NJ 08625-0001

CC: Honorable Stephen Sweeney, Senate President; Honorable Tom Kean, Jr., Senate Minority Leader; Honorable Sheila Oliver, Assembly Speaker; Honorable Alex DeCroce, Assembly Minority Leader; Honorable Paul Sarlo, Chair, Senate Budget Committee; Honorable Anthony R. Bucco, Senate Republican Budget Officer; Honorable James Whelan, Chair, Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee; Honorable Louis Greenwald, Chair, Assembly Budget Committee; Honorable Declan O'Scanlon, Assembly, Republican Budget Officer; Honorable Matthew Milam, Chair, Assembly Tourism & the Arts Committee; Honorable Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, State Treasurer; Honorable Lori Grifa, Commissioner, Department of Community Affairs; Honorable Chuck Chiarello, President, NJ State League of Municipalities; Honorable David Del Vecchio, President, NJ Conference of Mayors; District 10 Legislators, Assemblymen Wolfe and Holzapfel and Senator Ciesla; and William Dressel, Executive Director, NJ State League of Municipalities


RE: Point Pleasant Beach

Dear Governor Christie:

At the recently concluded New Jersey Conference of Mayors convention, I discussed the fiscal situation in Point Pleasant Beach with many of those in attendance. The question I posed to them was – Should a municipality with approximately eleven millions dollars of appropriations and which is $1.65 million below the State mandated spending cap, have any difficulty coming within the current tax levy cap? The general response I received was, no.

The reality is much different. In order to be compliant with the tax levy cap Point Pleasant Beach, amongst other things, was forced to (1) implement a program of 17 unpaid furlough days for every one of our non-uniform employees, (2) ask our local PBA to agree to concessions, which included holding all salaries at their 2010 level (there were no percentage increases, no step increases and no longevity increases) and (3) ask our police department, which saw the retirement of our Chief and one of our Lieutenants in 2010, to work with 22 full-time officers, as opposed to the 24 recommended in a DCA study approved and signed-off on by current DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa Esq.

These steps should not have been necessary given the fact that Point Beach is well below the spending cap. Moreover, that the Beach needed to raise municipal property taxes by 6.5%, the maximum level that the Legislature and yourself deemed appropriate, in order to simply balance this year’s budget undeniably reveals that Point Pleasant Beach has a revenue problem, not a spending problem.

On December 15, 2010, in an effort to address the issues facing Point Pleasant Beach, I met with State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, Esq. and two senior members of his staff to discuss adding a 34th tool to the “toolkit,” Local Option Revenue Initiatives or “LORI” (My December 15 meeting with the Treasurer was scheduled by him after he reviewed my April 2009 testimony before the Assembly Budget Committee and other documents furnished to him in late November. At this meeting, Mr. Sidamon-Eristoff requested an additional memo from me. This memorandum was provided to him on December 20, 2010.). On February 8, 2011 your administration rejected my proposals (On February 8, 2011, I wrote the Treasurer seeking to ascertain the status of my request. That letter had attached to it the memo provided on December 20. I received back a one page letter, dated the same day, rejecting my proposals. For your convenience, I have enclosed these documents.).

I believe that there are some who hold influence with you, both within and without your administration, who have portrayed my proposals as an effort to raise taxes -- nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is what I have proposed is designed to lower property taxes, while more fairly apportioning the costs associated with tourism to those who visit Point Pleasant Beach.

I recognize the need to continue to work diligently to control spending. I am a strong proponent of shared services (although I am opposed to forced consolidation), I understand the need for pension and healthcare reform (however I am cognizant that part of the problem relates to Trenton’s bi-partisan failure to honor its existing obligations), I commend you and the Legislature for finally addressing the issue of arbitration reform, and I believe that many of your other proposed “toolkit” reforms will be helpful in slowing the growth of property taxes for a large number of New Jersey’s municipalities.

Unfortunately, simply slowing the growth of property taxes is insufficient. We need to address the systemic problem – our over reliance on property taxes. Simply stated, we need to find new and more equitable ways to pay for municipal services so that property taxes can be reduced, not simply be allowed to grow at a slower rate.

On numerous occasions, I have heard you speak of empowering Mayors and local government officials. With all due respect, I do not feel empowered when I have little or no control over the revenue side of my budget. Nor do I Feel empowered when I have to tell my seniors and young families that their property taxes are going up by 6.5%, so that we can provide services to the two million non-residents and non-taxpayers that flock to the privately owned beaches, bars and amusement attractions located with Point Pleasant Beach.

Point Pleasant Beach sends tens of millions of dollars of sales and income tax revenue to Trenton. Last year (2010) we received back $3,401 in the form of CMPTRA aide. This year (2011) our CMPTRA aide was reduced to zero. Thus, the State profits from tourism, our businesses profit from tourism and our tourists get to enjoy the clean and safe environment provided for them. Meanwhile, my residents and taxpayers get to pick up the tab! The only word to describe this situation is “unconscionable.” Yet this is the status quo your administration seemingly embraced on February 8, 2011.

Earlier, I alluded to the fact that a DCA study indicated that we should have 24 full-time police officers. In addition, to those full-time officers we add between 30 to 60 special officers during the summer season. Do we need these full-time and part-time officers for my 5,000 residents, or do we need them because of our 21 liquor licenses, privately owned beaches and boardwalk amusements? As a life-long Republican, I have always understood that one of the core principles of the Republican Party is that people should pay for what they use. That is simply not happening in Point Pleasant Beach as those who visit our community, unlike our residents, taxpayers and employees are not sharing in the sacrifice, but, instead are receiving a free pass (Adding to this gross inequity is the fact that taxpayers in other municipalities are allowed to lower their property tax burdens by imposing local taxes or impact fees. Why are my residents and taxpayers being denied the right to raise alternative revenue to pay for services and to reduce their property tax burden? Stated another way, why are my residents and taxpayers being treated as second class citizens? As a former Senior Trial Attorney with the Office of the Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service and a current Professor of Taxation at Pace University, I understand that there is some latitude granted when it comes to the issue of taxation. However, I also believe that the current situation raises some serious Constitutional issues.).

Once again, I wish to stress in the strongest terms possible that my request for LORI is not a request for higher taxes so that we can spend more or avoid making government more efficient. Rather, it is a straight forward common sense appeal for lower property taxes and for the resources necessary to permit Point Pleasant Beach to continue to provide the clean and safe environment that has allowed our tourism industry to thrive and prosper.

And make no mistake, I want the tourism industry to continue to grow and flourish in Point Pleasant Beach; however, we find ourselves in an anomalous situation. As more people visit us, our tourist related businesses reap larger profits and Trenton’s tax revenues grow. However, what also continues to grow is the cost of the service subsidies provided to the tourism industry. These increased costs result in an increased property tax burden on our residents and taxpayers, while also making compliance with the tax levy cap more difficult as evinced by those steps we were required to take this year simply to come into literal compliance with the levy cap. In my opinion, the situation in Point Pleasant Beach clearly demonstrates that a “one size fits all” approach is wrong for New Jersey and its municipalities.

In conclusion, all that I seek is fairness and the ability to lower property taxes while continuing to provide vital services to those who reside in Point Pleasant Beach and those who enjoy one of the finest, if not the finest, tourist communities in the State of New Jersey. I respectfully request that you please reconsider your position. I am available to meet with you should you believe that would be beneficial. I can be reached by telephone at (732) 330-7910 or by e-mail at vrbarrella@aol.com.

Very truly yours,
Vincent R. Barrella
Mayor, Point Pleasant Beach





JULY 12, 2011

MAYOR'S COMMENTS ON QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES

Back in January 2008, at my first meeting as Mayor and as part of my reorganization day remarks I stated:

"The tourist industry must recognize that it may be necessary to accept short-term sacrifice in order to insure the future health of that industry and the town that has supported it for so long."

Those remarks were directed to the need for local option taxes or impact fees in order for Point Pleasant Beach to continue to be able to provide the clean safe environment that had allowed the tourism industry to grow and prosper. Over the next three and one-half years, that has been a common theme that I have sounded. A theme based upon a fear that as a municipality we ran the risk of having the situation in the Beach devolve into a state of chaos and lawlessness. Over the years, some have sought to twist this concern by asserting that my goal was to destroy the tourist industry. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We need a healthy and vibrant family oriented tourism industry in Point Pleasant Beach. The events of the past weeks have highlighted that need!

Unfortunately we may have gone beyond the point where simply raising additional non-property tax revenue is the answer. Don't get me wrong, that is still something of major importance with respect to the ultimate survival of Point Pleasant Beach and I have so communicated that to the Governor and our legislative leaders; however, as one resident noted in a recent e-mail:

"I’m tired of having to barricade myself in my home with curtains drawn, windows and doors locked, and the air conditioning on to drown out the noise. The behavior of many 'visitors' is past disgusting, it’s frightening. No amount of revenue is worth accepting this behavior."

This same resident indicated that:

"I realize that society has changed. The Boardwalk doesn’t cause the problem, but it does draw greater numbers of people each year who do cause problems."

Another resident articulated the problem more directly when in commenting on the problems experienced by Seaside Heights he stated:

"I think after witnessing some of the most horrific conduct by the 'families' visiting our town during the past holiday weekend (including someone defecating on my neighbors sidewalk) this article describes what our town's near future looks like without drastic change NOW!"

Still another expressed her frustration when she stated:

"The past few weekends have been an experience for my family and friends visiting. I do not believe there is anyone to blame for the clientele visiting our town. I believe it is an unfortunate example of today's society and youth. The last holiday weekend we experienced domestic violence, drug bagggies (used for distribution), the usual 2:30 am keys locked in car (let's party in the street), and then the usual (peeing, lost, belligerent, etc.) My house was being lit up by police lights at ALL hours."

This year, more than anytime in the past, Point Pleasant Beach has been moving away from being a family oriented tourist destination to one that is becoming a Mecca for those seeking a place to drink and misbehave. Police department statistics bear this out. This problem is one that affects not only the residents of the Beach, but the tourism industry itself. We are at a crossroads, we can either work together to solve this problem, do nothing, or the governing body can step in and unilaterally dictate the solution.

I want to state unequivocally that doing nothing is not an option! I also believe that unilateral action on the part of the governing body through the adoption of some of those ideas expressed in the e-mails I have received would be premature without first affording the tourism industry the opportunity to craft a real and meaningful solution. We are past the point of band aids.

I was encouraged that Pat Storino and Ed McGlynn of Jenkinson's recently sought to meet with Ms. Riehl and myself. While much of the spotlight falls upon Jenkinson's, because it is our biggest tourism business, the problem runs deeper and requires the involvement of all segments of the tourism industry in crafting that real and meaningful solution.

In order to reach such a solution I have invited many of the leaders of the various segments of our tourism industry to a meeting next Tuesday, July 19, at 7:00 PM at Borough Hall. It is my hope that we will begin to craft a solution at that meeting. Rest assured, however, if the tourism industry is unable or unwilling to address the problems plaguing the Beach, I will not hesitate to seek to have this Council take the steps necessary to bring the problems we are experiencing under control by enacting some or all of those reforms advocated in those e-mails I have received.

Point Pleasant Beach cannot afford to devolve into Seaside Heights or Keansburg. We have a very small window to prevent this from happening. I have faith that this governing body and our business leaders will step up to the plate before our next Council meeting on August 2. In the meantime, I will work with the leadership of our Police Department to explore those options which we can immediately put into place.






JULY 22, 2011

Honorable Chris Christie, Esq.
Governor, State of New Jersey
P. O. Box 1
Trenton, NJ 08625-0001

CC: Honorable Richard Bagger, Governor’s Chief of Staff; Honorable Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, State Treasurer; Honorable James Holzapfel, Assemblyman District 10; Mr. William Dressel, Executive Director, NJ State League of Municipalities


RE: POINT PLEASANT BEACH

Dear Governor Christie:

On June 20, 2011, I wrote asking that your administration reconsider its position on Local Option Revenue Initiatives (“LORI”) or alternatively that I have the opportunity to meet with you. A copy of the package directed to you was also sent under separate cover to your Chief of Staff, Mr. Richard Bagger. On July 8, having not heard back, I contacted your office. I spoke that day with Ms. Jeanne Ashmore. At her request, I forwarded a coy of the package to her via e-mail and she acknowledged receipt of the same that day. I
Spoke with her again this past Monday, July 18, primarily to make sure that she received a copy of my remarks delivered at our July 12 Council meeting. She advised that she had in fact received a copy of those remarks. For your convenience, I have enclosed a copy. As you can see, they relate to the deterioration of the quality of life in Point Pleasant Beach.

At our regularly scheduled July 12 Council meeting, our Municipal Clerk was directed to schedule a special meeting for July 19 to address the concerns of my residents and taxpayers. Our Police Department was asked to prepare recommendations as to how best to restore order to Point Pleasant Beach. A copy of its report titled “Operation Rice Krispies” is enclosed. This report recommended that we increase enforcement in residential areas adjacent to our privately owned beaches, bars and boardwalk and that we authorize the funds necessary to train additional Special Police Officers for next year so as to insure we have adequate manpower in place for 2012.

The Council unanimously acted on this report by passing an emergency appropriation in the amount of $95,000. Just to put this in perspective, this amount represents four tenths of a penny on our projected 2012 tax rate and is approximately 80% of our 2012 anticipated 2% tax levy cap of $210,000 (The Police Department recommended to the Council that is also include an additional $60,000 in order to have sufficient funds to enable us to send an adequate number of Special Officers to the Police Academy so that we will not again have to pay overtime to our regular officers. I am sure you agree that this would be a more efficient response; however, this option was not available this year because of budget cuts in 2009 and 2010. In order to provide this funding, we will need to enact another emergency appropriation which will bring us $35,000 OVER next year’s levy cap.). HOW IS THIS FAIR TO MY RESIDENTS AND TAXPAYERS? THE ANSWER, OF COURSE, IS THAT IT IS NOT! This $95,000 is only a small part of the expenses incurred by my residents and taxpayers in order to provide those who visit us with a clean and safe environment. As noted in my June 20 correspondence, Point Pleasant Beach is required to maintain its current infrastructure not because of the needs of our 5,000 residents, but because of the demands of the tourism industry. In particular, those segments of the industry that are related to the consumption of alcohol, seasonal rentals and “day trippers.”

I believe that there are some who hold influence with you, both within and without your administration, who have portrayed my proposals as an effort to raise taxes -- nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is what I have proposed is designed to lower property taxes, while more fairly apportioning the costs associated with tourism to those who visit Point Pleasant Beach.

There is a growing sentiment amongst my residents and taxpayers that the way to address the problem is to mandate early bar closings and institute a system of overnight permit parking. I am sure you share my concerns regarding such action; however, if we do not receive relief we may not have a choice. I believe that this will have a devastating impact on the tens of millions of dollars of sales and income tax revenue Point Pleasant Beach sends to Trenton. While Point Pleasant Beach may suffer in the short term, there are many who believe that in the long term we will be better off.

There are other options that will benefit the State, the tourism industry and the residents and taxpayers of Point Pleasant Beach. Give us the right to raise revenue locally and, if you feel it necessary, put in place constraints on spending that will insure that LORI do not become a means to higher taxes and less efficient government. Stated another way, please allow us the ability to raise revenue from discretionary spending as this will result in lower property taxes and provide the resources necessary to permit Point Pleasant Beach to continue to provide the clean and safe environment that has allowed our tourism industry to thrive and prosper.

IN CONCLUSION, MY RESIDENTS AND TAXPAYERS NEED YOUR HELP! And while I understand that the problems of my small community may seem trivial to you in light of what you are confronted with on a daily basis at the State level, I can assure you that they are not trivial to my residents and taxpayers, nor to me. Like myself, many of my residents and taxpayers wonder why we are being treated like second-class citizens and denied the ability to raise critical alternative non-property tax revenue while the taxpayers in our larger sister municipalities are permitted to do so. I am sure that you can understand that for us this community that we call home is the center of our universe.

I want to thank you for listening and would like the opportunity, together with my Administrator/CFO and Police Chief, to present our case to you and your advisors. I can be reached by telephone at (732) 330-7910 or by e-mail at vrbarrella@aol.com or vbarrella@pointbeach.org. I remain,

Very truly yours,
Vincent R. Barrella
Mayor, Point Pleasant Beach





AUGUST 16, 2011

Honorable Vincent Barrella, Mayor
Borough of Point Pleasant Beach
416 New Jersey Ave.
Point Pleasant, New Jersey 08742

RE: Meeting Request

Dear Mayor Barrella:

Governor Christie recently referred to the Division of Local Government Services a letter from you dated July 22, 2011. In you letter, you again sought the Governor’s support of legislation previously discussed with the State Treasurer that would allow the Borough of Point Pleasant Beach and other municipalities to create special taxes on various businesses as a way to pay for certain desired services. You also asked for an opportunity to meet with certain of the Governor’s staff to explain your proposal.

While I would be glad to meet with you to discuss your proposal to establish certain new taxes on businesses, I respectfully suggest the purpose of the meeting be broadened. I would like to discuss with you possible savings or revenues that could be realized without creating any new taxes. For example, on the spending side, I would like to discuss with you savings that may be possible by selling old court receivables pursuant to guidelines recently promulgated by the Administrative Office of the Courts and using the funds to retire debt. On the revenue side, I would like to discuss with you the possibility of reversing a trend whereby you actual parking revenue is declining and your budgeted/anticipated motel tax revenue is declining relative to actual collections.

I am confident that by discussing options available to you under existing law, we can find ways to pay for essential services without resorting to legislation establishing new or expended taxes. Carolyn Glennon of this office will be calling you to establish a mutually convenient time to meet.


Sincerely,
Thomas H. Neff
Director, Division of Local Government Services





AUGUST 16, 2011

Honorable Thomas H. Neff
Director, Division of Local Government Services
Department of Community Affairs
101 South Broad Street
PO Box 803
Trenton, NJ 08625-0803

CC: Honorable Chris Christie, Governor; Honorable Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, State Treasurer; Mr. Richard Bagger, Governor’s Chief of Staff


RE: POINT PLEASANT BEACH

Dear Mr. Neff:

I want to thank you for your letter of August 16, a copy of which is attached. While you indicated that you would have someone from your office reach out to me, I have not yet heard from her. Consequently, and in an effort to expedite the process, I would suggest that we meet on Wednesday, August 24, at 1:00 PM, or Friday, August 26, at 10:00 AM. In recognition of the fact that you have much on your plate, I would expect to come to Trenton for this meeting.

While I was certainly happy to hear from a representative of the Christie administration in response to my June 20 and July 22 letters, I was surprised that the contact was from the Division as opposed to the Chief of Staff’s office in light of the fact that what I am seeking requires that a policy decision be made at the highest level of State government. No disrespect intended, but having already met with the Treasurer, at his request, a meeting with the Division would appear to me to be a meeting one or two steps down the policy chain, as opposed to up that chain. I am cognizant, however, that perhaps you have been asked to fulfill a fact finding role, which is why I would like to meet sooner, rather than later.

It appears to me that you may not have a copy of my June 20 letter to the Governor, nor for that matter my letter of February 8 to Treasurer Sidamon-Eristoff. I, therefore, have attached a copy of both for your reference.

Throughout your letter, you refer to my proposal as on that would “create special taxes on various businesses” or “certain new taxes on businesses.” This is a common misconception. What I am proposing is not a tax on businesses, but rather a fee imposed on those who burden and consume our services. As I stated in my June 20 letter:

As a life-long Republican, I have always understood that one of the core principles of the Republican Party is that people should pay for what they use. That is simply not happening in Point Pleasant Beach as those who visit our community, unlike our residents, taxpayers and employees are not sharing in the sacrifice, but, instead are receiving a free pass (Footnote Omitted)

It is contemplated that the fees would not only make it possible for the Beach to deliver the essential services required by the tourism industry, thus allowing for it to continue to provide the clean safe environment that has allowed the industry to grow and prosper, but would also result in lower property taxes being imposed on my residents and taxpayers, including our businesses.

Another possibility exists with respect to the existing State Sales tax. It is my understanding that one-half of the increase from 6% to 7% was to be dedicated to property tax relief. Consequently, the Christie administration might consider returning one-half of a percent of the Sales tax it collects from a municipality directly back to that municipality on a dollar-for-dollar basis. This would eliminate any confusion regarding increased or new taxes.

In your letter, you raised three points. These were (1) the possibility of savings by having the Beach sell off old court receivables, (2) the possibility of reversing a trend of declining parking revenue, and (3) that our budgeted motel tax revenue is declining relative to actual collections. I will address each of these in order.

(1) I assume, and please correct me if I am wrong, that you are alluding to the procedures promulgated on March 31 of this year pursuant to L. 2009, C. 233. I have reviewed these procedures and they do not speak to the “selling [of] old court receivables,” but, rather provide that a municipality may contract with a private collection agency who would seek to collect these receivables for a fee. Thus, this procedure does not seem to contemplate something analogous to the practice of factoring receivables which would bring in an immediate infusion of cash. Also, even if a sale was possible, it would appear to represent a one-time infusion of cash and not a sustainable revenue source. I will, however, follow-up with my Court Administrator and look forward to hearing your ideas.

(2) With respect to parking revenue, I am somewhat confused by your reference to declining revenues. Our actual parking revenues for the period 2007 through 2010 have not declined, but have in fact increased. Although I would add that there is little room for additional increase given our current capacity and our parking rates. Again, though, I look forward to hearing your ideas.

(3) As for the motel tax, with the exception of 2010, our budgeted motel tax closely approximates our prior year collections. The difference between 2009 collections and the 2010 budgeted amount is directly attributable to the fact that in 2010 a majority of the Council (over my veto) chose to cut the rate of the tax in half, believing that business was taxed too much. Consequently, when they prepared and passed the 2010 budget, they only budgeted 50% of the prior year collection of $250,902.59. In 2011, the budget again closely approximates prior year collections.

I am certain that you share my view that one of the most dangerous and fiscally irresponsible things a legislative body can do is over anticipate revenue. Indeed, as I recall, the Governor recently vetoed portions of the Legislature’s budget because of his belief that they overestimated revenues.

I also trust that you share my opinion that any savings from something we may have “missed” (and I would note at this time that I consider our CFO, Court Administrator and Borough Auditor, to be amongst the best in the State) should work to the benefit of my residents and taxpayers; as opposed to it being used to allow those who burden our services to continue to reap the benefit of the taxpayer provided services they receive.

One final note, my letter of July 22 referred to the fact that we already have had to pass an emergency appropriation for police overtime in light of the unprecedented incidents of lawlessness we have experienced. I would also like to discuss with you, and if you think it appropriate a representative of the Treasurer’s office, the possibility of Point Pleasant Beach receiving emergency aid or similar grant in the amount of $155,000 to defray those additional costs we have and likely will experience. I know this may not be easy, but as I indicated in my letter to the Governor, it is unfair that my taxpayers have to should this burden.

I look forward to hearing from you and I further look forward to meeting with you next week. I remain,


Very truly yours,
Vincent R. Barrella
Mayor, Point Pleasant Beach


Published September24, 2011 | Announcements | 1263


Municipal Forms Download for Android Download for Iphone
Download for Iphones
Download for Android


Add/Remove/Update Your Contact Information
SwiftReach Networks, Inc.

Municipal Forms

Power Outage

Hurricane Sandy Information