Democratic Mayors Pan Their Freeholder Candidates’ Call For A County Ethics Board
By Art Gallagher
Democratic Freeholder Candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo with Congressman Frank Pallone and campaign volunteers
The Monmouth County Democrats have finally put forth a proposal to improve County Government.
It is not a new idea. It is not even a good idea. But at least they have put forth an idea for debate instead of spreading the lies and baseless character assassinations that have comprised their campaign so far this year.
Their campaign had been wholly negative; primarily baseless character attacks on Freeholder Director Lillian Burry. They lied and said Burry hired an unqualified campaign worker for a mental health position. Even after their lawsuit alleging that Burry had a conflict of interest over the Andrew Lucas farmland preservation deal was thrown out of court, they continue to beat that drum. The GOP controlled Freeholder Board has cleaned house at Brookdale Community College since former President Peter Burnham was caught with his hands in the cookie jar. Yet the Democrats have been blaming Burry for Burnham’s transgressions.
Democratic candidate Joe Grillo told The Asbury Park Press that he wants to reinstate a County Ethics Board. I know I’m being generous by saying this is a proposal to improve County Government instead of calling it an excuse to keep talking about the baseless allegations they are making about Burry. But what the heck. MMM is fair and biased. Let’s play along and debunk the idea on its merits.
Campaign materials for and against the Belmar Bonding referendum. Photo via Thomas Burke’s facebook page
In a stunning rebuke to Mayor Matt Doherty who campaigned hard for its passage, Belmar voters today overwhelmingly rejected borrowing $7 million to rebuild two pavilions on the boardwalk.
Doherty told MMM this afternoon that he expected the turnout would be like that of any general election and that his side spent as much on this Special Election as they have in any general election. Doherty spent $10,411 in his 2010 campaign for mayor, according to his reports at the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Thomas E. Burke was a leader in the movement to force the referendum and in the campaign to defeat the measure. Burke told MMM that his side spent between $500 and $1000 and had a volunteer campaign team of about 20 people.
1,797 voters cast a ballot. 1,041, 58%, voted against the borrowing. There are 4,407 registered voters in Belmar.
Recently a Mayor’s Luncheon was held in Belmar for the purpose of giving Belmar businesses a forum to meet and discuss tourism and how it benefits businesses at the Jersey Shore. I was happy to attend and join Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty in greeting the local business owners and to share with them what the County Tourism Division does to promote the industry. The luncheon was held at Ollie Klein’s Waterside Café located on River Road in Belmar.
Additionally, we are currently working toward entering into a shared services agreement with Hightstown to utilize the Monmouth County Vehicle Wash facilities. This is yet another approach to help reduce costs and redundancies in the delivery of public services, while adding some additional revenue for the county to help offset our operational costs. Because Hightstown already has a shared services agreement with Roosevelt Borough for trash collection which is hauled to the Monmouth County Reclamation Center, it makes good sense for them to utilize the county vehicle wash facilities as a value added shared services while they are in the area. Howell Township has just been added to our MODIV property tax assessment shared services system. This system has been recognized for innovation and excellence in public service by the Harvard Kennedy School and Moody’s Investor’s Service for its role in streamlining the delivery and implementation of the tax assessment process. Certain municipalities have seen savings of up to 65% through this shared service.
Jeffery W. Foster resigned from the Wall Township Committee last week. He is applying to be the Director of Public Works for the Township and wants his application to be considered on it’s merits, not based upon his political position.
Foster was elected to the Township Committee in 2007 and served as mayor in 2012. He has been chairman of the Public Works Committee throughout his tenure.
Foster, 59, has been looking to get a municipal public works position for last the last few years. He applied to be the Director of Public Works in Belmar two years ago. Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said Foster’s application was given serious consideration. “Jeff would make an excellent Public Works Director,” Doherty told MMM in a phone interview.
Foster has also applied to be an Assistant Public Works Director in Middletown. He sold his auto repair and towing business last summer. He started working as a maintence worker at the New Jersey Department of Transportation last September. “They let me use the heavy equipment,” Foster said, “I love this work. ”
BELMAR – The borough’s efforts to recover from Hurricane Sandy have been mired in controversy and legal battles. And last week, a Monmouth County Superior Court judge dealt yet another blow to the recovery process. In April 2013, the Borough Council…
Federal auditors are questioning more than $500,000 in Hurricane Sandy debris removal costs in Belmar, saying the town awarded two contracts that did not comply with federal rules and lacked paperwork to support other expenses. The Department of Homeland…
Sweeney wants to pay for beach safety and maintenance by getting rid of cops and dpw workers
Photo credit: www.SignsByTheSea.com
MMM has called Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) three times since he jumped on board with the Senator Mike Doherty (R-Warren) in sponsoring legislation that would ban shoreline municipalites from selling beach badges or imposing other user fees to pay for lifeguards, beach cleanup and policing, if those towns accept federal and state money to rebuild from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. He hasn’t called back. Steve Sweeney is a kitten. Kitten, kitten, kitten!
Given that he won’t talk to us, we’ll have to judge Sweeney’s crusade for free sand in his ass by what others report he says. The Senate President invited himself to a meeting with the Asbury Park Press Editorial Board earlier this week to make his case for free beaches.
“You don’t charge me to breathe air, why are you charging me to sit on a beach?”
We should be grateful that the top elected Democrat in New Jersey hasn’t figured out how to tax breathing (yet). But really now, our Senate President thinks breathing air (as opposed to grapefruit juice?) is analogous to sitting on a beach? That is something we should be concerned about, especially since this guy is considering a run for governor.
Sweeney told the APP that Belmar and the other shore communities that impose beach user fees should cover those costs by consolidating police forces and departments of public works. He said he would “beat up mayors down the shore” to make it happen “because its not acceptable, you know, to charge beach fees.”
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty took Sweeney’s first beating:
“I asked (Doherty), how many people live year-round in his town,” Sweeney said. “He’s got a one-square mile town, he’s got 5,800 people. Now, could we run a shared police department? I met his public works director today, could we run a shared public works office?”
“You guys know how I feel about shared services,” Sweeney told the APP. We don’t know if the APP knows how he feels, but MMM thinks Sweeney is thwarting shared services and other methods that municipalities could use to reduce the size and cost of local government. If Sweeney was serious about property tax reduction and more efficient local government he would have passed Governor Christie’s property tax tool kit.
Belmar: Today Belmar Mayor Matthew J. Doherty announced that the Borough of Belmar went out to bid for a new boardwalk to be built in time for summer 2013. This competitive bid includes a substantial bond, financial penalties for missing milestone dates, and financial incentives to complete the project ahead of schedule.
“Belmar has had a boardwalk every summer since 1875, and this summer will be no different. While we continue to help families and businesses in town clean up and recover, rebuilding the boardwalk in time for this summer is an important step towards bring our community back from the devastation Sandy caused.” Mayor Doherty stated.
Governor Chris Christie stated, “As much as any other town on the Jersey Shore, Belmar’s boardwalk is a huge part of its identity, it’s charm and its economic life. Most of us who’ve lived in New Jersey long enough have or will walk that boardwalk at one time or another. I am fully supportive and encouraging of Mayor Doherty’s efforts to rebuild, and we will continue to work with him and all affected municipalities to bring the proper aid to New Jersey.”
U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone expressed his support saying, “Sandy brought never before seen destruction to our homes, businesses, and natural treasures, but Sandy could not destroy our sense of community. Our Jersey Shore will be rebuilt – it is vital for our State’s economy, but more importantly the Jersey Shore is part of who we are as New Jerseyans. Mayor Doherty has been working tirelessly since before Sandy even made landfall, and the rebuilding of Belmar’s boardwalk is a tremendous step forward toward recovery. It will allow residents to walk the beautiful shoreline, for tourists to return to town, and for countless small businesses to reopen and contribute to our economy.”
New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer shared his support for the project stating,“I am very supportive of Belmar’s effort to rebuild their boardwalk in time for this summer. This is important for the town, the Jersey Shore, and our entire state. I will do whatever I can on a state level to help.”
Monmouth County Deputy Director, and Liaison for Tourism, Freeholder Thomas Arnone said,“Belmar’s boardwalk is not only important to their town, but all of Monmouth County. I will provide whatever assistance they need to be successful by this summer.”
The Belmar Council authorized the bid release at their November 21, 2012 council meeting. Bid documents can be downloaded at http://belmar.com/ or by contacting Colleen Connolly at (732)681-3700.
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty Photo Credit Mark Bonamo, NJ.com
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty and his colleagues on the Borough Council are acting on their pledge to rebuild the town’s boardwalk by Memorial Day 2013.
NJ.com reports that the governing body introduced a $20 million bond ordinance last week to provide the initial funding of the reconstruction.
Doherty said that Belmar’s property taxpayers will not be on the hook for the cost of the new boardwalk, with FEMA and the borough’s beach utility, which is funded by beach badge fees, paying off the bonds.
“It’s our understanding is that FEMA will pick up 75 percent of the expense, based on the language coming from the White House,” said Doherty, 39. “The remaining amount will come from the beach utility itself. So if you don’t use the beach, you’re not paying for anything. And zero dollars are coming from residential property-tax payers, with no property-tax hike anticipated.”
Beach badge prices are expected to rise from $7 to $8 for daily passes and for $50 to $55 for seasonal passes.
The mayor, a Democrat, had kind words for Governor Christie, but not so kind words for another Doherty, State Senator Michael Doherty. The senator has proposed legislation that would eliminate a beach town’s ability to sell beach badges if state or federal funds are used to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy.
“I think Gov. Christie has done an outstanding job in his leadership, and one of the things he’s been very effective at is keeping politics out of anything related to the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts,” Doherty, a Democrat, said. “I wish that Sen. Doherty would follow Gov. Christie’s lead as well. It’s nothing more than trying to score cheap political points after arguably the worst natural disaster that our state has ever experienced.”
The bond ordinance is expected to be passed at the December 3 meeting of Belmar’s council.