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June 15, 2013

Inaugural Annual Meting

Saturday, June 15th
10:00am – 11:30am
G. Harold Antrim Elementary School
401 Niblick Street

10:00am – Meeting starts
• Vic De Luca (NRTAC member) opens meeting and thanks all in attendance
• Recognizes Mayor Vincent Barrella, Councilman Mike Corbally and Councilman Bill Mayer, mentions other council members who would have liked to be in attendance but open public meetings act does not permit – Andy Cortes, Bret Gordon, Steve Reid and Kris Tooker
• Acknowledges support received from Mayor and Council, Chris Riehl, Borough Administrator and Chief Financial Officer; Maryann Ellsworth, Clerk; and Eileen Farrell Administrative Assistant

10:10am – Vic introduces Seth Sloan, Chair of the NRTAC to welcome everyone and thank them for coming
• Seth goes through history of NRTAC
Non-resident taxpayers needed a voice to show our concerns and address the town’s future and quality of life. As a result of that, Seth spoke with the Mayor back in 2011. Thereafter the town and Seth sent out 1500 letters asking people to apply to be part of NRTAC. 100 applications were received and from that 11 member were selected. A diverse group of people were selected (current political officials, police enforcement, contractors, attorney, people who rent their home and people who don’t). There are 1500 non-resident taxpayers, we represent 45% of the town. Mayor found that our committee fit within the town and its needs so our committee was instituted. We are the first group in NJ to have a formal committee.
We set up a website, post meeting minutes on the site, we set up an email address. We are trying to collect a full email distribution list to communicate with all non-resident taxpayers.
 Our agenda is strictly non-political. First meeting was in March 2012, and we have had 7 meetings since. We have met with all council members, candidates that have run for council, the PPB police chief, etc. Everyone we met with was informative and interested in working with the non-resident taxpayers and NRTAC as a team. NRTAC helped establish a tourism committee.
We are here for all non-residents.

10:15am – Vic asks each member of NRTAC to introduce herself/himself.

10:25am – Vic introduces Kelli Keenan to discuss NRTAC’s vision and goals.
Vision:
• The purpose of the advisory committee is to enhance the betterment of the whole community and helping to improve the quality of life for non-residents and residents and to provide a voice for the non-resident taxpayers.
Goals:
• Provide participation of non-residents in the affairs of PPB.
• Provide information to non-residents on issues affecting property owners.
• Monitor PPB activities as they affect the non-residents and alert them to important issues and events.
• Provide a forum to non-residents to interact with PPB officials.
• Provide a forum for non-resident taxpayers to express their views and concerns.
• Permit non-residents to be allowed to join all PPB committees
10:30am – Vic introduces Keith Sluka to report on NRTAC’s accomplishments to date.

Everyone came to our first meeting with their own personal issues so for formalities we set up subcommittees.
• Subcommittees: Garbage, Boardwalk damage/clean up, Public Safety, Noise, Budget, Real Estate Valuation, Rentals and Enforcement, Tourism
We had good momentum until Sandy and then we allowed the council to focus on Sandy.
Garbage issue – you can use heavy black bag (not garbage can) and leave it on your curb anytime after 5pm the day before the garbage pickup day. We are working to try to get weekend garbage collection. Remember you can drop off recycling by the train station at the refuse center on Saturdays.
Parking permit issue – we discussed among ourselves how last summer went with the parking permit regulation in place and discussed impact with council.
 Success is this meeting – the first ever annual non-resident taxpayers meeting. Success is having council attend.
We have met with the police chief and discussed our public safety issues and concerns. Noise complaints have been addressed – after a noise complaint and officials go to the house the next morning to check on the number of people in the house, the noise level, etc.
Tourism – discussed what tourism non-residents would want.
Prepared a four-page tourism recommendation memo and submitted it to council.
Reviewed town budget and asked questions and issue-spotted
Set up an email distribution list to provide non-resident taxpayers updates on Sandy, the parking issue and other PPB matters.

10:35am – Vic introduces Mayor Vincent Barrella
• Welcomes attendees.
• He was a non-resident taxpayer for years and understands our issues and concerns because he lived them (bought house in 1985 and moved down full time years later)

10:40am – Vic introduces Councilman Mike Corbally
• Corbally was the NRTAC liaison (note: a new liaison will be selected soon due to Corbally’s council resignation).
• He hopes in 5 or 10 years to be a non-resident taxpayer and appreciates how many of us are non-resident taxpayers and how much we pay in taxes. He thinks NRTAC is run very, very well. He is here for non-residents.


10:42am – Vic introduces Councilman Bill Mayer
• He heads the finance committee. Recognized the great turnout and appreciates communication he receives from NRTAC. Discussed budget review and said he appreciated our thoughts and that our review was helpful. Discussed the impact of Sandy.

10:45am – Questions from the Audience

1. We all got our new appraisals within the last two years, most have been lowered, how will that affect the tax rate? Mayor – when you lower appraised values, rates go up in most cases. Bill Mayer - taxes will go up. The average assessment in town is $515k. Local taxes will go up on average $62. Sandy and our needs are key factors in tax increases.

2. What opportunities will non-resident taxpayers have to be involved in some of the laws of the town. We support the local businesses and communities. Mayor – I hear you, I was you for ten years. Your voice is NRTAC; Seth Sloan will be all over any issues you have. In terms of a voice, there are council meetings that you can attend and make any comments. You can participate in any level of democracy of this town other than (i) being on committees that non-resident taxpayers cannot join (noting there are certain town committees non-resident taxpayers can join) under law and (ii) voting. NRTAC will work with Mayor and council to get non-resident taxpayers on those committees we can join.

3. Since we pay the same taxes that residents pay to the Borough, why we
are not eligible for the parking permit provided to residents to be used in
municipal parking lots. Mayor – parking pass permits for use in the municipal parking lots is available to both residents and non-residents. They do need to be paid for. The permit used to be only for residents, but now its open to non-residents as well. Go to town hall to buy permit.

4. What is the status of the funding for lifeguards. Mayor – PPB doesn’t own the beaches other than Maryland Ave Beach. Beach pass fees, lifeguard funding, etc. are set by the private beach owners. The revenue from those beach passes goes to the private owners. Owners are responsible for the beaches.

5. Are the dunes being addressed - the dunes need to be addressed now (not in a year) because the hurricane season is coming upon us. Mayer – he wishes the dunes can be resolved now but it’s a tough issue. The Governor will probably have to get involved because the town cannot mandate the dunes. The Mayor understands our concern but it’s a government matter. Government doesn’t work like private industry/business. Things take time and cannot happen overnight. We cannot say this is what we are going to do. PPB is working on the dunes issue and our concerns. The Mayor has been fighting with getting the Governor down here to look at putting in dunes. The question is ultimately can we force someone to put in a dune that wasn’t there before and that’s a issue that will not be resolved soon. The town has to deal with multi-dollar businesses that if they lose land because of the dunes then they lose capacity and money. Corbally – the town doesn’t own the beach which is a big factor in the dune issue. Mayor – town only has 3 easements signed of its 36 requested easements that were sent to the property owners. Per Corbally, the owners of Jenkinson’s do understand the need for dunes. But forcing something onto the business owners will result in a litigation that will be tied up for 5 to 10 years. The town is doing the best it can regarding the dunes. Easements haven’t been signed so our hands are tied. Corbally agrees that something needs to be done with the dunes and he and the mayor are working with the government.

6. Didn’t the town have the ability to build the sand up to the boardwalk? The sand looks lower than before though. Mayor - for the most part we have a boardwalk easement, but town doesn’t own land under the boardwalk. Ordinance required certain dunes to be repaired and they were. But overall, dune level in PPB is lower than in other towns.

7. Donated benches on the boardwalk are a nuisance and during the storm they became missiles hitting the beach-front condos, the doors, etc. and caused damage. Since Sandy, the benches went right back in front of condos, etc. A condo-owner had to call the police recently to complain about people on the benches at 2:30am. Corbally – there will be more benches coming and new benches will be attached to the boardwalk. The main question is who is responsible to pay for the damage caused by the benches and why do they have to be in front of the condos/residents . Per Corbally, people who donate the money for benches ask for specific spots for the bench programs. Corbally will discuss with council eliminating certain spots for bench placement. NRTAC will follow up on this issue as well.

8. Bulk pick up is always on fifth Wednesday of the month. Is there any way we can have a bulk pick up on another day because it’s not good for non-resident taxpayers. Mayor – bulk is picked up on that day because it’s the only day that works with the town garbage collection now. The recycling is open on all Saturdays. Mayor understands the issue, but nothing can be done to change the bulk garbage pick up at this time.

9. Why is it that we are charged so much for our summer water bills. All year we hardly use water, probably less than 1000 gallons per quarter but over the summer with guests, etc. we tend to go over that allowed amount and get hit with a high bill. Can't we have the water usage be averaged throughout the year? Bill Mayer – there is a quarterly regular use charge – if you don’t use it you are still paying the charge (like a phone bill). Rates go up as usage goes up. There is no way for the water bill to be averaged.

10. What are the height requirements for new residential buildings. Mayor - it’s done by zone. For the north end of town between Jenkinsons and the inlet, the height limit is 22 feet. The town received input from the board of adjustments – there is a wall that divides PPB counsel and the board of adjustment. PPB council cannot get involved in applications/requests to the board of adjustment (its an independent board that makes its own decisions). Town and the board of adjustment have had discussions though about the town. Council is currently looking at the need to raise the height above 22 feet. Currently, if you want to build your house higher than 22 feet, then you have to get a variance from the board of adjustment.

11. Inquiry to look into the pump house around the corner of Seaview and Lake (in the beacon area). Mayor – it’s a county pump house. During Sandy the pump station drowned and got knocked out. Mayor will address that issue with the freeholders and the DEP.

12. What about a dumpster for garbage and recycling open all weekend. NRTAC is trying to address the issue. Mayor – you cannot leave a dumpster with garbage open like that all weekend. It will fill up. If someone lives on Cooks Lane, the smell will not work for them. NRTAC and council will brainstorm about ideas – we are all aware of this issue. Right now, you can drop off your recycling on Saturdays at the recycling center by the PPB train station.

13. Questions regarding the dredging of lakes, etc. and addressing the sewer systems and potential overflows. Mayor – We have made application to FEMA for a remediation program. The problem with Silver Lake, specifically, is that if you dredge the lake it will just fill up again. Mayor is going to see if DEP can come look. Corbally - drains have been evaluated on Trenton Ave and there is no sand. Drains on Foreman and Beacon Bane have sand and the sand will be removed. Preventing overflow is on the PPB’s radar and to do list. Mayor – NJ’s governor says he wants dunes and he thinks the government will do everything necessary to get the easements and get the dunes. In the interim, however, we need to start to look at the dune ordinance. Corbally has been studying the dunes for the last month and is learning about dunes and talking to professionals/environmentalist. Not all parts of PPB need the same size dunes. Army Corp. is a one size fits all dunes program, which PPB does not need. Corbally thinks some PPB areas need higher dunes than others and this needs to be addressed. He has learned the width and grade of the beach will also impact the dune size. Accordingly, the dunes issue is still a work in progress and will take time but people are hopefully dunes will be put in place.

14. What is the town’s plan for addressing property development in town and is there any control over over-development. Mayor – the town is not looking to have over-development and will address this as it becomes an issue. Broadway and Channel Drive are a unique and important part of the town and need to be preserved. The town and council is aware of keeping the town’s charm, etc. A follow up question asked about why a park by Spike’s restaurant was taken away for a parking lot. Mayor – that was taken by the county, not the town.

15. People not coming back to their homes in PPB. At times PPB is a ghost town and the issue of security has arisen. Are the police doing anything different because there are less people around? Corbally – starting in March, homes that were not being taken care of, the property owners were sent warnings and summons to address their homes. Police are checking on vacant homes every night.; the police know what homes are vacant and run a risk of squatters or burglary. They have a list of houses that they believe are vacant. There were squatters before Memorial Day, but now they should be safe and the squatters gone. Patrols have been added down by the inlet and the inlet condos – it’s a constant patrol.

16. Why are the costs of permits high and why weren’t permit fees waived for Sandy repair? Mayer – permit fees will not be waived. The department is working really hard and permit fees are to help pay department expenses, etc. Mayor – the recommendation from the professionals were to leave the permits and fees in place so they did. He understands the issue but at this point in time that ship has sailed.

17. Discussion of the FEMA payment allocated/made to PPB of $2,600,000. Mayor - FEMA commits federal dollars and then they transmit that money to the NJ state government. So money is now sitting with the state and its up to the state to process and write the check to PPB. The state may write a check for 50% of that now $2,600,000 and 50% later. We are waiting for the money to come in.

11:30am – Meeting adjourned

Survey Results
Surveys were completed by non-resident taxpayers who attended the inaugural non-resident taxpayers meeting. The results demonstrated that the meeting was a success and very informative. All speakers were well received. Further, the survey results indicated that the attendees want more than one meeting per year.


Published September20, 2013 | NRTAC Minutes | 1679


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