Dune Discount. Strike two for the Pratt property at 406 23rd Street South. Mayor Guenther has tried to get a property tax reduction for Gail Pratt, the Brigantine beachfront homeowner who was reported to have received a development waiver that allowed Pratt to construct a patio that crosses well over the construction borderline. Guenther is lobbying to get Pratt’s assessment lowered by over $300,000 which would put a $6,555. property tax refund into her pocket for 2014. Local residents were not pleased by this news, as they’re being told to wait til April 2015 to file their own tax appeals. This tax reduction resolution on the past 2 council agendas said Pratt property was over-assessed. City solicitor; Fred Scerni strongly urged council to NOT provide refund due to city’s lack of appropriate authorization to take such action.
The Brigantine Farmers Market received full approval for an extended 2015 summer season. The popular Saturday morning event will start on Memorial Day and will go thru September, with a special fall date in October.
Shared services between AC, Ventor & Brigantine Schools? Council declined to comment on the scheduled meeting between the leadership of Brigantine, Ventor and Atlantic City School boards this past Wednesday Dec. 3rd. Brigantine School Superintendent; Brian Pruitt and School board President Frank Koch were scheduled to attend the meeting to discuss potential shared services and cost-cutting measures between the 3 districts. To date, Brigantine has yet to share services between it’s own two schools (elementary & middle school) , that operate side by side with duplicated positions and expenses.
Brigantine will purchase a new $194,225 brushfire truck for the Fire Department. The sole bidder, Firematic of Shirley, New York won the award. This 4×4 that can access dunes and is designed to fight dune and beach fires.
The Brigantine Taxpayers Association asked Mayor & council for detail on how the BB-NJ city website was managed. Allegations have been leveled at the city for ‘playing favorites’ with the marketing & communications of local events, business and other local information vital to residents, both full and part-timers. City Manager Blumenthal claims all content is reviewed & OK’ed by her, then forwarded to & posted by a technical school in North Jersey called SJTP. Blumenthal was unable to explain to those in attendance the reason for her omission of the Fall Farmers Market info on the City website. Digital audits have suggested that Police Chief Tim Reed continues to manage most of the content on all digital platforms for Brigantine, including BB-NJ, and two Facebook pages for the city. Blumenthal recently had Reed remove the un-authorized ‘Business Directory’ he built and managed for past two years. Local business operators complained of being kept off that Reed built directory, while non-Brigantine businesses were being promoted on the BB-NJ Business Directory site.
Council meeting webcast gets plug pulled. Part-time residents/second homeowners of Brigantine flooded City Hall switchboard this week asking why Police Chief/City Webmaster Tim Reed turned off the Dec 3rd City Council meeting webcast. City Hall employees tipped us off to the growing dislike of having meetings broadcast online to a much wider audience. Some members of Council have openly voiced their preference would to only have meetings seen by full-time residents & those with voting rights. Part-time residents, business owners and investors are demanding a return of the council webcasts.
The potential Ron Jaworski deal with the Links at Brigantine Golf Course was brought up during public comments. Mayor Guenther was unwilling to answer questions about the benefits of having Jaworski bring his star power to our island. Jaworski is well known for his track record of turning around struggling golf courses in South Jersey. Whispers along Brigantine Ave. suggest that the Mayor, along with Councilman Simpson, may privately be interested in a deal but will only pull the trigger after they gain council majority in January.
Council reviewed proposed survey about smoking on our beaches. Survey was designed to question beach tag buyers about their thoughts on smoking on the beach.
Council approved a grant application for Flood Hazard Risk Reduction and Resiliency Grant from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. City is seeking funds to mitigate consistent flooding areas. Three target areas recommended by City Engineer Ed Stinson: city boat ramp and proposed flood gate, various pump stations, and plan a proposal for sand “back passing” (move sand from south beach to north beach). No update on how adjacent bulkheads on private properties will come into play. Affected residents happy with efforts to install floodgates, but dismayed at Stinson’s lack of attention to damaged, in-effective and non-compliant bulkheads on private properties. Opponents insist that installing a floodgate, no matter how high, will only re-direct and push water through other adjacent bulkhead breaches.
The next City Council meeting is 6 p.m. Dec. 17 at City Hall. Status of online broadcast for part-time residents is still unknown at this point. Local Comcast channel 99 broadcast is still in effect for full-time residents.